Please support the Valley News during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, we are asking for your support. Please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Thank you for your support of the Valley News.

Dan McClory, publisher


Thinning the herd: Windsor farm to stop bottling goat milk for market

  • Karen Lindbo of Oak Knoll Dairy in Windsor, Vt., feeds a goat kid that had been born that morning on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Lindbo and her husband own the farm. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Andy Jarvis, of Perkinsville, Vt., moves goats during milking at Oak Knoll Dairy in Windsor, Vt., on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. The farm is reducing the herd. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lisa Perham, of Baltimore, Vt., IS SNIFFED BY A GOATf during milking at Oak Knoll Dairy in Windsor, Vt., on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. The farm is reducing the herd. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/26/2019 9:57:49 PM
Modified: 9/26/2019 9:57:42 PM

WINDSOR — Lamancha, Alpine and Saanen goats will continue to graze, produce milk, bear kids and bleat at visitors to Oak Knoll Dairy for the foreseeable future — just not as many of them.

Over the summer, Oak Knoll founder-owners George Redick and Karen Lindbo sold 250 of their herd of about 750 to Bridgman Hill Farm in Hardwick, Vt. In the weeks and months to come, Bridgman Hill founders Ryan Andrus and Annie Rowden will bring about 150 more to the Northeast Kingdom, as they finish building a 23,000-square-foot barn.

And before the foliage peaks around Oak Knoll’s half-mile-long complex of airy, well-lit barns, pens and meadow along the Connecticut River, Redick and Lindbo, both in their 60s, will stop bottling milk for market altogether.

“We aim to keep 150 to 200 of the milkers and will continue to sell some raw milk wholesale,” Redick said Thursday morning, standing in the driveway next to his and Lindbo’s farmhouse. “No more processing will free us up from a lot of time and consternation.”

The commitment of time and energy isn’t deterring Bridgman Hill’s Andrus and Rowden, ages 38 and 31, respectively. Since relocating from a creamery in California with more than 1,000 goats about a year ago, Andrus and Rowden have been buying up Oak Knoll’s milking, processing and bottling equipment as well as goats. Later this fall, they will start bottling processed milk with the Oak Hill label.

The couple also are supplying raw milk to Jasper Hill Farm in nearby Greensboro, Vt., whose owner-managers, Woodstock Union High School graduates and brothers Mateo and Andy Kehler, are planning to mix it with cow milk to form several cheeses, including one named Bridgman Blue.

An email sent to Andrus and Rowden on Thursday was not returned by deadline. In a recent article about the Bridgman Hill/Jasper Hill arrangement, the alternative weekly newspaper Seven Days quotes Andrus as calling the Oak Knoll goats healthy and “exceptionally friendly” thanks to the care of Redick and Lindbo, whom he declared “goat whisperers.”

Redick said on Thursday that, as he and his wife age, it’s getting harder to devote such careful attention to so many goats. They had already stopped making yogurt on-site “a couple of years ago,” he said, and more recently, two of their seven employees moved on to other jobs, leaving three full-time workers and two part-timers.

“We were getting concerned that one of us might take a hit — a heart attack or something,” Redick said. “There’s always something lurking around the corner, waiting to trip you up. It would be difficult … it would end up being a fire sale, instead of something we planned.”

In a way, the planning began in 1998, when the Upper Valley Land Trust bought the development rights to the property. In addition to providing Redick and Lindbo with capital to buy the processing and milking equipment and to build the herd — which they’d started with four pet goats in 1988 — the arrangement requires that the property will remain in agricultural use.

And for now, milking a smaller herd, leasing the fields out back for growing hay and corn, and trading manure for hay from a nearby farm, is use aplenty for Redick and Lindbo, whom Redick said “hasn’t been off the farm for more than a day or two for 30 years.”

Not that they want to leave for more than “a two- or three-day excursion” anytime soon, Redick said, gazing across the fields to the Connecticut River.

“It’s such a great piece of land,” he said. “We wanted to be able to continue to keep working with small animals, for as long as we can. There’s no nicer place we can think of to do it.”

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@ vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy