ALTERNATIVE FARMING

Lindsey and Amanda Goodman, owners of The Drunken Nanny, are a successful case-study for farmers looking to try alternative methods of farming, or for those looking to supplement their income.

Initially, the Goodman family turned to goat milking to help supplement their income from sheep farming. Years later, and The Drunken Nanny is raking in an impressive load of medals at the New Zealand Cheese Awards. On top of this, The Drunken Nanny sell a wide range of goats’ cheese products across the nation including cheese, pasteurised milk, and kefir.

“We say we need to be resilient as farmers, but water and the climate is a major problem here,” Amanda said. “We can be resilient as we like, but if what we’ve been doing is no longer working then it may be time to explore an alternative.”

The Goodman family had previously run a sheep and beef operation just outside of Martinborough. In 2012, they bought their first herd of goats. On top of sagging wool prices, climate change was having an adverse effect on their farming operations. “Every season we were bouncing from drought to drought. Without the feed and irrigation, the old sheep farming model my dad used to run isn’t financially viable anymore.”

The cheese operation started small and grew to receive certification from the Ministry for Primary Industries at the end of 2015. On top of this, the Goodman’s milking herd had expanded to over 100 goats. Although goat farming has come with its challenges, Amanda said, it has paid off in the end, and sceptical customers have been turned into loyal consumers.

Amanda admitted that goat’s cheese isn’t for everyone. “A lot of people haven’t grown up with goats’ milk—they say it tastes like old socks. It’s a real thrill when people taste our cheese and tell us they’ve been converted.”