Jessie Mauer started milking her own goats when she was pregnant with her daughter, Kassindra.
She used the milk for infant formula because it’s healthier, she said.
That was 33 years ago.
Mauer, of Moses Lake, never stopped milking her goats and has built up a herd that now stands at three dozen animals.
This weekend, she and her animals from the Lucky Hook Farm can be found in the goat barn at the Spokane County Interstate Fair where other exhibitors are displaying show goats and pet goats.
Mauer’s animals are working goats.
Her milk can be found on the shelves of several local groceries: Huckleberry’s on the South Hill, Main Market downtown and Yoke’s Fresh Market in Spokane Valley and Mead.
Goat milk is considered healthier because it is more easily digested and its fat content is more beneficial, Mauer said. Goat milk is naturally homogenized and has smaller fat globules, she explained.
She said a lot of her customers choose goat milk to feed their infants. Some of those customers have been stopping at the fair to visit, she said.
Among them are mothers who told her that goat milk helped their infants overcome a failure to thrive.
“I’ve had a lot of customers here. They thank us for doing this,” she said.
The health benefits of Mauer’s goat milk are enhanced by careful environmental standards on her farm, she said. The Lucky Hook is certified by the Animal Welfare Approved organization for sustainability, one of the highest standards in the food industry, Mauer said.
An important element to the program is giving the animals access to a sufficiently large piece of pasture daily. So her goats roam.
The Lucky Hook Farm is also seeking certification for using non-genetically-modified feed, she said.
She and her husband, Dennis, raise their own feed alfalfa with no herbicides or pesticides.
The farm is not certified as organic, in part because Mauer will not let a sick goat die if a veterinarian can save it with medicines such as antibiotics.
“I have too much emotional attachment to my animals,” she said. “We don’t let anything die” unless it’s from old age.
Otherwise, her milk is as close to organic as a farmer can get, she said.
The 35 gallons of milk she harvests every day comes from mixed-breed goats, which enhances milk production.
“I drink it every day,” Mauer said.