We:30 Share & Tell: Ron Shares his Pet Goats and Love of Cheese

Culture / 06.17.2015
Red Door

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This week's Share & Tell highlights Ron, our Director of Technology, as he shares with us his love of cheese, which led him to be the proud owner of four adorable pet goats.

I have a love of cheese, which led me to want to make cheese. The main ingredient in cheese is milk. The issue with almost all store bought milk is that pasteurization robs the milk of almost all beneficial qualities like its natural and heathy bacteria and nutrients. These natural bacteria produce the wonderful flavors you taste in great cheese. Raw milk which is not pasteurized is the very stuff of cheese dreams, at least in my corner of the world. As any artist will tell you, starting with the very best materials is how you end with an outstanding result. The obstacle in getting raw milk is it cannot be legally sold for consumption. San Diego is not known for its herds of dairy cows, where I could strike up a bargain with a local farmer, which led me to considering goats' milk as my source of raw milk for cheese making. Certain breeds of goats have better milk for cheese making. Nigerian Dwarfs are known for producing milk with a high butterfat content which is beneficial for cheese. Also, the dwarf size was a good fit, as they are around 40 lbs. and the size of a medium dog, only wider.

Goats as personalities are a combination of the friendliness of dogs with the curiosity of cats. They are friendly and will follow you around to see whatever you are doing when you are in their space. Other livestock, like chickens, cows, turkeys or pigs, really only consider you interesting when you are putting out food. My goats know their names and know who I’m talking to when I say their names. Three of my goats are named for cheeses: Burrata, Mimolette, Brie and Minnie (which not a cheese).

Most people think that goats will eat anything. It’s true that they live to eat and will nibble anything to see how it tastes, but they are actually picky eaters. I have to weed their pen because they will not eat nasty weeds like malo. They do like dandelions, pine bark, lettuces, carrots and especially roses. My approach to getting good milk is to provide high quality feed.

My wife and I acquired our goats in March of 2013. We had to wait for them to mature to one year of age before we could breed them. Breeding a goat is the only way to get a goat “in milk”. In December of 2013, we bred our largest goat, Brie with a tri-colored goat named Jeffery. In May of 2014 we had three male goats (kids), we delivered ourselves without the aid of a vet. We were hoping for females, as more people want females for reproducing and for their milk. Male goats who have not been weathered are called Bucks and have one purpose in life. We were lucky and sold all three kids to a friend of a friend who wanted goats as pets. The three boys, all named after hockey players, live a fantastic live in Hesperia, CA running around three acres and acting like dogs as much as goats. Their owner has four dogs, too.

I started getting milk for my cheese making 17 months after my initial down payment on the purchase of my four goats. Cheese-making with my own raw material has been the longest personal project I have pulled off, which is longer than any single project I’ve worked on for Red Door. Persistence and vision paid delightful returns in the form of some very tasty cheese. Today, I mostly make varieties of Chevre, a traditional soft goat cheese, as well as my own Greek-style yogurt and ice cream with the goat milk.

Every Wednesday at 3:30 we gather to celebrate an employee who exemplifies our core values to inspire, share, evolve, exceed, and be 100% jerk-free. In our Share & Tell edition, we invite the employee to share their unique story, or simply something that inspires them.

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