It has been my lifelong dream to live and work on a piece of land in New England with my sister. We grew up in the woods outside of Keene, NH where we spent our days frolicking in the stream beside our parents’ large vegetable garden. As we grew older our paths diverged, taking me to New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Boulder to pursue a career as a professional chef and food writer while Katie trained and worked as a wildlife biologist in locales spaning from the North Slope of Alaska to the Big Island of Hawaii to the rocky coast of New Brunswick. I always knew we would both someday wind up back in New England though, and owing to a collective passion for skiing and snowboarding, we and and our partners were drawn again and again to Stowe. A dream come true, my husband and I purchased Sage Farm in 2007.
I had spent the previous two years in Boulder working at Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy where I fell in love with goats and began learning the art of cheese making. Although still cooking and writing about food, I soon became so enchanted with taking care of goats and making cheese that I began making plans to start a small goat dairy of my own. Although she was at work on a Master’s degree in conservation science, I knew it wouldn’t take much arm-twisting to get Katie on board. My husband, Dave, agreed to go along with this ambitious undertaking as well, even though our first child was on the way.
Sage Farm was previously a sheep farm, so we already had a place to put our animals and a sizable acreage of established pasture land. With the help of our dad, an experienced builder, we embarked on the daunting task of building our cheese making facility, a project that required a lot of hard labor and a good amount of ingenuity. We converted an old chicken coop into our milking parlor and built an addition onto to the barn’s garage to house the milk room, cheese room, and aging room.
Sage Farm is very much a family farm. Our two houses are located on either side of the milking barn. We try to divvy up the work load; I perform most of the cheese making and aging and Katie manages the goats and the pastures. Dave keeps the books and enjoys tractor work, ranging from compost management to hauling firewood. Bob's endeavors include maple syrup production, cider-making, and keeping us all in a good sense of humor. We all pitch in selling and marketing our products. We juggle a number of off-farm jobs as well. Dave works on the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol and Bob cooks professionally in the village of Stowe.
We are also raising two human children on the farm. Juliette was not even 6 months old when we purchased our first goats from Lazy Lady Farm in the spring of 2008. She has been at home in the goat barn since before she took her first steps. Soren was born amid the final throes of cheese room construction in May of 2009. I made our very first batches of cheese with a weeks-old Soren snuggled into a basket on the floor of the new cheese room. Now that the children are older, they have begun to help with goat midwifery and kid feeding, cleaning chores, and simple tasks in the cheese room. We look forward to the days when they are old enough to take even more active roles in farm work and until then, we are happy watching them grow up amid the busyness of a working dairy.
Thank you for your interest in our livelihood,