Terroir refers to the complete set of environmental factors that combine to uniquely affect the characteristics (taste, texture, aroma) of an artisanal food.
For us, it is so important to that we provide the most natural of environments to our goats. This involves giving our goats free access to areas which are undulating and offer sheltering spots. Our free range goats thrive when given a variety of habitats to live. When our goats aren’t sunning themselves at our coastal paddocks at Lunan Bay, they enjoy climbing in and out of an abandoned, tree covered quarry on our farm, which makes the perfect playground for our fearless kids. As goats love to climb, we built an enormous mound on the farm, which we call, “Goat Mountain”.
In the winter time when there is no naturally growing forage, we move our goats into large sheds and provide them we extensive lounging areas dotted with scratching stations and enormous tree trunks for them to climb and jump. It is so important to provide stimulation to goats for their psychological welfare.
Unlike sheep or cattle, it is mandatory that you provide shelters for goats. We have natural shelters for our goats, such as gorse bushes and trees on our paddocks, in addition to providing man-made sheds which include repurposed truck trailers from Neil’s haulage business. These recycled shelters are essential for our goats’ wellbeing. Since we started rearing goats on our farm, we have invested heavily in robust, goat-proof fencing and gates.
Goats are the masters of regenerative agriculture, by selectively browsing the invasive weeds and helping to increase biodiversity. Goats are unique in having a horny pad in their mouth to pulverise seeds, so they don’t self-fertilise leaving the land in a better condition. Goat manure is a great source of potassium, potash and nitrogen, which we use to nourish soil in fields. Healthy goats produce small pellets of manure which has the benefit of not burning or suffocating the grass beneath it.
Along with genetics and environment, good goat nutrition is essential for ensuring our herd is healthy and meat quality supreme. Goats are natural browsers who selectively eat brush and invasive weeds, such as thistles and nettles, and will leave grasses to flourish. They prefer to nibble on tall plants and love to stretch up on their hind legs when clearing brush. By eating brush and weeds, our goats remove competition for soil nutrients, which helps to restore pasture quality. Just another reason why choosing to eat free range goat meat is a great sustainable option.
Along with browsing all day on the gorse, wild grasses and other coastal plants at Lunan Bay, we feed our goats home-grown hay and lucerne, a natural superfood for goats. Lucerne is a legume hay which provides extra nutrition for our pregnant and lactating does. Minerals are an essential part of our goats’ diet so we provide special licking blocks, which contain micro and macro minerals, that our goats can access at all times.
In the winter months when forage has stopped growing outside, we move the majority of goat herds inside our goat sheds and supplement their hay and lucerne with goat nuts, a feed specially comprised to support goat nutrition. This feed contains vitamins and minerals including cobalt, copper, iron, sulphate, iodine, selenium and manganese which are essential for good goat health. In the summer, we treat our goats to their favourite food, bay willow herb which grows in abundance on our farm. We have also discovered that our goats are very partial to squash, carrots and raisins.