The Gothberg family raises Animal Welfare Approved LaMancha goats and uses their milk to make fresh and aged goat cheeses and yogurt. They were the first dairy in the state to receive AWA certification. The Gothbergs purchased the 40 acre long-closed cow dairy in 2001. When husband Roy asked Rhonda what she needed 40 acres for, her Texan self, replied, “It’s a good start,” clearly having no idea what she was going to do with it. The farm has views of Mount Baker, Chuckanut Mountain, the San Juan Islands and, on a clear day, the Olympic Mountains and the Canadian Coastal—not a bad view for garden work in Rhonda’s opinion. They began by making the home livable once again and establishing a vegetable garden.
The family purchased their first goats in 2002, and although they originally bought the first doe and kid simply to provide milk for the family, Rhonda couldn’t stop there! The herd continued to grow each year and the Gothbergs have been making cheese ever since. After just over two years of home kitchen cheese creations, Rhonda signed up for a Cheesemakers Short Course at Washington State University and she spent the next 2 years learning from the goats, the land and how to make cheeses in the home kitchen. A new career in professional cheese making began in earnest. In 2004, the family built a new milking area, milk storage room and cheese room, achieving Grade A Goat Dairy status and Cheese Producer licenses later that summer.
Today, Gothberg Farms produces over 30 different raw and pasteurized cheeses—including chevre, feta, gouda, caerphilly, parmesan and cheddar—and goat milk yogurt. All products are entirely handcrafted on the farm from start to finish and several of the cheeses are pure farm originals with names like Woman of LaMancha, Buck’s Brew and Chi-Chock Cheddar. “It is still magic to me every time the milk turns to curd!” says Rhonda. “I love the entire process, from goats, to kidding, to milking and cheese making.”
The goats at Gothberg Farms always have access to the farm’s pastures. The farm produces all the grass hay they need, totally herbicide and pesticide free, plus Washington-grown alfalfa and a special custom grain mix that ensures Gothberg Farms’ goats have a great life and produce the healthiest, highest quality milk. Rhonda’s 30+ years of professional practice as an RN comes in handy with the goats and preventative health care is the focus of their operation. Antibiotics are rarely used and only to save an animal’s life, and the goats are never given hormones of any kind. The LaMancha breed was chosen for its exceptional milk quality with excellent fat and protein content.
Gothberg Farms farmstead goat cheeses are available at restaurants, retail locations and farmers’ markets throughout Western Washington. To learn more about Gothberg Farms, including how cheese is produced, where to buy it and more, visit gothbergfarms.com, or contact Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-202-2436.