Beyond the spot where the tree branches arch the dirt path, past the handmade parking sign on the nameless road, was a wide open space anchored by a red barn. It was the only reassurance during our 38-mile trip that we had indeed found 2 Kids Goat Farm on Sunday. Goat Fest brought us, and dozens of others, to the goat farm located on the edge of Highland Forest in Cuyler.
Goat Fest 2015 served a number of purposes for 2 Kids. It brought people to their farm in the southeast corner of Onondaga County (Or maybe the northeast corner of Cortland County. Though it could have been the southwest corner of Madison County. Who can be sure?) to check out the farm’s chevre and goat milk-based soaps and lotions. It allowed kids of the human kind to get up close and personal with kids of the goat variety. Where Goatfest may have been most successful is as a showcase for the friends and partners of 2 Kids. Green Planet Grocery, Vinomania, and Side Hill Farmers — stores that stock the farm’s products — were there as were fellow farmer’s market stalwarts Zimmer Bakes and Thousand Islands Winery. Neighbors Drover Hill Farm (Earlville), Critz Farms (Cazenovia), Half-Moon Bakery (Jamesville) and Main Street Farms (Homer) turned out, as well as far-away purveyors Jacob The Beekeeper (West Monroe) and Local 315 Brewery (Camillus).
While The Kid (our kid) fed the kids (goats) cups of feed, The Wife and I nibbled on brisket from Side Hill and samples of the farm’s cheese. Once she finished her lunch, The Kid split a milkshake from the Eastern Valley 4-H with The Wife.
The story of 2 Kids Goat Farm is not far off from some of the other businesses that were there on Sunday. Barry and Amy Sperat’s home and farm sit on 20+ acres of land between Toggenburg and Highland Forest. By training, Barry worked in the construction industry and Amy in the dental field. They had always wanted to own a farm and got closer to that reality after he lost his job during The Great Recession. They bought a few goats — Nigerian dwarf and Nubian — as pets to keep on their land. That led to milking, which led to cheesemaking for themselves and their friends.
Word of mouth does strange things, namely earn you more friends looking to get their hands on your cheese. The Sperats went from selling enough cheese to cover the cost of goat feed to forming their own business and becoming regular stars on the local farmer’s markets circuit (For brevity, I’m going to skip the New York State certification process, revamped barn, and other technical stuff that tests the mettle of a business owner.) What sets them apart, aside from a high-quality range of goat-milk chevre and cow’s milk cheeses, is 2 Kids’ line of natural soaps and lotions.
Amy takes the lead on the personal care products, which utilizes milk from the farm and is preferred by people with sensitive skin or other skin maladies. Goat’s milk has a more gentle pH level than most commercial sensitive soaps (I was looking for something authoritative on the topic, but this, this and this were the best I could do.). The Wife grabbed some product, as well as some halloumi and chevre, while I was doling out dollar bills for goat feed.
We skipped the hiking trail (Hiking, yeah, that’s funny), loaded up on gluten-free cookies from Zimmer Bakes (She calls them Cheat Free. They’re vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.), and made our way back home.
I’m going to be honest with you: I’m not the type to pack up the family truckster and drive 30 miles to walk around a farm (Okay, so sometimes I will.), but the Sperats have something special going on in Cuyler. Agritourism is about learning where our food comes from and how America’s largest industry operates. When you can make it fun for the kids and the parents, you have a pretty good event. When you have good product and the support of your community, you know you are doing something right.
2 Kids Goat Farm is located in Cuyler, N.Y. For more information about their products visit their website, Facebook page, or call 315-447-3364. Their products are available at Green Planet Grocery stores in Central New York, Side Hill Farmers in Manlius, and the farmer’s markets in Downtown Syracuse, Baldwinsville, Fayetteville, and De Ruyter.