Nestled at the base of Black Mesa in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona about 9 miles due east of the historic pioneer town of Snowflake, we (the owners Kathryn and David) work towards rehabilitating and improving this long-abandoned 280-acre "off-grid" homestead property with an eye toward self-sufficiency and a plan for sustainability. This web site documents our continuing plans, progress, pitfalls, and projects.
Recent Happenings at the Ranch
The Circle Of Life
Breeding Season Has Begun
10/10/16 Once again it's time to start a new cycle of life on the ranch. Goats are seasonal breeders and, well, this is the breeding season! In fact, it seemed that a few days ago it was the breeding DAY. We had most of the does line up at the buck pen and let us know that they were ready to be bred. We (and the bucks) obliged them and in five months (a goat gestation period) we will be swimming in newborn kids.
Check out our kidding schedule here.
American Culinary Federation's National Convention
BMR's Chef David Sets The Food World On Fire
8/2/16 David is back from the American Culinary Federation's National Convention in Phoenix. He went to introduce our line of confections to some of the best and most influential chefs in the country, connect with some regional distribution channels and just hang out with the "cool kids" in the industry. It was a huge success and he ended up staying a day longer than planned (5 days total).
David brought 3 flavors of our AZ-Grown Spiced Pecans (Cinnamon, Spicy Chipotle and Orange Spice) and 2 flavors of our goats milk fudge (Chocolate-Walnut and "AZ Fudge On Fire" (made with locally grown Concho chiles)). Everything was extremely well received but the Fudge on Fire stole the show. Even chefs, guests & exhibitors from Michigan's Mackinaw Island (the fudge capitol of the world) couldn't get enough of the samples.
Other highlights of the convention:
- Dozens of top quality workshops, guest speakers, seminars and discussion groups including: "Pairings Lab: Wine and Cheese", "Hog Butchery & Basic Curing", "The Umami of Cheese", "Great Cheese, Now What?", and my personal favorite… "Chocolate: From the Ground Up" (exploring sustainable chocolate craft, from bean to bar, with chocolate tasting).
- The USA Chef of the Year Competition (including Chef Lenard Rubin from the Country Club at DC Ranch in Phoenix)
- Huge 2-day Food Service Trade Show featuring nearly 100 exhibitors, student and professional cooking competitions, products demonstrations and LOTS of food sampling.
- Impressive social media involvement across the 5 days of the convention with #CookCraftCreate, #GoatsMilkFudge, and #AZpecans hashtags used by over a thousand participants.
Click here to read more about the event.
Awards Department Report
2016 Linear Appraisal
6/10/16 We had our 2016 American Dairy Goat Association Linear Appraisal this week. Linear appraisal is like a show but each goat is judged against the Ideal Goat. Scores 90 and above are Excellent, scores in the 80's are very nice also.
As expected our girls did really well. Four does scored as Excellent with most of the other does and bucks scoring in the mid to high 80’s. It was a very informative event and we thank the appraiser for doing such a great job.
We'd also like to thank Amanda and Niki Henderson for getting the girls milked out once they had been appraised. Wendy Woodward and Hazel McGuffin from Witch Hazel Dairy did a great job of getting fancy pictures of the goats. Shelby and Madison St. Hilaire and their friend, Joe, helped out with handling the goats and getting them prepared for their turn in the ring. Many thanks to all who volunteered their time to come help us out.
Entering New Territory
Black Mesa Ranch Fudge Heads To CA and NV
4/11/16 We’ve been selling our goats milk cheeses and goats milk fudge to the Whole Foods Market in Arizona for over a decade now and our products have been a big hit. Now we are branching out. Our Goats Milk Walnut Fudge and Spicy Goats Milk Fudge On Fire are now available at Whole Foods Markets in California and Nevada. So if you are in the South West, please give them a try. They are also available on our website Ranch Market.
All Work Yet Lots Of Play
David Goes To The Big City
2/15/16 It’s not often that cheese maker David gets off the ranch, but for the last 9 days he has been gone. He flew in to Philadelphia and from there attended the 2016 Dairy Heritage Cheese Makers’ Resource Conference in New Holland. It was a busy, educational, and fun event. He even brought some of our Black Mesa Ranch Fudge for people to sample during the Evening of Cheese event.
After that David and his sister went to NYC for a class at the famous Murray’s Cheese Shop where they learned more about cheese, chocolate, and wine. What could be a better “vacation” than that for the cheese maker and chocolatier of Black Mesa Ranch.
The Babies Are Coming!
Kidding Season Has Begun
1/29/16 Even though it is only January, Kidding Season is here already. We usually start kidding in late February or early March but this year we have already had 6 does kid. What can I say…It seemed like a good idea in August when I bred them! Luckily the weather has cooperated and been very lovely. Anne kicked off the season with quadruplet doelings!
We’ll still have an additional 30 or so girls kid at a more reasonable time of year. The kids are vigorous and beautiful. Pictures and our Kidding Diary can be seen here.
Connecting With Your Food
6th Annual Arizona Farmer+Chef Connection
9/17/15 Yesterday many of Arizona’s Farmers and artisan food producers gathered at the Tucson Convention Center to display their products and talk to local chefs about their locally produced goods. David, from Black Mesa Ranch, was able to sneak away from his cheese and candy making duties to attend. He brought lots of our Fudge, Cheeses, and Spiced Pecans for sampling. Many folks that sampled our goods directed other people to David’s table, telling them to try our products in order to "have a party in your mouth”.
We thank our friends Glenda (pictured with David) and Martha (taking the picture) for helping David out. It was a very busy and productive day.
Ranch Weather Report
Rain On The Ranch
9/3/15 Big Ol' Thunder Storm slammed the Ranch this afternoon. We got about an inch of rain in under an hour. It's been such a wet year the ground is pretty saturated so most just ran off. Now we've got some serious fence mending work to do before all our livestock wander off (or the local predators wander in).
More Superior Goats!
8/20/15 The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) announced today that another four of our goats have now earned their Superior Genetics Awards. The Superior Genetics awards identify and recognize individual animals for their genetic superiority through participation in ADGA's performance programs. Our goats are on DHI milk testing and participate in Linear Appraisal to judge their confirmation. The award is for both bucks and does and is based on being in the top 15% of the tested goats in their breed according to their performance in these programs or (especially in the case of bucks) their daughters and dams performance. Congratulations to our newest Superior Genetics goats!
7/17/15 In addition to being inspected by the FDA, USDA, AZ Department of Agriculture, AZ Weights and Measures, AZ Health Department, Humane Farm Animal Care, and many more, BMR has now scored 100% on our independent Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Food Safety and Compliance Audit. Yes folks, this is a big deal.
We know we make excellent products. We know we have always had high standards for the health of our herd, the cleanliness of our production kitchen, and the efficacies of our food handling and safety procedures.
But just knowing something sometimes isn't enough.
We (partnering with our good friends and excellent customers at Whole Foods Markets) ordered a full, independent, 3rd party inspection and audit of our cheese and candy making facilities. We chose the undisputed industry leader UL to conduct that audit.
Today, we underwent a full, top-to-bottom compliance inspection and audit by UL including facility, production, and procedural components. We scored 100 points out of a possible 100 points.
Face it.... BMR ROCKS!!
Another Aged Goat Cheese
BMR Cheese Maker Announces His Latest Success
7/3/15 Last year our Cheese Maker, David, announced adding some aged cheeses to the list of cheeses made here at BMR. He added a feisty Blue Goat and a mild gouda style Dutchess. Now "Tivoli" - a young, creamy Danish-style slicing cheese in the style of Havarti has been created by David. Check out our line of goat milk cheeses and confections on our Market Basket page.
New Herd Genetics
Goldthwaite Windswept Luc Joins Our Team
6/9/15 We would like to thank Becky Goldthwaite of Goldthwaite Nubians for allowing Luc to come to Black Mesa Ranch. We look forward to working with him and seeing what he can do for our herd. We were thrilled with our last Goldthwaite buck - Exotic Affair. He proved himself admirable - earning many awards and siring a Top Ten Breed Leader. We expect Luc will also make us proud.
Awards Department Report
BMR Goats Earn 34 Awards From INBA
6/2/15 The International Nubian Breeders Association (INBA) has announced the 2014 Merit and Awards winners.
Here is an overview of the awards won by goats either bred by or owed by Black Mesa Ranch :
1 - Top Ten Award
1 - Gold Milk Certificate
7 - Silver Milk Certificate
12 - Bronze Milk Certificates
2 - Excellence in Linear Appraisal Award
4 - Top Milk Production By Age
3 - Lifetime Achievement Awards
2 - Senior Citizen Awards
1 - Premier Dam Award
1 - Outstanding Sire Award
Plus we are still hoping to receive 2 Extended Lactation Awards.
Congratulations to all the hardworking girls and boys! What a great group of goats. The individual awards will be listed on the lineage pages. Pictured is Coriander who has been posthumously awarded the Premier Dam Award. This award is amazingly hard to achieve due to the extreme requirements. Coriander - you're still the BEST!
The full list of this year's winners can soon be found at: http://www.i-n-b-a.org/14m&a.htm
BMR is Awarded a Fork To Farm Grant
9/29/14 BMR has been awarded a Bon Appétit (BAMCO) "Fork to Farm" Grant! The votes have been tallied and Black Mesa Ranch has been selected as the Southwest Region Staff Pick winner of a $5000 grant to expand our aged cheese production capacity. We are completely thrilled and want to thank all our friends and customers who voted for us and especially thank BAMCO for their continuing commitment to supporting small local food producers. Get the full story here: http://www.bamco.com/forktofarm/
What A Deal!
Free Shipping On BMR Cheeses and Candy
7/24/14 Here at Black Mesa Ranch we are excited to announce that we are doing away with our minimum order for cheeses and candies, plus adding free shipping for orders over $75! We are hoping that this will allow more people to try our wonderful products. We have also added three Sampler Packs to our product line-up for an even greater value. Please check out our Ranch Market Page to see all that we have to offer. We really appreciate it, and the goats do too!
Product Development Report
Aged Cheeses Now Available
7/2/14 For over a decade now Black Mesa Ranch has been producing award winning fresh goats' milk cheeses. Our spreadable fresh cheese, our mozzarella style Boule, and Mediterranean-style Feta have all been great hits. Now Cheese Maker, David, has created several styles of aged cheeses. His “Blue Goat” is a feisty Blue cheese. “Dutchess” is a lightly aged, Dutch inspired cheese in the style of Gouda, and David’s Ementhraller” is a nutty-sweet Alpine-style cheese. All are made with 100% goat milk. All are delicious! And now, they are available online. Please give them a try. We think that you’ll like them.