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You say cabrito, I say Where did you come from anyway?

I recently took 2 goats to Leona Meats in PA for custom processing. In all the years I have raised goats, most of them raising meat goats, it never once occurred to me to offer goat meat to my customers. At the time I had sold my buck kids en masse to be transported down state and sold in ethnic markets.

Goat meat in our country has always been associated with ethnicities, whether it is Halaal meat and the customs surrounding it as well as Mexican, Caribbean and Greek cooking. The fact is the United States is the only country who does not regularly consume goat meat. Goats have been proven to be the first domesticated animal and humans have used them for dairy, fiber and meat for tens of thousands of years.

“The top three ethnic groups in goat meat consumption are Muslims, people from the Caribbean, and Hispanics. The metropolitan areas which contain the greatest number of immigrants are New York, Washington/Baltimore, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.” It makes me wonder why goat meat never crossed the palette of the general American public. One theory was explained to me by Mike at Leona Meats. It was his thought that many WWII vets, having been served old mutton when in Europe, came home espousing the idea of eating sheep or goat. That distaste was perpetuated by their children as they had never been accustomed to these meats.

In fact goat meat is healthy for you. Meat from goats is low in fat. A 100-gram (3 1/2 ounces) serving of cooked, roasted meat contains: 143 calories; 27 grams protein; 3 grams fat; 3.7 milligrams iron; 86 milligrams sodium; and 75 milligrams cholesterol. Goat meat is considered a red meat.

I was first approached last month by a co-worker hailing from Texas. Down there it is a day-to-day occurrence to have a goat roast or other goat cuts as an every day meal. But coming to NY he discovered goat meat was hard to find. Because of him I polled my weekly egg customers for their interest in goat meat and received a HUGE response. Who knew? My customer base could not be considered overwhelmingly “ethnic” as described above, but certainly diverse in their backgrounds and regions from which they come from. And some were mainly curious about how goat meat tasted.

I read article after article that encourages the goat farmer to pursue specialty markets, that the ethnic population of the United States is growing and the demand for goat meat will follow. I think producers need to think of another surge that is happening in our country today: the interest in local and specialty food especially when produced by someone they know. I don’t believe that any of my customers who bought goat meat because they were curious would have done so had they found the cuts on a shelf at Wegmans. But because they were familiar with our farm and our products, it could be they were more willing to step out of their comfort zone of the usual beef, pork and chicken to try something new. I have yet to hear back from them, by the way, on what their experiences were like. When I do I will report back.

The goats I sent were 2 bucks, boer/saanen crosses who were 5 months of age. I received about 45 pounds of meat back, most of which in curry cuts. There was a surprising number of loin chops. I also received leg roasts, ground meat and stew meat.

My goats are busy this month as it is breeding season. You can be sure that in another year I will be offering more goat meat for sale to my customers.

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Posted in Goats.

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