Heritage Foods USA is on a mission to get goat onto your plate, and into your freezer, this fall. Why? They explain.
“Did you know that, in order to produce milk, a female goat has to have babies? The result is goat dairies with an excess of male goats that are currently being sold into the commodity market or killed at birth. This fall, Heritage Foods USA is launching: No Goat Left Behind: Goatober. Throughout the month of October we’ll be working with 15 family farmers to bring goat into homes and restaurants across the nation…
Goat is the most popular protein in the world. It is a lean, nutritious source of meat and has a lower carbon footprint than beef, pork or lamb. It makes environmental and dietary sense to utilize this readily available protein source in the United States.”
Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheese has more on the connection between goat dairies and goat meat:
The bottom line? Heritage Foods is teaming up with several goat farms in Vermont and upstate New York, including Consider Bardwell Farm and Ed Lafontaine of Vermont Butter and Cheese, to procure goats.
Wisely recognizing that goat is not a meat widely known to the American palate, Heritage has put together an impressive band of local chefs to inspire us to get on the goat train. Restaurants throughout the city will be participating in ‘Goatober,’ featuring the meat on menus throughout the month. Brooklyn participants include: Al Di La, Colonie, Egg, Fatty ‘Cue, Fette Sau, Momo Sushi, Palo Santo, Purple Yam, Roberta’s and Vinegar Hill House. If you can’t find inspiration in that lineup, goat’s probably just not your thing.
We checked in with Palo Santo chef/owner Jacques Gautier, a man to whom goat is decidedly not a new thing:
Nona: Jacques, most Americans are unfamiliar with goat meat. Why do you think they should try it? What would you say to reassure someone scared to eat goat?
Jacques: New York is a city of immigrants, and for that reason we are lucky enough to have plenty of restaurants that serve goat, from goat curry to goat tacos… At Palo Santo goat is a popular item, so we have never had to think about how to convince people to eat it. If someone is scared by goat, they should order something else!
When did you first come across goat meat? When did you start cooking with it?
My mother’s brother lives out in central Pennsylvania and he raises goats. In the late 90′s my first kitchen job was at at little Italian restaurant in Manhattan. My uncle sent us a couple of whole goats and the chef taught me how to skin them, butcher them and braise them to serve over pappardelle.
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare it?
I really like braising goat in coconut milk, or wrapping it in banana leaves and slow cooking it. If a goat is really young and tender you can cut some nice little chops from it that are perfect for grilling.
Have you considered keeping goats in addition to rabbits in your rooftop garden?
If I had a grassy back yard I would have a couple of goats instead of a lawnmower. Unfortunately I can keep them in the Palo Santo rooftop garden because they would damage the rooftop and eat all of our herbs, but I have considered it.
Should you find yourself sufficiently impressed by the glorious possibilities of goat, you’ll be able to purchase a half goat or whole goat of your very own. Each package will include numerous recipes, and even a DVD with footage of the farms, interviews with farmers and processors, and chefs demonstrating the way they would prepare a goat, should they happen to come upon one.
Goat meat has been appearing on more and more menus around the city recently, and while most Brooklyn freezers couldn’t hold, say, half a cow, half a goat is a much more reasonable size. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be taking advantage of this grass-fed, sustainable, otherwise-wasted meat, and besides, think of the street cred you’ll have when you explain to your friends that you have half a goat in your freezer.
If you’re ready to celebrate Goatober, check out the options for getting a goat of your own!
Editor’s Note: a former colleague’s mom used to routinely smuggle goat heads tucked away in empty containers of ‘Shedd’s Spread Country Crock’ on flights back to Queens from her annual visits to her native Haiti, to make her beloved Goat Head Soup for her large goat-deprived family here in New York.
We hope that Heritage Foods’ efforts will prove successful, and allow her to lighten her load. Cheers Ms. V!