Photos by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group
                                Goat class facilitator Anza Muenchow with Rhiannon, a great-niece of her own goat.

Photos by Kira Erickson / Whidbey News Group Goat class facilitator Anza Muenchow with Rhiannon, a great-niece of her own goat.

Farmers milking the opportunity to teach about goats

When it comes to goats, Clinton resident Anza Muenchow is not kidding around. She and two other instructors from South Whidbey Tilth have been offering classes about dairy goats for the past few months as part of the organization’s mission to improve food security with locally sourced and sustainable products.

“Having your own dairy and cheese and milk is significant, because you’re not dependent on corporate milk,” Muenchow said, cautioning that owning dairy goats is a daily commitment.

The classes are supportive of the dairy community and educational for people who want to learn more about taking care of goats. A mix of goat owners and non-goat owners have attended the classes so far.

“I think goats are great because cows have to have fields of grass and lots of hay. Goats browse on everything,” Muenchow said. “They eat the local vegetation.”

Past classes have taught about housing, feeding and breeding goats. The upcoming class is on Jan. 5, to be held at Muenchow’s farm, and will focus on milking and raw milk.

Although the sale of raw milk without a license from the Washington State Department of Agriculture is illegal, the purpose of the upcoming class is to educate people about raw milk, its benefits and how people can legally obtain their own by milking their own goats.

“We know raw milk,” she said. “We drink it in our group. We’re careful, and we filter and pasteurize if people want to pasteurize.”

She also emphasized the importance of storing raw milk at a cold temperature.

For Muenchow, the switch to raw goat milk was a health decision when processed cow milk started to make her feel ill. She owns two goats herself, which she milks every day. She and other South End farmers have passed around a buck to does that need “freshening.”

“I love my goats,” she said.

Classes are free to attend. Donations benefiting South Whidbey Tilth are welcomed.

This Sunday’s goat class will run 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Maha Farm at 4328 Glendale Road in Clinton. February’s class is set to cover healthy birthing for goats and will be held at a different location.

For more information, visit http://www.southwhidbeytilth.org/.

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