More than milk
If you go to a fancy restaurant and order Chevon as your main course, you might not be aware of what kind of meat you will be eating.
It’s goat. And it is becoming extremely popular in many areas of the United States, especially in the south.
But, it is starting to become more and more popular in Faribault County, too.
“It started when we got into 4-H,” says Amber Hubbard, who with her husband, Nick, and two children, Caleb 16, and Kristen, 13, raise goats on their farm southwest of Wells. “The kids wanted to show animals for 4-H at the county fair.”
When she asked them what kind, her son Caleb replied “goats.”
That was five or six years ago and the Hubbards have been raising and showing and eating goats ever since.
They got their first two from Jaime and Corky Modine in Freeborn County. As of last week, they now have nine and more might be on the way.
“We had three does (females) and two just each had triplets,” Amber Hubbard says. “And I think our third female might be having kids any moment now.”
While dairy goats, kept for their milk that makes cheese, have been in the county for some time, meat goats are just starting to get popular.
“There are several breeds of meat goats, but ours are Boers,” Hubbard explains. “Most of them in this area are the Boer breed.”
That is the same kind of goats being raised by Dale and Lori Stevermer of Easton, and their daughter Beth.
And, like the Hubbards, it started as a 4-H project, and an FFA project for Beth.
“The number of goats here is growing,” Lori Stevermer says. “They are easy to care for, don’t require as much feed and supplements, and they are not the large size of other animals.”
The Stevermers have eight goats on their farm near Easton, and they, too, have does that have just had kids.
Stevermer says the females are does and the males are bucks, just like deer and rabbits. The castrated males are called wethers. The babies are called kids.
Usually most of the males are sent off to market and the females kept for breeding purposes.
There is a farm near New Richland, and one south of East Chain, that are getting into the goat meat market on a larger scale.
And, goats are bought and sold at auction at the Blue Earth Stockyard. There are trailers full of goats that have been shipped off to market at times.
“There is a market for it,” Lori Stevermer says. “And it is not just an ethnic market anymore. It is served in many restaurants. It is becoming more and more popular as a tasty meat.”
Amber Hubbard agrees.
“We have ours butchered at a meat market and made into all kinds of goat chops, goat hamburger and goat meat sticks,” Hubbard says. “We like it and eat it a lot, just like beef.”
That is, if her husband, Nick, doesn’t give it all away.
“He’s proud of it, and wants to show people it tastes real good, so he gives them a sample to try,” she says. “It is just like a cow or a deer we do it into roasts, chops, everything.”
While Amber and the kids, Caleb and Kristen, tend to the goats, Nick is not really into the chores except for one.
“Nick gives them their shots I just can’t stand to do it,” Amber says. It’s not that she doesn’t know how. “They scream and cry, it is awful. No other animal sounds this terrible. It is louder and more terrible than a child getting a shot.”
She adds that if someone was driving into the yard when the goats are getting shots, they would think the Hubbards were murdering someone.
“So, I try and give them as much medicine orally as I can,” she continues. “I just dread having to hear them when they get shots.”
Both the Stevermers and Hubbards say that Faribault County has the least amount of meat goats in the area, but that the numbers are picking up.
“It is becoming a lot more popular,” Amber Hubbard says. “Many folks are talking about it now. Our neighbors are getting some and will show at the fair this summer. And one of Caleb’s classmates bought some goats, too.”
Who knows, maybe Chevon will start to be served at your favorite local restaurant. Or on a stick at the county fair.