Red Roof Farmstead
May 1, 2017
Noble St. Sauver of Red Roof Farmstead in Athol, ID produces and sells a delightful assortment of cheeses made from raw, unpasteurized goat’s milk. A visit to her farm on a brisk spring evening provided the opportunity to meet Noble and her goats, along with a menagerie of dogs, cats, ducks and geese. Noble combines business smarts with a clear love for her animals and for her job as goat farmer and cheese producer.
Noble, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up on a cattle ranch and have always been around animals. In fact, I am a fourth generation farmer. After graduating from college I spent time in Seattle but quickly found that I am not a big city person. I moved back to Idaho and got married and my husband and I bought this ranch. There has always been something about goats that I loved, so I purchased some Nigerian Dwarf goats and later I switched over to Lamancha goats. I began selling goat’s milk and then got into making cheese such as Garlic & Italian Herb Chevre and Feta. I have been in business for four years.
Where can your cheese be found?
Pilgrims Market, Winter Ridge Natural Foods in Sandpoint, Heritage Meats & More in Hayden, and the Moscow Food Co-op. Winter Ridge also has my goat’s milk for sale. In addition to the cheese and milk, I sell eggs from my ducks and geese.
What are some fun facts about goats?
A lot of people who are lactose intolerant to cow dairy can have goat dairy. This is because there are different strains of lactose and different strains of casein in goat’s milk versus milk from a cow. So people who can’t drink cow’s milk can often have goat’s milk. Another fact about goats is that they are very intelligent, and they can also be very stubborn. Also, a common misperception about goats is that they will eat anything. This is definitely not true. Goats will often explore their environment by nibbling on things, but they are actually very picky eaters.
What do you feed your goats?
Goats are fed second cutting alfalfa, non GMO grain mix, thorvin kelp and non GMO sunflower seeds. They do get to browse a lot but you have to be careful about that because it changes the flavor of the cheese drastically. The cheese has a lot to do with the diet and the way the milk is handled.
Where do you find the most happiness in what you do? The goats. I enjoy making cheese and I really enjoy coming up with new flavors, but if I didn’t love the animals it would not be worth all of the work. There is a huge difference between the time spent with ranch animals and dairy animals. Working with dairy animals is very time intensive, but I love it.
What is the toughest thing about what you do?
Death. It is not all sunshine and roses. Death happens sometimes on a farm and it is hard under any circumstance. It is an emotional thing. I love my goats. The goats have made me grow as a person and I am thankful for that. They are amazing.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
I will eventually phase out the sale of the goat’s milk to focus more on developing new flavors of cheese. I don’t see myself getting much bigger in terms of number of animals. Twenty goats is plenty for me. I don’t want to have a herd where my goats are numbers and I have to hire someone to do my milking. I want to be out there with my goats. I want to keep my current standard where I have good quality products that are coming from good healthy animals.