Then one day, she ran into a friend at the post office. This particular friend was often a good sounding board for Vicki and once more, he didn’t let her down.
“Oh my God,” he said. “You have to meet Kyleen Austin.”
That was in mid-December. Austin, a local musician who lives on Puget Island, was in California at the time. After initial contact, they emailed back and forth a couple times and talked on the phone once.
“Then Kyleen called and told me she’d found some goats that needed to be rescued,” said Allenback.
Allenback brought them home and a dairy began with seven goats that needed a little extra loving care and attention.
Allenback and Austin met for the first time on December 28.
“That was four months ago and we’ve got major plans going on here,” Allenbeck said.
Now they have 41 goats, which Austin calls their core stock. All the goats have been rigorously tested and are disease free. It is a closed herd, which means that no new animals will be introduced without serious testing to maintain the health of the herd.
There are Alpines, Saanen, Toggenburg and LaMancha goats. The first seven have esoteric names, like Faith, the oldest goat in the herd, at seven years of age. The other 34 are named for movie starlets.
“Vicki is the whisperer, the animal communicator,” said Austin, as she watched her new friend and business partner check on a goat.
Austin has been a cheese maker and worked with goats for 13 years. Allenback has been involved in animal husbandry for 17 years. Initially, Austin didn’t want to be a partner, she wanted to focus on making cheese, but she has since changed her mind.
“I owned an artisan cheese company in northern California,” Austin said. “I’m currently making chevre, feta and ricotta. I’m also working on a gouda and an Italian farmer’s cheese.”
Adjusting to a new climate and waiting for their license to come through has given Austin time and motivation to perfect her recipes. Their friends are eager guinea pigs.
One friend, Ginni Callahan, can’t get enough of their ricotta.
The chevre is good too. And the feta. Austin also makes a mean cajeta, or Mexican goat milk caramel sauce.
If you would like to sample their cheeses or meet the goats, Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery will be open for business after they get their license on May 15. They are located at 1681 SR 4, just west of Skamokawa. If you have questions, you can call 360-795-8700 or check out their Facebook page.