We’ve been to all sorts of farms on this trip but thought it was time we found out what goat farming was all about, which was how we found ourselves at Gill and Martin McManoman’s farm near Preston, meeting some very entertaining goats and hearing about Gill and Martin’s growing business, Capra Products.
They started breeding and rearing goats as a hobby some 20 years ago and now have a herd of between 150 and 200 (mostly Anglo-Nubians). All their animals are naturally raised and no chemicals are used on their pastures.
Capra, which means goat in a number of languages, now offers a complete range of goat products, which they sell locally at farmers markets and shows.
As well as selling a delicious range of goat’s cheese (such as cream cheese with lime & ginger, orange & honey or jalapeno pepper & paprika, curd cheese with armagnac, hard-pressed cheeses and an award-winning herb & garlic log roll), Gill also spins and knits hats, scarves and jumpers from the wool. More importantly, however, they are also one of the UK’s few producers of goat meat (selling sausages, burgers, joints, mince, small chops and diced meat) and are keen to extol its virtues.
Despite the popularity of goat’s cheese in the UK, the meat is rarely eaten here and, for the average shopper, it can be difficult to track down. Funnily enough, goat is thought to make up 80% of world meat consumption, and is extemely popular in Greece, Portugal, Spain and the Carribean.
So what have we got against it over here?
We asked a few of our friends and most of the answers seemed to revolve around the fact that they sometimes look a bit scrawny and that they are thought of as pets – not strong arguments, we think you’ll agree!
On the other hand, the benefits of eating goat meat are many. It is naturally low in cholesterol and saturated fat, so is a great option for meateaters wishing to watch their weight. In fact, ounce for ounce, it has less fat than chicken and about the same amount of calories. It is also a great source of iron and B vitamins.
But what does it taste like? Apparently, it is quite a tender meat, sometimes described as being similar to lamb or beef, but slightly more gamey. We got to try some of Gill’s burgers and sausages and they were simply delicious!
To be fair, most of us would probably be more willing to try goat meat if it was more readily available. Word is slowly beginning to spread though, and it is beginning to become fashionable in some London gastro pubs and restaurants. Even Janet Street Porter was talking about it on The F Word:
For any enquiries or further information, contact either Gill or Martin on 01772 784 881 or 07923 446148. Alternatively, you can visit their website.