A food review by Daniel B.
Coach Farm has been famous for their goat milk cheeses for a long time. One of my most cherished positions is a well-worn copy of Steven Jenkins 1996 book, the Cheese Primer which I’ve taken all around the country and abroad. Even back then, Coach Farm was listed as an American Treasure.
It’s a crime now that I’ve lived in the region for almost five years that I have never once visited the farm out in Gallatinville, down in Columbia County. Especially since as a Californian at heart, Alice Waters’ Baked Goat Cheese Salad is sacrosanct to my former regional cuisine.
But before there can be goat cheese, there has to be goat milk. And if you are lucky, you may be able to snag a quart of this great product, which is pretty close to what I’ve been looking for in milk.
Raw milk is delicious, and maybe it’s safer to drink the stuff than it is to get behind the wheel of a car. You would probably have to find an actuary to tell you for certain. But for me, it is just not worth the risk. It’s not.
The fluid dairy I’m looking for comes from animals that are treated well and fed primarily on greenery. The milk itself should be only gently pasteurized, unhomogenized, and bottled in glass.
Coach Farm maintains a herd of about a thousand French Alpine Goats that each have their own name. They are fed mostly alfalfa hay grown on the farm, supplemented with other grains. There aren’t any growth hormones for goats, and antibiotics are only used if the animal is sick (with the resulting milk being discarded as a matter of law).
Supermarkets’ shelves are filled with Meyenberg goat milk, which is ultra-pastuerized and has all of the life cooked out of it. Coach Farm does pasteurize their milk, and leaves it gloriously unhomoginized. It is bottled in plastic, so it’s not quite perfect, but awfully close.
And I’m willing to forgive a lot after tasting that first scoop of silky, delicately flavored goat milk cream from the top of the milk. That bite alone is almost worth the price of the bottle. Consuming this little treasure is best left for a time when you are all alone, and no prying eyes can see you and ask for a nibble.
The milk is a bit more assertive on its own. In comparison to whole cow’s milk it is less butter and more barnyard. But that’s not a bad thing. In strong coffee it looses some of its distinctiveness. However the Coach Farm goat milk really shines when contrasted with something sweet and honeyed like granola, for a very decadent treat.
It’s not inexpensive, but full-fat milk isn’t something you should really drink a lot of anyway. I was excited to see that the goat milk had a slightly lower amount of cholesterol than cow milk. But I contend the reason to try this unique product isn’t for health, but rather for its unique flavor, and the sheer joy of scooping out the goat cream.
You can drop by the farm and see the goats being milked at 3 o’clock every afternoon. Most of that milk will go to their amazing cheeses. However, you can find yourself a quart of the milk itself and not just get a better understanding of where that great cheese comes from, but also have a delicious accompaniment to your morning cereal and coffee.
105 Mill Hill Road in the town of Gallatinville, NY
About Daniel B.
A west coast transplant now living in Albany, Daniel Berman is applying his communication strategy background to food writing with the ultimate goal of improving the culinary landscape in the Capital Region. He writes the FUSSYlittleBLOG and contributes regularly to All Over Albany.