A local farmer is producing goat cheese right here in Digby County.
Virginia Smith of Weymouth Falls officially opened Hug you’re your Nanny Goat Cheese this July and now sells her products at the farm, farmers markets and grocery stores.
“I love making cheese,” says Smith. “There’s so much to learn and experiment with—a combination of science and food. And I just love the goats.”
Smith admits a lot of local people turn up their noses at the idea of goat cheese.
“So many people have never had fresh dairy products,” says Smith. “They just don’t know how good it is. But when they try it, they can’t believe how good it is.”
Smith is always experimenting with new cheeses but right now she has four main types.
Fundy Feta, herbed with oregano, is loyal to its Greek origins but with a local twist: it’s made with dulse and sea salt.
Even more local, she makes an Acadian salted onion and cream. She learned to make the traditional salted shallots from a video by Paul Comeau of Chez Christophe.
“It’s made from local ingredients and with local tradition,” says Smith. “It makes me feel good to produce such a quality local food for the people here in this area. It’s a high end food with local origins—it’s perfect.”
She also makes a lavender cracked pepper and a garlic chive.
Smith makes the cheese and keeps the goats on Ironsmith Farm, a small property she bought about 11 years ago; eight years ago she got her first two goats.
She ended up with way more milk than she could drink so she started making cheese. Her friends told her it was too good to not share.
Two years ago she got serious and put together a five-year business plan.
With help from the CBDC and ACOA she has built a goat barn and milking parlour and a cheese plant and store.
The cheese plant was inspected and certified this July, giving Smith the licence to produce soft spreadable goat cheese.
This year she left her career teaching English and French and went into the goat business full time.
Now she’s milking 45 does and hopes to have 75 producing milk next year.
The plan is to eventually have 100 does producing, but before that happens, she’ll have to clear more land and build more barns.
For know she and Dirk are busy enough keeping up with the milking and making cheese.
Hug Your Nanny products are available at Foodland in Weymouth and Saulnierville and Comeau’s Farm Market.
Smith also regularly attends farm markets in Yarmouth and Wolfville.
They also welcome visitors at the farm in Weymouth Falls.
“The goats are an attraction themselves,” says Smith. “They have such a sense of humour and are so playful. But I also like showing people where their food comes from.”