Donna is diversifying her vegetable and meat/milk goat farm by producing goat cheese. She is purchasing a 12′ x 16′ building to turn into a certified kitchen and is equipping the kitchen per N.C. Department of Agriculture requirements. Purchases include an automated milking machine and additional equipment for making larger batches of cheese. She expects to produce 40 units per month by the end of 2012 and 112 units per week by 2013.
Donna markets to local restaurants and at local farmers markets (Hayesville, Murphy, Blairsville) and the International Farmers Market in Atlanta, GA.
Other possible farm diversification projects include: selling colostrum and wethers (goats), and offering a breeding service. Donna plans to open her kitchen to the public, as currently no certified kitchen for public use exists in the county.
“This project is a dream that I wanted to do for over 20 years, but just couldn’t make it happen,” Donna said. “I probably wouldn’t have done it—or at least not like I wanted to do it—without the grant.”