WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - It's hard to be the first at anything, and when you add in federal and state regulators it gets tougher.
Despite the odds, a Washington County, Virginia farmer is working towards being the first farm in Virginia to bottle and commercially sell goat milk.
Every animal on the Baker Homestead farm has a name and a job, especially a herd of goats in the back pasture -- they produce the milk for the certified Grade "A" goat dairy.
The family has been selling goat cheese at local businesses and farmers' markets since 2010, but now they want to take things to another level. "We're going to bottle and commercially sell goat milk," says Blake Baker.
The trouble is they will be the first to do so in Virginia, and that has presented some issues for the regulators. "When we started talking goat milk they said, 'I don't know anything about the goat milk. I'm going to have to do some digging on that.' Then we found out there wasn't one in the state," Baker said.
So they're setting the standard for all those who may decide to do this in future. "There are a whole lot of things that have to be in place for a standard. So for goat milk there was not a standard. We've been having to be the ones who jump through all the hoops to provide that standard for the state," he says.
Just about all the equipment is in place; they're just waiting to get their bottling equipment, and of course, all of the certification. "It will be worth doing. There's something to be said for being the first. That's quite a little feather we can stick in the cap, being a little mom and pop micro-dairy in Abingdon, Virginia, the Baker Homestead, the first goat bottling facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia," Baker concluded.
A pride that even trickles down to those hard working ladies out in the field.