PUBLISHED: 11:42 10 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:14 20 February 2013
DOES the very thought of goats milk just put you off? Maybe you've tried it in the past and it smelt distinctly 'goaty', writes Stephanie Mackentyre...
DOES the very thought of goats milk just put you off? Maybe you've tried it in the past and it smelt distinctly 'goaty', writes Stephanie Mackentyre.
When Sally Kirk insisted I try some from the Springstep Dairy that she owns with her husband, Bob, these were the thoughts going through my head. But Sally is determined to show customers that proper goats milk shouldn't have any taint whatsoever - and she's right.
The milk was fresh, creamy and there was not a hint of goat. Originally owners of a prize-winning dairy heard of Holsteins, Sally and Bob know their stuff. 'We would be closed down instantly if the cows milk had any sort of odd flavour and we use the same high standards now in the production of our goats milk,' Sally explains. Some goats milk products travel many miles and then get mixed with other types of goats milk before they hit the supermarket shelves and this, Sally believes, is what causes the goatiness flavour in some.
The couple proudly show me around the 13-acre arable farm and the 750 goats. British Saanen, Toggenburg and Alpines live in a huge airy barn covered in fresh straw, which vets advise is the perfect environment for goats as their feet can be sensitive to infections if left to roam outside.
'We love our goats and take their welfare very seriously,' Bob explains. It's a very serene experience, the goats are so pleased to see us they joyfully run, jump and chase around while some are nuzzled into each other dozing happily. There's even baby goats to coo over while we walk around with Murphy, the working collie whose job it is to keep them all safe.
Visitors are made very welcome, all are invited to visit the goats and the views around the farmland are simply stunning. The farm itself takes a little finding, just outside Maldon in the village of Mundon, but its well worth it when you arrive. There are no bells and whistles, it is after all a proper working farm, but the shop stocks a great selection of cheeses, yoghurts, ice cream, cream and of course milk - whole, semi and skimmed.
If you need a large order it's best to phone them the day before, they supply many of the restaurants throughout Essex and also supply Dairy Crest right across East Anglia.
They are open seven days a week, but ask visitors to avoid coming after 4.30pm each day as that's when the mammoth task of milking begins. Sally also does talks for ladies groups on the premises which include some hilarious anecdotes and conclude with ice cream for everyone.
As more people, it seems, are becoming sensitive to cows milk, goats milk is recognised as a nutritionally superior alternative to soya and other substitutes.
Mundon Hall, Vicarage Lane,