Dancing Goats Dairy is a small goat dairy on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Using the milk from our pastured-raised, mixed breed herd, we make small, artisan batches of fresh and aged cheese as well as bottling fresh, raw milk.
Our cheeses are made by hand in small batches from whole, fresh milk that is antibiotic and hormone free. Our herd is raised on open pasture, giving our cheeses a distinct but mild flavor that changes with the seasons. Only microbial (non-animal) rennet and the highest quality herbs and spices are used in our cheeses.
Our story, like most good stories, begins with an unlikely event and a little kiss of fate. Our owner and cheesemaker, Erin Bligh, was fresh back from a term abroad in Rennes, France, where she had fallen in love with the rustic simplicity of French cheese. After finishing school, she shocked her friends and family by announcing that she had taken a job as a Kidding Intern at Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont.
The next several months were a crash course in goat husbandry. Consider Bardwell Farm was about to start kidding season for their 80 goat milking herd. They were looking for someone willing to work long hours (about 80 a week), in less than ideal climactic conditions (i.e. wading through waist high snow to bring five gallon buckets of water to the chickens) for little to no money (the weekly stipend of $100 was just enough to feed yourself). In exchange, the intern would learn all they wanted to know about running a farmstead dairy operation.
Erin spent about a year at Consider Bardwell, first as a kidding intern, learning how to birth goats, milk and make a farm run, then another several months in the cheese room as an apprentice, learning the delicate art of turning that toiled-for milk into a culinary masterpiece. After a while though, she began to miss the proximity of her friends and family and decided to endeavor to find a farm closer to her hometown in Massachusetts where she could raise her very own herd of goats.
Soon after moving back to the North Shore of Massachusetts she began working with a close family friend who owned Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA, just a short ride down the road from her family’s home. They struck a bargain, she could have a place to keep and raise her two new goats, favorites from the kid crop from Consider Bardwell that year, and in exchange she would work at the farm which was comprised of a retail store, a large vegetable and flower growing operation, a small orchard and a variety of animals raised for meat.
During that first year Erin continued her rookie farmer education, all the while caring for the goats and milking our herd matriarch, Kipper, and crafting her milk into lovely, artisanal soaps. She learned, among other things, that blueberry plants loved acid (what a great use for cheese-making whey), that you should not get a nose bleed in the chicken coop unless you wanted to be stalked with squawking birds while collecting eggs (terrifying!), that you should not drive the tractor through the mud unless you want to embarrass yourself and be rescued by the boys (thank you boys!), and that pigs will love you forever if you feed them all the reject cheese you make before you perfect your recipes (SCORE!).
In 2013, after renovating an old farm outbuilding into stalls and a milk room, we began our kidding season with a herd of five goats. All four of our does were bred and freshened like champions. By 2014, our herd had grown to seven and in 2015 we started milking fourteen.
In 2015 we began selling our products commercially and now operate a small farm stand and are in local stores and farmers markets. We use the milk to make cheese, caramel, fudge and soap. We are not quite sure what exciting things these next few years have in store for us, but if we did, it wouldn’t be an adventure.