Frequently asked Questions and Answers
Is your farm organic?
We are not certified organic. We say we are environmentally responsible. Our name River’s Edge was inspired by the Conestogo River that runs through our farm. We have worked every year to protect the river from our farming activities. Building fence to keep livestock out, building a river crossing for the tractors and planting over 3000 trees are some of the steps we have taken to protect the river and wildlife on our farm.
We do not spray our fields. We spread manure for our fertilizer. Our goats are treated very well with the best feed, shelter from the elements and lots of room to play outside when the weather is nice.
What do your goats eat?
The staple of our goats’ diet is hay that is grown without chemicals on our farm. We harvest 45 acres of hay twice per summer. Ideally we harvest in early June and in late July, however the weather has a big say in when we harvest our hay. (Hay is simply dried grasses; ours is a mixture of alfalfa, timothy, brome, and reed canary grass.)
The other part of our goats’ diet is a custom-made grain ration. The ingredients of this ration are determined by River’s Edge and typically include corn, oats, barley, soy hulls, soybeans and distillers grain. It is a ration that is high in fiber and provides the protein, vitamins and minerals needed to keep the goats healthy and produce quality milk every day.
That’s it! No chemicals, medicines, or anything you wouldn’t want to eat. Well, I’m not sure how many of us would be able to eat grass…but you know what I mean…
What does pasteurization mean?
Pasteurization is the heating of milk to destroy pathogenic bacteria that may be present in the milk. It is illegal to sell raw, or unpasteurized milk anywhere in Canada.
At River’s Edge goat milk is pasteurized differently than at the big milk plants in Ontario. We vat pasteurize, which means the milk is heated to a lower temperature and is treated very gently as compared to commercially prepared milk found in the grocery stores. We find this greatly improved the taste and quality of the milk.
What is homogenization?
Homogenization is the process of breaking down the fat particles in the milk so they are small enough to remain suspended in the milk. Some scientists believe this process decreases the quality of the finished milk. At River’s Edge Goat Dairy, we do not homogenize our milk. You will notice a layer of fat on top of the milk, simply shake the jug, or be lucky enough to be the first to the milk jug in the morning and pour the cream on your coffee!
My milk appears to have some white clumps in it. Has it gone bad?
Your milk is just fine. The globs you are seeing are simply the milk fat that has separated out. Milk that is bad will smell and taste sour. At this point throw it away.
How long does your milk last?
We put a conservative date of two weeks on our milk jugs. We believe milk should be fresh from the farm and so we do not put a long shelf life on it. Most of our customers find the milk lasts well for one or even two weeks past the recommended date. The trick is to keep the lid on tightly, not leave it on the counter and keep your fridge between 1oC and 4oC.
What is the fat % in your milk?
The fat that our goats give us is the fat content of our bottled milk. It is generally around 4.5%. Nothing added, nothing taken away is our motto when it comes to our fluid milk. The fat globules are smaller in goat milk than in cow milk. This makes it easier to digest. Our customers find that they can drink our full fat goat milk much more easily than whole 2% cow milk.
What does goat milk taste like?
River’s Edge Goat milk is deliciously sweet and fresh tasting. Most people can’t tell the difference between River’s Edge Goat Milk and cow milk.
I’ve had goat milk before and it was AWFUL! Why does your milk taste so great?
There are several reasons why River’s Edge milk is better than the goat milk found in the grocery store. One reason is the freshness. Our milk is ready for sale two to three hours after coming from the goat! Only a few HOURS, not days! Our pasteurization method and lack of homogenization and transportation helps as well.
Goats must be healthy and have a good well balanced diet to produce nice flavoured milk. Drinking milk in the barn “fresh from the goat” will taste “goaty” if the goat is not healthy and well fed.
Cleanliness is also important. The goats must be clean, the milking equipment must be clean, any equipment touching the milk must be clean to ensure clean, fresh tasting milk.
How is goat milk different than cow milk?
The fat and protein particles in goat milk are much smaller than those in cow milk. This makes goat milk easier to digest. The vitamins and minerals are similar in both cow and goat milk, but the digestibility of goat milk allows the vitamins and minerals to be more easily absorbed by the body. We think River’s Edge Goat milk tastes better than cow milk too! There are many sites on the Internet about goat milk. Check it out!