Holistic grazing

Goat cheese and holistic grazing

‘Knark, knark, knark’. If you listen carefully, this is the sound of dandelions having their heads chopped off by eager goats.

A fresh piece of land has just been released for the goats. For the last eight weeks the land has rested giving way to new vegetation. This rotation of grassland is also called holistic grazing.

One Sunday morning, I visited Copenhagen Goat Milk, one of the newest farmstead dairies in Denmark.

Holistic grazing
Holistic grazing
‘My goats and holistic grazing are two of my favourite subjects,’ says Claus Christoffersen.

In 2017, Claus and Summer bought a house in the countryside with 13 ha / 32 ac. This is also the home for their two children who now are seven and fifteen. This morning we are sitting in the courtyard with the most beautiful and deliciously arranged cheese board with bread. For a moment I feel time has paused. Pure idyll!

Claus and Summer

Hard work

But it’s also pretty obvious that the dream about goats and dairy doesn’t come easy. Claus used to work as an accountant and this has taught him to gather and process information. Indeed the ability to acquire new material has proven vital when you decide to make cheese. With a background in the military and from elite cycling he knows how to opmitise things. As well as – at least this is what I believe – how to set a goal and fight to obtain it.

No doubt, it’s hard work to keep track of 130 goats, 100 hens, a dairy and recently also a farm outlet. And yet, a day still counts 24 hours.

Holistic grazing

Goats are cultural heritage

You need to start from the beginning, also when you want to create your own flock of goats. The breed is Danish landrace (‘dansk landrace’) which is currently on the UN list of endangered animal species. Right now there are 3-400 goats in Denmark. In the beginning, Claus and Summer bought a few goats here and another few goats there and now they have started to breed on their own animals. Right now they have four male goats, 48 milking goats and 78 baby goats.

This type of goat fits to the Danish climate, they loose their wool in the summer and can handle winter and snow with their winter fur. At Copenhagen Goat Milk, they goats decide themselves whether they want to be in or out. The less stress, the better milk quality.

Goats

Baby goats and their mothers

It’s quite rare these days that you see a dairy cow/sheep/goat together with their kids. But here they spend the day together and the nights apart. After the morning milking, they graze together again. The goats give of course less milk but this is how they have decided to do it until the kids are three-four months old.

Happy goats
Holistic grazing
Before every goat had its own name but this year there are too many…

What is holistic grazing?

When we talk about grazing, it is obvious that Claus has more at heart. He uses the tecnique called holistic grazing which means that you continously change the grazing area leaving some parts to rest.

The goats are only allowed to a new area after six to eight weeks of rest. This allows topsoil to come which again holds on the water. Roots get longer and new leaves grow. Actually, more CO2 is contained. The goats get a new fresh area every day which means more milk and higher quality.

Claus moves the poles a bit every day and invites the goats to fresh grass and dandelions. In return, the goats munch in concentrated silence.

Holistic grazing
Holistic grazing
Dandelion improves digestion, Claus tells. He likes diversity in the weeds on the fields.
Holistic grazing

Grass and ruminants is a match made in heaven!


Claus Christoffersen
Goats

Weeds, grass and branches is a treat for goats.

Habits and character

Goats are curious and fun animals. They watch us closely until one is brave enough to come over to pinch my hand and clothes.

Milking goats
Claus explains that they go the same place every time they are about to be milked which is every morning.

Swallows fly around inside the stable. They eat flies and thus help Claus to avoid insecticides.

Milking goats
This is not so easy. Finally, milk comes out, even though it points in all directions.
Milking goats

How to learn to make cheese

The original entrance of the house and a bedroom is now turned into a small dairy.

Copenhagen Goat Milk

Summer was born in Thailand and nobody would have thought her future career was to be a cheese master. Nonetheless, here she is: Making cheeses and yoghurt in her own farmstead dairy. She learned by reading, talking to others and above all watching Youtube videos.

Goat cheeses
Gently she pours the curd into the moulds.
Goat cheeses
To test, observe and learn. Summer has now acheived her own expression.
Goat cheeses
Goat cheeses
Goat cheeses

The cheeses

Look at this amazingly beatiful cheese board:

Copenhagen Goat Milk

Small round snack cheeses in oil and herbs are in the bowl. Followed by beautiful fresh cheeses decorated with thyme/chives/lavender & dandelion. Behind a moulded chèvre with two different ages.

Copenhagen Goat Milk

Would you like to taste?

Right now you have to be in Denmark to taste the cheeses. Visit the farm outlet (find the address and opening hours on facebook. You may also find their cheeses at local markets and restaurants. At the farm, apart from cheese you can buy icecream and soap.

Copenhagen Goat Milk
Dairy to the left and outlet to the right.

On their list of future projects they have organic and raw milk cheeses and I can’t wait to follow them along their future road. Good luck!!!

Copenhagen Goat Milk

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*