Cheese lovers gathered at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library on Saturday morning to learn how to make their own from goat milk.
Dawn Mathews, owner of The Thankful Goat, led the class. Her farm is in Lenoir, and she has owned goats and other animals since 2009.
During the class, participants learned how to make three types of cheese: Chevre, brie, and mozzarella. Since some of the cheeses take days to make, Mathews walked everyone through the process of making each type and had samples for them to try.
As she taught the class, Mathews described her journey in farm life so far. “My husband bought me a goat because I wanted to milk a goat and make fine cheeses,” she explained. The first goat the family had was named Athena.
“But the goat got in a laurel bush, so we had to give her an antitoxin shot and it made the milk undrinkable for two weeks,” Mathews said. She added that laurel bushes are toxic to goats.
During that two-week period, Mathews decided to try her hand at soap-making since she was unable to make cheese from Athena’s milk. “I didn’t really want to make soap, but we just thought we’d see how it would turn out,” Mathews said.
Mathews’ goat soap was a success and led her to create a brand of goat milk products, including soap, lotion, sugar scrubs and more. The brand is now known as The Thankful Goat.
Mathews plans to teach classes from time to time at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library about her experiences in farming. To participate in her next class and stay up-to-date on other programming at the library, visit www.hickorync.gov/library.
Emily Willis is a general assignment and education reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.