A goat’s tale

CHRISTMAS Eve 2008 was a memorable date for a new beginning. The sale of Ringwould Goats Cheese from their new dairy was approved by the City of Albany health inspector.

In January a few of us were privileged to taste the new goats cheese products of Ringwould Farm – the frais, cendre, blanc and herbe, which is now available at Fresh Provisions Mount Lawley, Scuttis in South Perth, the Re Store and, I hear, soon to be at the Boatshed, the Albany Farmers’ Market and shops in Denmark and Albany. The cheeses are beautifully made and have all the qualities of their Kervella ancestry.

Farmers from Jerramungup, Augusta and Jim Saunders wanted a slower life style so after selling half of their broad acre mixed cereal, sheep & cattle property five years ago bought a 600 acre run down farm at Redmond North West of Albany. Bringing some of their sheep and horse stud with them they found that even with the greener pastures and double the rainfall their animals were not thriving. A soil analysis revealed the soil was depleted in minerals and the phosphate levels were just about toxic. This has been rectified by adding minerals and using biodynamic farming practices and the animals now thrive, but carrying on with their prime lamb production was not working. The story of healthy soil healthy animals led them all into a discovery journey about biodynamic farming, so their son John and his wife Toni visited farms here and in the eastern states while also looking at the possibility of diversifying using sheep for milk production.

By sheer chance a year ago they read Gabrielle Kervella’s advertisement in the paper about the sale of her goats and went to meet her at her Gidgegannup farm. The goats were bought and 70 does, 25 kids and three bucks made the journey to their new pastures down south. The farm has an ideal balance for feed for the goats as the 245 hectares includes 82ha of already-planted bluegums, about 41ha of bush and the pasture which is fenced into 22 paddocks for the sheep, cattle and the Australian stock horse breeding stud. The goats love eating everything, especially the roses in the garden, banksias in the bush, all grasses rough or green, reeds of all kinds from the creek that runs through the property and after many adventures the goats have really made themselves at home.

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