Thursday, March 15, 2012

From One Island to Another

Here it is - the first blog post of the year, and the first of many about my latest adventure!

Back in high school, each of the graduating students had to submit a paragraph about our plans to be run in the Vashon Beachcomber. I don't have it in front of me now, but it went something like this: I love cooking and making cheese, I will be attending the Culinary Institute of America, and in ten years from now I hope to be a private chef on a tropical island (yeah right) .... Not five years later and I've already attained half of my bogus future! I'm living and working on a tropical island ... but making cheese!

Three weeks ago I arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii on a one way ticket and the promise of gaining cheese making and dairy experience as the new intern at Hawaii Island Goat Dairy. I couldn't have picked a better place - the people here are unbelievably nice, the cheese delicious, and the goats' kicks aren't too painful. I only have a couple bruises...

The dairy is located just above the tiny town of Honokaa at 2000 feet. Looking north on a sunny day, you can see the ocean and Haleakala, Maui's towering volcano. South is up - to the top of Mauna Kea (13,796 ft), which at this time of year has a good bit of snow at the top. This ten acre property was formerly a macadamia farm, but harvesting the nuts proved too labor intensive. And I don't blame them - more on that later!

Over the past eleven years, the herd has grown to about 100 - with more babies on the way. Only a third are currently being milked, but within the next month that should double as thirty does kid and come into milk. And good thing too, since Dick can barely keep up with orders for his signature Big Island Goat Cheese.

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