And, of course, there were samples of fresh goat and cow's milk, fresh butter and cheese, and a gourmet lunch perfect for a day out in the country.
I crawled my reluctant ass out of bed at 7:30 a.m. in order to make the bus pickup at the cheese shop at 8:45 a.m. I was thinking that in farm time, this was probably about midday.
The Lawlers know how to tour in style: The bus was posh with huge, comfy seats, very effective air conditioning, a bathroom and drop-down screens that played The Cheese Nun , a fairly new documentary about a Benedictine nun learning to make artisan cheese by hand, and the hour trip out to Parker seemed much shorter with that (I now understand why parents love SUVs with DVD players in them).The Ugly Goat Milk Company farm is at 1701 Hidden Acres Place in Parker, and it has a shareholder arrangement by which a $40 buy-in gets you access to raw goat and cow's milk, butter and cheeses like chevre, feta, ricottas, mozzarella and -- in the future -- cheddar. The farm also produces fresh eggs, which we urbanite foodies value somewhere between gold and platinum.
The farm is gorgeous -- rolling hills, green grass, friendly, fluffy animals, and a barn so clean I searched all day for barn-elves. Mike talked for a bit about how he got started in the dairy-farming business -- apparently he found two goats on Craigslist, then a cow named "Truffle" who needed a good home, and started his farm on a five-acre plot in Elizabeth, before relocating four months ago to the more spacious farm in Parker.Since then he's either acquired or facilitated the birthing of a modest Noah's Ark of plump, happy critters, including a couple of sweet, placid Jersey milk cows named Violette and Honey; a handful of newly shorn rescue sheep that eat animal crackers; Nubian, Alpine, Sable and Saanen goats; a few misanthropic geese and laid-back ducks, chickens, complete with baby chicks for everyone to fawn over; and a female barn cat named Roxy with advanced people skills.