Willow City Farm Goats
The story of the progression of our goat herd has been an interesting one. When we first moved to the farm, the pasture had been vacant and was overgrown. We needed a safe way to rid the pasture of thorns, thistle, poison ivy and weeds. So, we did what an organic farmer has to do - we chose herbivores over herbicides! The very first farm animals we ever purchased were two young Nigerian/Tennessee Fainting cross does and one buckling.
Bristol, London, and Chattanooga did their jobs, and we loved them. They provided hours of entertainment... Like the time Chattanooga, the buckling, decided to see if there was any chicken food left in the bottom of a large popcorn tin, and got his horns stuck IN the tin, covering his entire head. The rest of the farm animals took turns running into him in an attempt to get it off. It was eventually Trevor,the Icelandic ram, who was able to, you guessed it, ram it off. And, of course, this happened at Thanksgiving dinner with 40 of my closest family members as an audience.
As our farm plan developed and evolved, we gained more customers and listened to more of their requests. Overwhelmingly, we found that Central Illinois lacked a good source for organic goat meat. So we now keep our pet, weed/leaf -munching goats for goat yoga, and we added meat and meat-dairy cross goats.
We now have a very successful breeding program and a happy healthy herd of over 40 goats!
A byproduct of our desire to eat goat cheese is that there
are quite a few male goats that go unwanted. In addition to
our 100% Boer goat herd, Willow City Farm works with a
local goat dairy operation to keep their goat cheese
operation sustainable. Here's why: In order for dairy does
to have fresh milk for cheese, they must have babies! When
the babies are boys, they don't have a place at the dairy.
So, our breeder breeds her Sannan and Lamancha does
with a large, quality Boer buck, giving us a great cross.
There is just enough fat on them (from the dairy side of their
genes) to flavor the meat and keep it from being too lean.
Our goats (both breeds) are 100% grass-fed, and butchered at about 75-100lbs between 7 and 10 months of age. Our demand for goat meat is high, so we suggest reserving your specified cuts in advance, especially around Jewish or Islamic holidays. (Note, our butcher is not Halal certified, but we are happy to deliver live goats to the butcher of your choice.)
What's all the rave about goat meat?
Goats represent sustainability, without the curse of factory production. They are browsers, not grazers. The meat’s better for you, and the animals are easier on the land, We can put at most, two steers on an acre, but at least 10 goats. They take unwanted vegetation, and turn it into protein!
While goat meat is popular worldwide, in America it has typically been limited to smaller ethnic markets and restaurants (Indian, Caribbean, Mexican). But that’s changing as some upscale restaurants, including Chicago’s Girl & the Goat, as well as Whole Foods Market and specialty butchers are adding it to their mix.
Another important task is educating chefs and consumers about this healthy and flavorful meat. Goat meat has about the same amount of protein as chicken breast and more iron than beef. Goat is a good example of a meat that is ignored, based on ignorance, according to some executive chefs. It’s delicious. Sweet, mild and not gamy at all. People are pleasantly surprised when they try goat—everyone from foodie laymen to really experienced chefs.
Remember, goat has less fat than chicken or any of the red meats commonly consumed in the US. This is because goats tend to deposit their fat internally before they deposit it externally. When a goat is slaughtered, this internal fat is removed along with the rest of the "innards". A well conditioned goat does have a tiny coating of fat over its muscles which will help keep the meat from drying out rapidly.
Goats cannot be "finished" with grain like other meats, and do not marble (intersperse fat within their muscles), thus, goat fat along a cut of meat is usually easily trimmed. It has an excellent ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats making it a healthy choice!
Because of its low fat content, goat meat can lose moisture and toughen up if cooked at high temperatures and under dry conditions. Goat meat is usually cooked slowly or moderately and is often cooked in sauces or marinated first. One easy marinade is to soak the meat in beer and a 1/4 cup of lemon juice. If you eat meat and have never tried goat meat, we urge you to try it.
How do I cook it?
We suggest you check out our Pinterest page for a compilation of many recipes and articles concerning goat meat!
Stop into the Farmstand to purchase your individual cuts. We have them in stock now! Here are some of the cuts we currently have:
Ground Goat, Rib Chops, Loin Chops, Whole Shoulder, Shoulder Steaks, Bone-In Leg, Boneless Leg, Should Roast, Shank, Stew Meat, Bone-In Loin Roasts, Goat Heat & Goat Liver