The operation of the Gouaux goat farm is a team effort. To Christian the task of raising the goats and producing quality milk, to Stephanie the task of making the best cheeses.
In July 2020, Stéphanie and Christian took over the operation of the Gouaux goat farm. Located at the exit of this small mountain village in the Hautes-Pyrénées, this goat farm houses eighty boarders, as stubborn as they are endearing. Stéphanie “the cheese maker” and Christian “the goatherd” strive to produce quality milk, the essential basis for the production of their cheeses. The daily visits of their goat farm are an opportunity to make the public aware of the different facets of their activity: extensive breeding, milk production, manufacturing and marketing of their cheeses. A real small business that relies first and foremost on the well-being of their herd.
From off-ground to extensive farming
The transition from off-ground to extensive farming required reappropriating the 18 hectares, 8 of which belong to the AFP de Gouaux, located around the goat farm. After an important work of clearing, the herd could gradually take its habits there. Two daily outings of 2h30, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, allow the goats to feed on hazelnut, ash, oak, boxwood, ferns, nettles and brambles. Their diet is completed by the seven meals served daily. This nutritional diversity contributes to the quality of the milk produced. In order to accustom the kids to these escapades in the wild, Christian takes them out daily. Another essential element to mention: all day long, the goat house sounds the melodious chords of the greatest works of classical music.
In order to have an optimal work space and to ensure the best living conditions for their herd, Stephanie and Christian modernized their farm. They began by redesigning the milking parlor. Thought above all for the well-being of the herd, it is more spacious, reduces milking time (about 4 minutes) and is less accident-prone for the goats.
Stephanie and Christian then renovated the store, prioritizing the quality of the welcome and conviviality. Their project is now to renovate the goat house with the objective of always improving hygiene, cleanliness and functionality, essential to the well-being of their animals. A former sound engineer, I suspect Christian intends to review the acoustics of the goat house.
To Christian, the task of raising the goats and producing quality milk. To Stephanie, that of making the best cheeses and ensuring their marketing. The two daily milkings, which take place at 8am and 6pm, are the witness that the goatherd passes on to the cheese maker.
In order to make their operation better known, daily tours of the goat house are organized at 5:30pm. Open to all, they are an opportunity to exchange with Stephanie and Christian. These moments of sharing allow visitors to become familiar with the different facets of their activity. This visit ends with a gourmet passage to the store. The latter is open every day, from 11am to 12pm and then from 5:30pm to 7pm (except school vacations) and from 11am to 12:30pm and then from 4:30pm to 7:30pm (during vacations).
Where to find the cheeses of the goat farm of Gouaux?
In addition to daily visits, Stephanie is present on the markets of Arreau, on Thursdays, and Saint-Lary Soulan, on Saturdays. In order to promote the local industry, the goat farm of Gouaux work with various partners of proximity.
You can taste their cheeses at a dozen restaurateurs on Saint-Lary Soulan or buy them at the Intermarché d’Ancizan and in a cheese shop in Lannemezan.
If this article has made your mouth water, you can follow the adventures of this cheese maker and this goatherd “like no other” on the goat farm’s Facebook or contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 06.22.98.08.90.