The Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm began as a retirement project for Bedford resident Ann Kiessling, but it came to fruition before she and her husband could retire.
As of Oct. 16., when Kiessling received a liscence to pasteurize from the Board of Health, the Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm is Massachusetts' only goat micro-dairy producing milk as opposed to cheese.
"This is our retirement project, but the thing is it's gotten of the ground before we even retired," Kiessling said. "It took us two years for us to get it off the ground."
With only 13 goats of which only six are milking, one part of being a micro-dairy means that the farm does not have to come under regulation of the Food and Drug Administration.
"Because we have so few animals we do not have to be regulated by the FDA unless we make a product that goes to another state," Kiessling said. "So as long as we have so little product that it only stays local, it does not have to come under the FDA."
One advantage to running a goat dairy, Kiessling said, is that it's easier to pasteurize goat milk than cow milk because of the cleanliness of the animals.
"We could not have a micro dairy in the middle of Bedford if we had cows," Kiessling said. "It would be way to smelly, there would be way to many flies and the manure is impossible to deal with."
Goat milk tastes similar to cow milk, with the exception of being creamier, according to Kiessling.
Producing goat milk makes it easier to offer a clean and local dairy option for Bedford residents in large part because goats are more efficient producers of milk, Kiessling said.
"If you want to do local products and have a local dairy, goats should be an option that everybody thinks about," Kiessling said. "They're very efficient. They put out more milk per pound than cows do."
Kiessling said she uses some of the goat milk to make Greek style yogurt for home consumption, something she had hoped to produce for sale.
"What I really wanted to make was Greek style yogurt, but it turns out it's really hard to get through the regulations," Kiessling said. "That requires a filtration process and dealing with all the regulations around that is very expensive."
Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm may start selling home kits so customers can make Greek yogurt from goat milk on their own, according to Kiessling.