GardenShare

GardenShare

Friday, July 21, 2017

Farmer Friday: Ober The Moon Goats

If you ran into Wendy Chapman at a grocery store you would struggle to find anything besides paper towels amongst other supplies in her cart. The Chapmans, of Ober the Moon Goats and Lay-Z Duck Farms have adopted a lifestyle and farm that seldom requires a need to gather food outside their property. Their animals and garden have allowed the Chapmans to take total agency over their diet. The meat, vegetables, eggs, cheese, herbs, even laundry detergent, found within the home of the Chapmans are products of their backyard.
One of the many goats of Ober The Moon
Goat cheese is a relatively new project that Wendy has taken on but has already gained positive recognition. “We eat it as fast as we make it”, she explains. The goats produce a gallon of milk a day, and she currently yields three to four pounds of cheese a week. Wendy only sells by the ounce, and has a waiting list of customers so long that the idea of having enough left over to sell at a farmers market is unfathomable. The three main types of goat cheese produced at Ober The Moon are Chevre, Mozzarella, and Ricotta Salata.
 Wendy did not grow up in an agrarian household; this project began just eight years ago as a result of frequenting farmers markets, engaging with local vendors, and becoming more informed on farming and our food system. Ober the Moon Goats and Lay-Z Ducks Farm were created from a domino effect of adopting more and more animals. First came the ducks, then the chickens, then the goats, and finally the turkeys. Both Wendy and her partner Phil have become educated through involvement with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and GardenShare, constant conversations with farmers about what works and what doesn’t, and participation with the LocalLiving Venture.
What is most unique about Wendy is her inability to give up on an animal because it has some type of birth fault, “I just love little heartbeats”, she explains. For years Wendy has been involved in animal rehab. On her property she introduced me to a turkey she keeps even though it was not accepted by its mother and a duck that seems to struggle with arthritis. Similarly, Wendy has taken in numerous crows and finches to care for and bring back to health.
Ducks bathing on Wendy's property
This tenderness found in Wendy is also evident in her hesitation to promote her products, “ I don’t want to get out there and step on anybody’s toes”. The farm in her backyard is making just enough profit to allow her to continue to buy animal feed, although she does point out that her family has been able to save money by relying on their backyard compared to grocery stores.
“I didn’t get in this business to get rich, just got in it to be healthy” says Wendy Chapman. In the future the Chapmans hope to raise pigs, continue to expand into their backyard, and hopefully dip their toes into the miniature cow business. The Chapmans do encourage customers to call ahead if interested in their cheese, chicken, eggs, herbs, and turkey products, and can be reached at (315) 705- 7935.