How many trees does it take to produce a litre of milk?

by | September 14 | 2015

So, it turns out that it’s one thing to think it would be quite nice to milk some of your goats and make a bit of cheese, but it’s quite another to do it! I can tell you why just about every restaurateur you talk to in New Zealand will say “Oh, it’d be amazing to have a good local source of fresh goat cheese…”. The short answer is: because producing a good, local, commercial goat cheese is bloody hard work, requiring many fences to be jumped over (preferably not by the goats), procedures implemented, paperwork completed, milking sheds set up, commercial premises built, goats bred, kids fed, goats milked… Oh, yes, that’s still the short answer!

You would think the most important thing to consider when setting up your boutique, artisan, farmhouse (insert other appropriate adjective here) cheesery, would be your goats. Well, not according to Food Safety NZ (NZFSA). Apparently it’s also quite important not to make anyone hideously ill (or worse). And so the paperwork war begins. Like any involvement with government agencies you soon become proficient in the use of more acronyms than seems possible. You will become conversant with the APA, operate under an RMP, implement a FSP, GOP, HACCP, and any number of TLAs. Your most riveting bedtime reading will relate to your QCP and CCPs. These letters will trip off your tongue to all those around you, and before you know it, your friends will have run screaming for the hills and all you are left with are your precious goats, your long-suffering husband and your own kids (of the human variety, you know, the ones you gave birth to).  You will comply with standards for harvesting milk, manufacturing dairy products, selling dairy products, transporting and storing dairy products. If you have trouble navigating the minefield of legislation and paperwork, you will need to pay a contractor to do this for you. Although, as a consumer of dairy products, there is some small comfort in the forest of trees required to produce and sell dairy. However you can keep all the paperwork that you filled out incorrectly and use it to stoke the fire at 2am when you’re up bottle-feeding your preemie goats. Oh dear. Just need to consider where this use of your error-ridden paperwork fits into your RMP…


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