Blue House Goats is a nano-dairy in the outskirts of Lowick. Their farm is home to a small herd of Anglo-Nubian goats. Anglo-Nubian goats milk has a high butterfat and protein content and is ideal for cheese and yoghurt making. They also can produce milk throughout the year.
The goats at Blue House were very friendly and curious and enjoyed being petted. They are gentle, social creatures, I could’ve taken one home!
Blue House Goats story goes back almost 30 years to the island of Orkney. Whilst there, they obtained some goats, at first Angora and Cashmere goats, which was popular amongst Orcadians at the time. Orkney was to make a name for itself in the silver-making and goat mohair businesses. However, when governments changed, the subsidies local people enjoyed disappeared.
Later, another breed of goat was added to the farm, Anglo-Nubian. They began milking these goats for their own consumption. However, word spread and soon there were visitors enquiring after goats milk products. These visitors included local schools and the local doctor. The local doctor suggested expanding milk production to supply the island with an alternative for his patients who were suffering from various allergies such as eczema, hayfever and IBS symptoms.
Goat’s milk products offer an alternative to cow’s milk. However, it is not a substitute for those suffering from a bovine milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance.
How did your business begin? Can you tell us your history/origin story?
Asked to attend the Berwick food festival with two goat kids, we brought some cheese to show what you can do with the milk. The aim was to sell the kids. A friend looked after the stall while we did a simple cheese-making demonstration. Our friend refused to sell cheese as it was only for tasting. Most people wanted to buy the cheese and asked why we were not selling it. At the time we did not have the land or housing to increase the herd. A few days later our neighbour offered a Byre and land to rent, so we took the plunge. Had I known in advance, the bureaucracy involved, we would not have started.
What values are at the heart of your business?
To supply goats cheese and yogurt for people with allergies to cows milk and products. We supply to village shops locally. You should be able to buy quality food at a reasonable price without a trip to a huge supermarket. The village shop is the centre of village life, without it communities would suffer especially in extreme weather events. The future prospect for supermarkets is online shopping with home delivery. Village shops will fill the void if they can remain viable long enough for the change.
Customers that have to switch from cows milk products, need similar products to assist in the change. We aim for that market, not the connoisseur.
What does your product range include?
Our products include:
- Yogurt: Greek style with no additives
- Garlic cheeses: in pepper and in oatmeal (Orkney paupers cheese)
- Settled cheese: a Coulommier type of cheese but with goats milk
- Hard Pressed cheese: similar to a Cheshire
- Honey Smoked Hard Pressed: a sweet and sour cheese
- Crofters: a full-fat cheese rolled in oatmeal and pepper
- Soft Plain: in a tub similar to Philadelphia
Where can people buy your products?
We supply one shop per town or village.
- Alnwick: Grannies Tea Rooms
- Berwick: The Green Shop
- Belford: Sunnyhill farm shop
- Cornhill: Village shop
- Ford and Etal: Lavender Tea Rooms, Ford Post office (summers only)
- Kelso: Kelso Wholefood shop
- Lowick: Lowick Village store
- Morebattle: Morebattle village shop
- Rothbury: Tully’s of Rothbury
We also attend some local food festivals throughout the year and farmer’s markets including:
- Farmers Markets: Kelso Farmer’s market, (last Saturday of the month (normally)
- Wooler Farmer’s market ( last Sunday of the month)
How can your customers enjoy your product at its best?
Keep refrigerated, and remove from the packaging. Keep the cheese in greaseproof paper so it can breathe. Cheese is alive and will mature.
How are you involved in the local food/drink producer community?
We are on our own, we are not part of a retail or producer community.
Blue House Goats is surrounded by beautiful, including this one of the Cheviot Hills
How does your location influence your business and product range?
The grazing and the environment gives a unique flavour to the milk. Other goat producers may have similar products but vary in taste. We only produce what we can, with the milk available, we do not buy in any milk. The range we produce is limited to the milk supply.
Why do you think people should shop locally?
With no big cities in the area and an increase in population, only local shops and producers can guarantee food supplies in extreme conditions. The local shops have been the heart of the community for years. They are an outlet for small producers that can not supply mega supermarket supply chains.
Local shops can display food, answer queries, and assist the public to make a sustainable purchase.
What is your favourite local food or drink?
How could foodful help promote your business?
Foodful can help promote the ethos of small local producers and the necessity of small producers for food security and customer choice. Most local producers live in the community they serve distributing wealth locally.
Hat-Tip to the Producers
Many thanks to Derek and Kathy at Blue House Goats. I visited the farm on Monday 15th October and got some great snaps of the goats and the surrounding views.
If you have any questions for Blue House Goats, let us know.