“I don’t like goats.” My mother said, as I put my turn signal on, heading towards Catapano Dairy Farm. “Don’t they have slits in their eyes? and those little horns, and beards…” She continued. “I think they look like the devil!” Not liking goats, it is strange she chose to accompany me to the farm, which is home to just under one-hundred goats of different shapes, sizes, and breeds.
The Catapanos bought the farm on the Main Road in Peconic in 2003, which houses a steel barn and all new machinery for producing cheese in great quantities. Husband and wife team Dr. Michael and Karen bought goats in 2001 as a hobby (Michael works at a very busy walk-in clinic in Wainscott), and by 2005 the couples chevre was awarded #1 by the American Cheese Society.
The male and female goats are kept separately, as well as the kids. Their fenced enclosures are spacious, and extremely clean. The goats are fed a strict diet of alfalfa from a supplier upstate to maintain a consistent flavor in their cheeses, yogurt, and milks.
To my moms surprise, the goats were friendly, and because the mother’s were being milked at the time, the smaller kids, she had to admit, were actually pretty cute. They stuck their heads out of the fence to be rubbed, and tried to gnaw on any loose-fitting clothing. They were friendly and playful, and the Catapano’s are frequently quoted saying they truly are happy goats.
In the small store at the farm you can purchase a variety of cheeses, chevre comes in several different favors, they also make feta, and gouda. Goat’s milk yogurt, and fudge can also be found, along with house-made Hot Pepper Jelly, and Lavender Honey from The Taste of the North Fork.
Karen also makes a line of goat milk body products, including handmade soaps, lotions, lip balms, and more. Goat milk is incredibly beneficial to the skin containing many nutrients including vitamins A, C, B1, B6, B12, and E, minerals, citric acid, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, enzymes, and she adds almond oil, shea butter, silk, and scents to the products which can also be purchased on their website.
If the friendly kids, and bath products didn’t change my moms opinion on goats, the chevre certainly did. Extremely smooth, creamy, and mildly tart, this cheese is one that must be tried by any fan of goat cheese. Perfect for salads, pastas, sandwiches, or eaten alone on a fresh baguette, the plain flavored batch is delicious enough, but there are many flavors including hot pepper, basil and parsley, sun-dried tomato, and lavender honey. To learn more about the Catapano’s Dairy Farm or to order bath products visit their website here. Or stop by the farm at 33705 North Rd, in Peconic, NY 10am-5pm everyday by Tuesday.
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