Increasing Demand for Goat Milk
At City Farm Austin, people can buy a share of Paula Tarver's goats.
"The city allows you to have four goats, so I said, 'I can do that,'” Tarver said. “We started with chickens, and chickens are definitely the gateway to livestock."
All Tarver needed was a few partners to help take care of the animals.
"I just needed to find 14 crazy people to help me milk twice a day,” she said.
Most shareholders come once a week. They take a quart of milk, which costs about $170 a year.
The nation's goat herd is up 2 percent, and producers say sales are up 15 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sheep and goat milk brought in more than $92 million in 2012.
Some people like goat milk because it's easier to digest.
"I originally got into it because I wanted to supplement formula for my infants, and I just thought formula had too many chemicals in it and I didn't want them having that,” shareholder Laura Yaeger said.
Caution is important though.
"The risk is bad bacteria that can make you sick,” Tarver said.
Regular tests and sanitizing the goat and the workspace before milking will prevent a bad batch.
More shares will be available in July. Go to CityFarmAustin.com for more information.