Rebecca and Keith Whiting operate Dirty Goat Farm in northeast Columbia. Their original plan was, after leaving the Army, to move to the Midwest and operate a hobby farm while going to college. Life intervened in these plans, and so they decided to stay in Columbia and farm instead.
In the space of a year or so, the family, with five children and one on the way, went from ordinary suburban life to having numerous chickens and rabbits, several ducks, and some goats. They started farming to be able to provide their family with homegrown meat and eggs at a cheaper price than in stores and to earn some money to supplement their income. Some members of the family have food sensitivities and tolerate goat’s milk better than cow’s milk. To avoid paying the high price of commercially produced goat’s milk they got their own goat.
They milk Carrie, a Nubian goat, twice a day, and the family enjoys the rich milk as an addition to many of their baked goods. Carrie, as well as the children, seem to think she’s an overgrown dog; she seeks and tolerates the affection of five small children. They have also made goat cheese, and are experimenting with ways to use the goat milk in other products.
The family found out that the expression “breeding like rabbits” has its basis in truth: they started out with two rabbits, and within a month, the two rabbits had a litter of rabbits, and within another month that litter had more rabbits. Now they keep the males and females segregated. Some rabbits are designated as pets for the family’s children, but they sell or eat the others.
At the All Local Farmer’s Market http://www.stateplate.org/ on Saturday mornings in downtown Columbia, the Whitings sell homemade laundry products and cleaners, tie-dyed shirts, and eggs from the flock of chickens that roam their yard. They also offer classes on gardening, preserving food, sewing, and making soap. Find them on Facebook, visit Dirty Goat Farm’s blog at http://www.dirtygoatfarm.com/ , or call 803.865-7023 for more information about classes and their products.