Coonridge Dairy raises organic, free-range goats naturally with no fences

Sunday, April 27, 2014 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
Tags: Coonridge Dairy, organic food, free-range goats

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(NaturalNews) Nestled in the "wilds of New Mexico," the Coonridge Dairy Farm is a self-sustaining paradise, providing world-renowned organic goat's milk and cheeses. Owners Paul and Nancy Coonridge provide the ultimate experience for their free-range goats -- no fences, no boundaries -- just pure freedom.

Their 50 free-range goats graze upon 300 acres of desert land and beyond, trotting openly through the rimrock country of western New Mexico. With practically no limits, the goats at Coonridge are free and healthy, grazing on wild, nutritious vegetation while protected by a pack of Maremma guardian dogs.

"When we say our goats are 'free range' we do not mean they have a pasture, however large. We mean there are no fences and no human neighbors for miles and miles," Nancy Coonridge explains.

The Coonridge organic dairy farm is a family life passion

If food were measured by the type of spiritual energy it provides, then organic goat cheese and milk from Coonridge would abound with positivity, feeding the soul with freedom.

The Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese Dairy perches at 8,000 feet elevation and is two hours away from its own mailbox. The Coonridge family collects their own rainwater from the roof of their house, and they harness electricity from solar panels. They are more than self-sustaining; they are producers -- serving the world fine, organic goat's milk and cheeses.

And raising goats is Nancy Coonridge's life passion. At 19 years old, she realized, "I had to get a goat."

Working with several dairy goat cheese co-ops in California back in the '70s, she learned how to make her own goat cheese under the instruction of knowledgeable Mediterranean-trained cheese maestros. Following her passion, she and her husband purchased 40 remote acres in the New Mexico wilds that eventually expanded to 300.

Since then, the Coonridge herd has expanded to 50 various breeds of dairy goat, including Nubian, La Mancha, Alpine and Oberhasli. The goats are protected by a pack of Maremma guard dogs, which were bred in the Italian Alps for thousands of years to take out wolves. In New Mexico, the dogs watch out for mountain lions, bears and coyotes.

Goats roam freely but return each night using homing instinct

After long day trips into the unknown, instinctively, the goats return to the barn each night.
"Goats are homebodies and have a real homing instinct," says Coonridge.

The milk produced by these goats is beyond organic. Since the goats roam freely throughout the countryside, they eat all kinds of nutritious herbs like nettles, thistles and dandelions. The goats' milk is second to none, producing high nutrition, fat and protein content. Grain is never used to feed the goats, as this upsets their digestive system. In challenging times, they are fed organic alfalfa hay.

There are no antibiotics, no chemical wormers and no hormones in the blood of these goats. The Coonridge family goes out of their way to ensure organic standards. In 1998, Coonridge Dairy was officially recognized as organic. On top of that, everything is natural about the farm, from its energy production to its traditional long-set method of cheese making.

Coonridge farm to begin offering cheese making classes, provides their organic cheese for sale online

Coonridge produces a soft-spreading cheese, covered in organic sunflower seed oil and herbs such as garlic, basil and green chile, and they distribute the delicacy in glass jars.

"Watching that alchemy, that transformation of milk into curd into cheese is wonderful," said Coonridge.

The organic cheese blends and goat's milk aren't just reserved for the farm. The Coonridge family ships the product to a food hub distribution center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Coonridge also offers their product to co-op grocers and even sells at festivals and farmers markets.

The cheese is even offered online.

Nancy Coonridge is excited about the future. "There's a real sense of place here," she said. "It's the culmination of so many different things coming together: the goats, the cheese, living in harmony with nature. For me personally, I can't think of anything else that would be as deeply satisfying."

In cooperation with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, Nancy and her husband, Paul Owen, have noticed a growing interest in the art of cheese making. The Coonridge family is currently expanding their operation of five to offer classes as they share their service with the rest of the world.

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