No kidding. Yes kidding!

Thanks to over 100 contributors we made our crowd fundraising goal of $15,000, and then some. No kidding! Huge gratitude for this awesome phenomena. We are very excited to be moving forward with finishing the aging room and getting the equipment we need to grow the dairy.


And so the season begins. The does are kidding and so far we have 17 new baby goats born beautiful and healthy, jumping around and getting into mischief within days of birth. Ada, our daughter turning 1 year end of March, squeals with delight at the sight of them. The mamas are getting out to green pasture and come back to the barn often to visit their kids.

HWG_4521 HWG_4556

Now getting into the routine again of milking twice a day, and though most the milk goes directly to the kids (for a couple months), we are getting enough milk to start making batches of fresh goat cheese, aka chèvre, in the cheese vat and will begin selling at the “Little Spring Market” we hold here at the farm every other Saturday thru April. Next market is April 2nd 10-2. So come on by and revel with us in the joys of Spring!



All photos here thanks to Heather Gladstone

More Local Cheese Please!

3of3-Gladstone-Dairy Goats at Sunnyfield Farm

We have launched a crowd-funding campaign to grow our dairy!  Getting a dairy up and running (and growing) is no small task. We are asking for help because we can’t do it with out you.

It is because of the support we feel from our community that we are taking this next step.

Click here for Sunnyfield’s Barn Raiser to view our video and campaign details. Please forward and help us spread the word.

We will finish the aging room and make necessary upgrades to the dairy as we get ready for our second year, working hard to meet the demand as it grows.

Thank you for all your cheese purchasing and milk drinking, and being a part of this community-raised goat dairy.

We are so grateful to have this opportunity to focus on our passions of raising goats and making cheese so YOU can enjoy farmstead cheese local to our beloved San Juan Islands.


Elizabeth and Andre


Goat Milk? Raw Milk?

Yea, i know goat milk is on the fringe and especially RAW MILK.  Well if you want to learn more about goat milk check out a friend’s website cause she did a great job.                   St John Creamery

Basically, goat milk is closer to human milk than cow, so it’s said to be more digestible. Also goat milk is somewhat naturally “homogenized” so it doesn’t “require” the processing that cow milk receives cause they (big dairy business) want it to travel around the world and not end up with little cute butter balls on top.


But RAW MILK!!!???  Who would want to drink that?  I think some Surgeon General said it was like playing russian roulette with your health!

Let’s see, where do i start…  Blah blah, people were getting sick from cows in cities in NY around the late 1800″s early 1900″s cause the cows were fed distillery slop and never saw a grass blade and were in confinement on their own shit….. Then Mister Pasteur who “Pasteurized” for the wine industry began doing that to this sick milk and, Voila! Babies were saved!  What a hero.  Wrong.  Well maybe a little bit, but he or his constituents missed the main point:  Sick animals makes sick milk making people sick.  Some of that germ theory stuff they were using i guess.

DSC_0152I know the health of my goats is first, before sanitation, as a priority.  Sanitation is key too, but you can’t make good cheese with bad milk.  (You CAN make bad cheese with good milk!)

Mark McAfee runs the largest raw milk dairy in the nation.  Organic Pastures in California has dealt with a lot of crap from the authorities.  He is a hero to me and defends clean raw milk from pasture raised animals with lots of research.  He’s a great speaker.  I include an excerpt of the full letter he wrote to the Colorado Department of Health below:

“To study this issue further, Organic Pastures contracted with BSK labs in Fresno to perform multiple challenge and recovery tests on our raw milk and raw colostrum. When 7 logs (10 million counts) of pathogens were added to one-milliliter samples of organic raw milk they would not grow. In fact they died off. The salmonella was so badly out-competed that it could not be found less than 24 hours later. The listeria drop was less dramatic and was similiar to the E. Coli O157:H7 samples that were studied, but they also did not grow and declined substantially over time.

The lab concluded: “. . . organic raw milk and colostrum do not appear to support the growth of pathogens. . .” ”

Ha!  Read em and weep you regulators.  Not anecdotal at all, but research.

Another friend who tested her own milk (Her Goat milk) told me it was cleaner the day after milking, which proves raw, healthy milk has this “positive pressure” as i like to call it, to take care of itself.

The FDA allows us to have 10 coliforms per ml of milk.  Coliforms are a broad class of bacteria.  There are good and bad ones.  If you have any, than you can dig deeper and find out what kind, like pathogenic for instance.  I just accessed the results of the WSDA’s monthly testing of our milk and it said every test but 1 had <1 coliforms and the other had 1 count.  I could be dirtier if i wanted to!

I’ve tested my own milk at the soon-to-be-up-and-running Food Safety Lab at the LCLT and found the same results-  Clean and normal raw milk.

Raw milk has the stuff present in it to let you digest it.  Amazing!  Duh!  Raw milk advocates have long lists of benefits.  It’s a tense topic with many opposing bits of research.  Some say pasteurizing destroys the calcium and reduces the vitamin C. Good luck weeding through all the info.

We can sell raw, retail milk, and raw approved cheeses that have been aged 60 days.  All else must be Louis pasteurized.  So we had to get this:IMG_1606

Don’t we look dorky?  I don’t even look that stoked to get that $15,000 addition to our cheese room.  Well, actually i was very pleased that our community helped us get it, but i’m making a point that i would rather make raw cheese because i believe it’s far superior and in some ways safer.  This piece of equipment and the room that surrounds it are part of  the “barriers to entry” in to the dairy business.  It makes it kinda hard for someone who is passionate about cheese making and has a basic knowledge of herd health and sanitation to sell dairy products.  This vat pasteurizer enables us to sell the chèvre that so many people love.  Vat Pasteurization is 145° F for 30 minutes.

Once pasteurization is complete the medium is a void, a vacuum.  Not much lives in it so i better get something growing in it that’s good. I am actually a little more nervous with pasteurized milk. So this is where i come in with a specific culture of lactic acid bacteria that ferment and convert the milk sugar, lactose, in to lactic acid.  This drops the pH down to around 4.6, a pH that botulism cannot thrive in and i bet other bad ones find it intolerable too.  Raw milk has these good flavor producing lactobacilli which can create it’s own unique and indigenous subtleties, your terrior.  Some day i’ll experiment on myself with these natural starters like our friends the bakers use with their sourdough starters or leavens.

Ultra-Heat Treatment.  UHT Milk    That sounds delicious

  You may notice this on your carton of milk, especially on Organic Valley.  It is heated to 280° F for 1-2 seconds!  I cannot find anywhere HOW this is done.  Doesn’t water boil at 212!  This gives their product a 70 day shelf life!  Our milk lasts, usually, sometimes, i’m still getting hard data on it, about 2 weeks before it gets stronger flavor notes not in accordance with the american palate (or my wife’s).  Often if in the right conditions, warm and breathing, raw milk will convert in to another product, whereas processed milk will putrefy.


Once again, not for your health, but for long distance jiggling in trucks.  Your milk is forced through a “screen” at pressures exceeding 2000-3000 psi, therefore breaking up the fat globules so they can’t gather at the top for your cream in-your-coffee/butter making enjoyment.  There are cream-top milks out there again, as well as your local cow.

RAW MILK has killed people, Pasteurized milk has killed people, so have those vicious cantaloupes.   They (theres “they” again, who are those people?) are already pasteurizing eggs, maybe they will have some neat processing method to vaporize melons.

Raw milk intended for pasteurization (i’ve never typed that word so much) can be dirtier, and therefore your can “cook out your bad practices” and sell it “safe.”

I hope i’ve ranted in a way with such sarcasm that you’ll think again about your milk habits.


If you want to live on the wild side, let us know and we can get you on our raw milk pick-up list for next season as we’re ramping up our production.  Not enough milk this year.

Look out for our crowd funding video on we’re putting together to get our cheese aging room completed by spring for your diverse cheese eating pleasure!

Good evening.  I need to go out and feed goats hay.  It’s raining.


make hay when the sun shines and it’s not going to rain in a few days


This post is getting out a little late, unlike the hay or anything else this year.  Making good hay seems to take a lot of experience.  Not necessarily know how, but a little “luck” and feeling with when to do it.

I have been taking over a bit of the decisions out in the pasture(as opposed to Ron)since the goat dairy depends on it.  This year i took it more in to my own hands to make the hay cutting call.  The last two years our neighbor Skip Clark does the portion for our goats(most goes to him and his cattle), but i have to wait for when he’s motivated and when to get a square baler from another farmer.  I thought that was too many lives to wait on and i had no control.  So i called everyone who might be able to cut and ted and rake and bale, and found out that Ben Tompson could do the first 2 steps.

There was a weather window we were in, late may, and i was going to get the earliest hay in, which is better than late.  The protein drops off significantly as the summer goes.  Most wait till later when it is less risky.  Make hay when the sun shines and is still shining throughout the process.  Ben said to make good hay early, one has to ted it(stir it up, flip it over) frequently to dry it out.  Early hay means wetter grass and ground and maybe more dew to burn off before tedding again.

I lined up MR Buffum to rake and bale for sunday and that day was not quite enough sun(its SUNday but it was only  a bit sunny). I also lined up some buddies to bring it in to our barn.  The bales were a little heavy.  MR said he used to put salt in between the layers if they were wet and the cows liked it too.

The next day it poured.  Ben said we did the best we could.  About a week ago i opened up 3 bales- 2 were moldy.  150 bales, maybe i’ll get 50.  About $580 total.  $3.80 a bale.  I feel like a smart-ass immature young farmer.  “I’ll show em!”  Skip was out there next week in that very long, dry window and seemed like the whole island brought in hay.  And it was still early.  Oh yea, we are still in that window!   This early june, Skip was able to mow thru a section that is usually too wet to do in July!  He said its going to be a bad year.


MR said he once had 100 acres cut and it poured.  He said it was almost all they had so they fed it to their cattle mixed with a little better hay.  They didn’t do very well on it.

This island has very depleted soils.  Last year we had a truck apply 20 tons of lime to the pasture which came out to $2700!  The soil had a low pH and that can lock up vital goodies for plants and animals.  We figured if our pasture is healthy than our goats would be and so would the milk i sell to the people.  How can we get that money back?  Hopefully health all around and fewer vet bills.  Skip may of gotten a higher hay yield this year, but yield is not necessarily the best judge.  Quality folks, not quantity!

I picked up 2 tons alfalfa/orchard grass for the second year in a row from Whidbey island.  Ebey’s landing has something like 17 inches of rainfall and very sandy soil.  Alfalfa is good for producing milk and likes well drained growing conditions.  We supplement this with our own grass hay and some even better certified organic dairy grade alfalfa from eastern wa.  If we could not get hay from else where than i would be taking the goats on walks for evergreens thru the winter for some extra protein.  Coming out of the winter, my goats have not looked so good on local hay only.

The milk is still flowing at about 7.5 gallons a day from 9 goats.  During the late winter, early spring, this milk will be made from 100% hay and alfalfa.


We might want to make hay when the sun shines, we just hope it rains again to let the grass recover from it.  They say it might rain this weekend.  I guess that might screw up our farmer’s market sales, but i would rather some rain.


medicine walk

We have been graced with the chance to move in some old ways.  My son Weston, myself or Elizabeth get to be goatherds, which in sheep would be a shepherd.  Taking the goats out from the farm, on up the road to the Lopez Hill area feels like medicine to my spirit.  I dream of having each of our land mates choose a day a week to take the goats up and get their medicinal forages of choice: the wild varieties that we miss with the plow and mower.  They browse on wild roses, ocean spray, willow, hardback, alder, thumble berry, you name it, they love it, and the deep roots pull up the minerals goats need.  More minerals than sheep and cattle.

This year the goats kidded fine- no assistance, but it seems hard for me to keep the weight on them and in good health coming through the first couple of weeks of lactation.  After some health issues with the goats and my own stress from all the dairy related work, i received a message in my thoughts to go up the “mountain”.  This is not just a walk, it is several hours up there so they can relax and eat and move and eat and move and lie down.  And for me to read and watch and think and lie down, and eat too.  I think, “How lucky i am to be able to maybe make this part of my livelihood, to fight my mind saying it’s not productive but to know that the goats’ health is everything if my business is wholesome cheese and milk.”

Weston is most excited about that long stick then herding goats, but never the less he is getting good at it.  The other day he lied down next to me during the DAY in the field with the goats on one of our “walks” longer then i’ve ever seen him still.  I think it was 2 minutes.  He has been coming to the Quaker meeting so that’s given him some practice in stillness maybe.  Of course i dream of him being more a part of the dairy.  He has liked to bottle feed some of the doelings we bought.

One of the most beautiful parts of this dairy farming is that i manage the goats in a way that gives them freedom to forage and gather what turns in to milk and then i collect it.  If those goats eat what was intended for them then that milk is so nutritious and good.  They spend all day eating and converting that forage that we cannot make use of in to milk.  Then i manage that milk in a controlled manner to change it to cheese by some old ways again.  Grass and the other plants they eat do not taste good to me, but chèvre does!

I don’t want to give the idea that i always go relaxing up in the little wild patches of lopez on a daily basis.  For the most part i move electric fence out in our 35 acre pasture, fuss with this or that to fix or build and feed hay in the winter, but i would like to move with the goats more.  I gain such clarity, aside from my allergies, when i go.  I have joked about taking my laptop to do some office work, off-line.

Well, please come out to see us at the saturday Farmer’s Market. We are talking about a wednesday market too, which we thought would appeal to locals wanting a more peaceful shopping scene.   Maybe you’ll get some chèvre that was from milk made from snow berry leaves, which i guess is essentially sunlight.

Off island trip to Edaleen Dairy and St. John Creamery

Marcia St. John and i have wanted to learn how to do our own, on-farm testing of our raw milk before sale, not just wait for the state to do it once a month. She got us an appointment with Edaleen Dairy(a large processor, kinda like dairy gold)where we could watch them test their milk in a lab.  This turned out be a very quick and simple process, which i knew, but i just had to see all the parts in the physical and ask a few questions.

The WSDA tests our milk once a month for overall coliforms, somatic cells, antibiotic and  other drug residues, and of course the pathogens.  I never thought i would say this, but i’m happy there is going to be a food lab here on lopez because i can use it.  I’ll need an incubator and some growth squares and then i can be extra sure the milk we are sending out is clean.

After the visit up in Bellingham i asked Marcia if i could come down and see her farm, St John Creamery in Lake Stevens.  She and i talked goats and natural remedies to some of the goat health issues we all have to deal with from time to time.  So i pushed back my ferry reservation(which i ended up missing), went to see her herd of 100+ Oberhasli goats and ended up buying two 4 day old doelings for our 2017 milkers.  They are so sweet, the breed that is.  Very mellow.  We have Alpines, and they are a rough bunch.  I told Marcia i might phase out of Alpines in to Oberhaslis.

Kidding Season

April has been an exciting month for us on the farm!  Besides 21 new baby goat kids, we welcome our new baby girl, Ada LeClair Entermann.  The milk is beginning to flow and the second batch of chevre is in the vat.

Here are a couple of events where you will be able to purchase our cheese:

-The Little Spring Market at Sunnyfield Farm:  Saturday, April 25 from 10 am – 1 pm (Yes, this is the same day as Tour de Lopez)

-The Lamb, Wool and Goat Festival: Saturday, May 9 from 10 am – 3 pm at Lopez Island Center for Community and the Arts.

If you want to get raw milk this season, please contact us by calling 360-468-2764.