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
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/
for more information about classes and their