When two women took over Nettle Meadow Goat Farm and Cheese Factory (484 S. Johnsburg Road, Warrensburg, 518/623-3372, http://nettlemeadow.com) in the southern Adirondacks and put up the sign Happy Goats — Great Cheese, neighboring farmers laughed.
A tour of the picturesque farm yields a designated retirement home for old milk-goats no longer able to produce, as well as a bachelor pad that houses the male goats born on the farm. The pampered goats — all 130 are called by their individual name — munch on organic feed made up of wild herbs, nettles, garlic, kelp, and wild raspberry branches.
Determined to keep from the slaughterhouse the young males they bottle fed by hand as babies, owners Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan allow the goats to roam the land until they can find a good home as a pet or 4H project. Nettle Meadow’s no-kill policy even extends to the wolves and coyotes that threaten the herd. Finding the idea of shooting the intruders repugnant, they hired a top-of-the-line four-strong security force of no nonsense llamas.
To outsiders, it probably seemed unlikely that a business that spoils its goats so and ladles (as opposed to drains, which is less time consuming) the product to protect the architecture of the curds, could survive. But, Nettle Meadow farm’s unique organic Kunik cheese was recently listed by the celebrated Murray’s Cheese as one of the World’s Best 300 Cheeses and is featured in many top New York City restaurants.
Farm and rescue sanctuary (includes an ancient donkey, two peacocks, four horses, retired goats, young bucks, and goat kids) tours are available for small groups at noon and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Call for directions from Northway 87, Exit 23. Cheese is sold from the farm’s porch seven days a week.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition