South African Boer Bok

Autumn Olive Farms is a family based operation in Augusta County. We have a dual focus model with a singular commitment to the health and wellness of the land, animal and the consumer. We raise the beautiful South African Boer Bok as an environmentally sound method to combat the invasive plant species problem while producing one of the finest and healthiest meats in the world right here in the Shenandoah Valley. The combination of the worlds premier, purpose bred and standardized meat goat with the fantastic forage base of invasive species here in the Valley provides a win-win situation for the land, its owner and the consumer.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Are goats a threat?

Check out this video link that was on Colbert Nation.  Clay and I have always talked about our perfect employees.  They love their 24/7 work schedule and ask only for quality food and to have their time in the sun.  They have a great attitude and are good to work with for the most part.  What more could you ask for?  Every now and then they organize and present a unified demand or two but we always work it out.

They don't have it too bad either...  They get to eat a delicious variety of invasive plants anytime and as much as they want .  They work in beautiful places with all of their friends.  They get to take the late fall and winter off.  As a matter of fact, they are all home here at Autumn Olive Farms for the holidays enjoying all you can eat locally grown alfalfa/orchard grass hay.  Can't get a better life for a goat than that!  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Boer Bok ribs for sampling.......

Don't forget that we will be in downtown Staunton at Cranberry's Grocery and Eatery tomorrow from 10:30 - 3:00 giving out samples of our delicious Boer Bok ribs.  

Cranberry's is a really neat store and cafe in historic downtown Staunton.  They are just up the street from the Visitors Center.  They offer local foods plus herbal remedies, wonderful smelling goat's milk soap, a whole lot more.  I could go for a cup of their gourmet coffee right now! 

We will also have Boer Bok bone-in leg roasts, shoulder roasts, shanks, chops and more available for purchase. 

Hope to see you there!  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our Boer Bok is totally local......

I attended the Building Health, Wealth and Capacity in the Shenandoah Valley Food and Farm Economy workshop today. Ken Meter of the Crossroads Resource Center spoke about the Shenandoah Valley local food and economic study he conducted. 

Ken made a dramatic statement "that local food may be the best path to economic recovery."  How can that be?  Here is an example of what Autumn Olive Farms is doing to keep our dollars local. 

We buy our animals in the Shenandoah Valley.  As a matter of fact, we purchased the whole floor, which was 86 FFA and 4-H show wethers and does at the Rockingham County Fair.  These are goats that were purchased at local farms by local families fed local food and then taken to the local fair.  There were quite a few happy "human" kids and parents to see that their show goats that they had lovingly cared for were going to a farm and not straight to the market in New Holland.  Yep, all of those dollars would have gone right out of the Valley.  

Since that time those 86 animals have been generating income along with our other Boer Bok by combating an Autumn Olive invasion on an old family farm near Staunton. 

In the winter our Boer Bok eat only alfalfa/orchard grass hay that is grown a mile from our farm.  They also get fresh minerals daily produced by Countryside Natural Products in Fishersville.  We have our meat animals processed in the Valley and then we sell to local restaurants and stores.  

Whether you "employ" our Boer Bok to clear your overgrown land or you are enjoying our meat at a local restaurant or purchasing it at a local store you are helping stimulate the local economy.  That is something we can all feel good about.  Buy Fresh Buy Local! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Boer Bok are in print again......

Check out page 13 in the Fall 2010 edition of Edible Blue Ridge Magazine. You will see one of our Boer Bok does munching on forage and read about what we do.  
Edible Blue Ridge is a beautiful magazine that focuses on all aspects of local food in the Blue Ridge area. From where it is grown to where it is sold and even recipes on how to prepare it.  It also has a Buy Fresh Buy Local guide in the back.  We are the first listing for Augusta County. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mark your calendars......

We will be speaking at the Piedmont Environmental Council's fall meeting on Saturday, September 25 at the MARE center in Loudoun county.  Click on the link to read about the workshops that will be offered and how to sign up.  Our workshop is titled "When Good Plants Go Bad: Managing Invasive Species. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Goats put biological brakes on invasive plant species.....

That is the title of the article in the Virginia Native Plant Species Fall newsletter.  Click on the link to read the article written by Nancy Sorrells.  Native plants have a difficult and sometimes an impossible time competing with the invasive species.  We have an environmentally friendly  solution to help restore native plant habitats!  Nancy wrote a great article about what the goats are doing at the Frontier Culture Museum.   

Friday, August 13, 2010


We knew that we were going to have an article in the small ruminant section of Country Folk magazine, but did not expect to make the front cover! 

Jennifer Showalter, the author, came to the Frontier Culture Museum to write an article about our Boer Bok.  She is a young farmer from Lexington, VA who knows first hand what a problem invasive plant species are for farmers.  She said she has sprayed so many that the plants should wilt when she walks by! 

Here is the link to the article.  Goats create win-win situation for Autumn Olive Farms

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What a sight it must have been........

With help from some wonderful Volunteer Shepherds, we moved the herd to their new location at the Frontier Culture Museum on the hill behind the pond.  What a sight it must have been seeing the herd literally running down the boulevard. (great for their hooves)  

I was leading them with the guard dog, NOT herding dog!  This breed of dog is good for protecting, but definitely not herding.  I had to almost drag her to run that far.  The Boer Bok were running behind me followed by 3 Volunteer Shepherds.  Unfortunately, Clay has the camera with him in Indonesia, so I could not get pictures of the event.  

After we got them moved I was awarded a custom handmade Shepherd's staff by my helpers.  It was quite a day of taking down and setting up fence and moving the herd.  Normally Clay and I do it by ourselves.  I will have to say it works much better with 4 people!  Thank you to my volunteers!

The Boer Bok are in a much better location for viewing from the Boulevard.  By the evening of the day we moved them you could already see through the Autumn Olive Bushes.  One of the Volunteer Shepherds went with me yesterday evening and could not believe what they had done in just a few days.  He said it looked like a brush hog had been through there.  It was a brush hog alright...a whole herd of them.

If you go by the museum, be sure to walk down the path beside the blue bird trail.  You will see the devastation to the Autumn Olive, Honeysuckle, Multi- Flora Rose and Blackberry.  Some one told me it looks like a war zone.  Total devastation!   The front of the first site is not as  impressive due to the fact they don't care too much for the Pear Trees.  They are stiff and it is hard for them to "walk down" to eat.  I could have left them in there and forced them to eat it, but did not want to do that to my pregnant does.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Boer Bok is Tapas........

What is Tapas?  Check out the MAS website to find out what Tapas is.  If you haven't been to MAS then you have been missing out on a fun and unique dining experience.  I love lots of flavors and different foods and this is the place to get it.  

The menu changes daily and Tomas has a commitment to support local farms.  I love spending my local food dollars here!  

Make sure you check out the Tapas menu on the website. They update it daily.  Be sure to try the Datil con tocino (fat, juicy, pitted Medjool dates roasted inside of applewood-smoked bacon)  YUM!! 

Our Boer Bok should be on the menu this weekend.  I can't wait to see what Tomas creates with our Boer Bok Loin Racks!  Hope to see you there.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Here we go again.....

We are now officially burned up here in the central Shenandoah Valley and there is no rain in sight for the next 10 days!  We have been in this situation before in NC.  The biggest difference is that in NC our goats were primarily on pasture that was burned up.  Here in VA with our focus on invasive plant foraging they are largely unaffected by this drought.  

Our solution in NC was to take our goats out of the pasture twice a day and walk them along the highway/utility right of way to forage on all of the invasive plants that are deeply rooted and largely unaffected by the drought and heat. Here we only have to make sure they have fresh water and minerals daily! In fact you will find the Boer Bok eating during the middle hours of the day when other livestock is holed up in the shade or in the streams and ponds causing a mess that carries all the way to the Bay.

Isn't it amazing how you can look in a field that is burned up and yet still see lush green plants.  Those green plants are usually invasive species and they seem to thrive no matter what the weather forecast is.  Our Boer Bok are doing the same.  They are thriving while eating the invasive plant species in this terrible heat.  The light-bulb went off for us in the drought of 2007, like "duh,,,,,,, no one else is doing it, but why not concentrate on the invasives and paddle downstream for a change"???????? 

We know first hand the stress of farmers who are going to have to start feeding hay in July while at the same time wondering if they will get another cutting of hay.  Been there and done that.  We also know about the next dilemma the small ruminant producers are going to experience when the rain does come. Those intestinal parasite eggs that are laying dormant on the pasture love to hatch in the warm moist heat.  I will never forget the year this happened to us.  It ruined a whole kid crop.  We protect our Boer Bok from this severe situation by keeping them on invasives and off pasture.  They are designed for woody forage.  By eating off the ground with their heads up and they don't ingest the parasite eggs.  It sounds simple, but most producers don't or haven't come to that place yet.

Unfortunately the Universities continue to teach the failed pasture rotation model.  We took all of those classes about raising goats and that is the model they teach over and over.  On fresh ground it will work for a few years, but it will eventually catch up with you and bring you to ruin.  The intestinal parasite problem continues to be the greatest challenge to raising goats.  So far, so good for us right now.  This current weather pattern will bring the rotational pasture managers to the crossroads of success and failure. We hope that our example will be one they can learn from and adopt.  There certainly seems to be enough invasives to go around and the sight of healthy goats is one that never gets old.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Augusta County Promotional Video............

I want to share the video that was presented during the Culinary Writers tour that came to Augusta County on June 9th.   A video segment designed to promote agritourism in Augusta County was produced in advance and presented to the writers and guests during the lunch at Hermitage Hills Farm and Stables.  Guests included the new Virginia Commissioner of
Agriculture,  Matt Lohr and the Augusta Country Director for Economic Development, Dennis Burnett.  Click on this link to see the video. 

The video was created and produced by Tim Nargi of digitaltimmay in Northern Virginia.  It is facinating to read on his website how he got the shots and the equipment he used. The concept of featuring agritourism is new in the area and I believe that it is the first video that promotes agritourism in Augusta County.  We are excited that we were able to be a part of it and that the new Commissioner of Agriculture got to see it! 

Fortunately for us the girls plus Mr. Max were on good behavior the morning the cameras were rolling for them!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some Before and After.......

This is what Autumn Olive looks like before and during the Boer Bok foraging on it.  They love to stand and reach the high leaves. 

This is what Autumn Olive looks like after the Boer Bok have foraged on it.  They remove the leaves which stresses the plant.  The root then puts its efforts into regenerating the foliage at every point where the leaves have been plucked off.  If you cut the plant off at the base only, all the root energy is applied at the one point, allowing the plant to come roaring back. 

Meet the competition.....

The retired girls and wethers have moved to a location South of Staunton.  They are working on an area that was planted in pine seedlings that got overtaken by Autumn Olive.  You can see how thick the Autumn Olive is. 

While we were there today checking on the goats we met the competition!  It is a giant saw hanging from a helicopter.  This picture does not do it justice.  Check out the video of this thing at work.  We told the guys working on the ground that we would take care of the low growth and they can take care of the high growth. :) Click on this link for Video and this link for Photos of this new site. 

A Fine Fellow has arrived....

The Fine Fellow has arrived!  As you can see the girls are checking the new guy out.  They all agreed that he is definitely a Fine Fellow!

He immediately went to work showing off his foraging skills. 

He is a beautiful buck and is a fine representation of the true South African Breed Standard.  He weighs 211 pounds at just 14 months.  We are looking forward to seeing the kids he produces this fall. 

Click on this link for more Photos and a Video of him meeting the girls.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A surprise.............

I was reading the Staunton Newsleader on line and saw a heading that said Herd Control.  I thought is was an article about a herding dog or something.  When I clicked the link I was surprised to see this picture of the girls!  The girls are making the paper and we don't even know it. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Culinary Writers Tour and our display................

We were asked to be part of a culinary writers tour that came through Augusta County today hosted by Hermitage Hill Farm .  Lunch was prepared with ingredients exclusively from Augusta County.  Our Boer Bok was on the  hor d' oeuvre menu as Barbecue Boer Bok, Apple Mint Cucumber Slaw on a Silver Dollar Hoe Cake.  

Our Boer Bok were featured on a video made to showcase Augusta County.  The girls and Mr. Max did a great job showcasing their foraging abilities.  

This is a picture of our display.  It was complete with a invasive plant arrangement of Autumn Olive, Morrows Honeysuckle with beautiful red berries, Privet, Vine Honeysuckle, Greenbrier, Multi- Flora Rose and a touch of Blue weed.

When the lunch was over we decided to bring the arrangement home to our patient.  One of our does got her front leg hung in a forked branch.  It cut off the circulation to the point that we had to have her leg amputated.  Dr. Bowman did the surgery at Commonwealth Veterinary Clinic.  (This is the former Kingsbury Animal Hospital I worked at during college and where Clay and I met.) 

We put the arrangement in her pen vase and all.  As you can see our patient immensely  enjoyed her flowers and even shared it with the chickens! You can view a 
video on our Flickr site by clicking this link. 

I am happy to report that she is doing very well with three legs and she should make a full recovery.  It is amazing to see how she can walk and even run!  

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Boer Bok at Palladio.........

We are honored and excited to let you know that our Boer Bok is being prepared by Executive Chef Melissa Close Hart , Best 25 Chefs, Mid-Atlantic James Beard Foundation.  She is at the  Palladio Restaurant located at Barboursville Vineyards.  What a beautiful place!  

Boer Bok will be offered on their June and July menu.  I will post the link when the new menu is updated on their site.  

Check out their website and read about the restaurant, vineyard and the Barboursville Ruins.  I did not know about the ruins until we went to the vineyard to pick up the wine Luke used in his cooking demo at the Montpelier Wine Festival.  I was fascinated by the ruins and that they are still standing since it was built in 1814.  You can read about the history of the Barboursville Ruins and the connection to Jefferson, Madison and agriculture at the above link. 

Boer Bok chops are now available in Charlottesville......

Rebecca's Natural Food in the Barracks Road Shopping Center is carrying our Boer Bok Chops in their freezer section.  Rebecca's is a health food store that offers a large variety of foods, supplements and body care items.  They also have a commitment to support local sustainable farms.  We are proud to have our Boer Bok in their store.  Stop by and ask Bill about the Boer Bok chops.  He has tried them and will tell you all about it. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You can now purchase Boer Bok at George Bowers Grocery.......

George Bowers Grocery  based in Staunton, Virginia, is a community grocery store that sells "staple goods & fancy groceries", just as it did over 100 years ago.   It is a locally owned grocery selling local produce and meats and goods as well as fancy imported treats and now locally grown Boer Bok!  Stop by and pick up some Boer Bok chops for dinner.  The chops even have a recipe on the package created by Clay!  Also be watching for the Friday night Boer Bok tasting at George Bowers Grocery.  Sounds like fun. 

I spent my local food dollars at George Bowers on wonderful Asphodel Bee Yard raw varietal honey.  YUM!!  You can read about it on the George Bowers Face Book page.  Brian does a great job with his facebook page.  I am working on one........

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The girls are on TV...............

Yep, they are actually on TV showing off their foraging skills.  NBC 29 and WHSV TV 3  both came out to the Boer Bok Field day this afternoon.  You can watch the videos that were on the news by clicking the links above.  On the TV 3 link you will have to scroll through the videos at the right and look for the one that says Boer Bok Goats.  Who would have ever thought the girls would end up on TV?   

We had a great Field Day and appreciate all of you who came out to learn about using Boer Bok to control invasive species.  For those of you who attended, make sure you check back in a week to see how much of the forage you saw today has been consumed by our "Biological Control Agents." 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The girls are in the news......

The News Virginian and News Leader that is.  Click on the links to read both stories.  We are busy getting ready for the Boer Bok Field day tomorrow.  There is a lot of news I need to update on the blog.  I will update it in the next few days.  Meanwhile you can read both of these articles. 

One exciting thing I want to tell you about is that Peck's BBQ is preparing our Boer Bok BBQ for the field day lunch.  

We took a Boer Bok Bone in Leg for them to practice with and we got to go for a taste testing.  What a treat!  Clay and I have always loved Lexington style BBQ.  We never dreamed we would be able to eat a healthy BBQ with our own Boer Bok meat!  

I will update the blog in a few days, lots of news to tell you about.  Including video of the girls arriving at their latest job.  
 Until then......

Friday, May 7, 2010

We are listed on the Virginia Grown website......

We are officially Virginia GrownThis is another great website to find local foods.  Check it out.

My only complaint is that they don't have a goat on their logo.  It is always about the cows, chickens and pigs.  What about the goats?  :)

Boer Bok Field Day................

What are South African Boer Bok and what are they doing at the  Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, VA?  

There will be a field day at the Museum on Thursday, May 20th to find out how Boer Bok control invasive species and to look at land management options and programs available once invasives are suppressed or eliminated.  Click here to see the official  flyer.

This is a free event for landowners to see how you can use the South African Boer Bok as biological control agents for invasive species such as Autumn Olive, Multi-flora Rose, Honeysuckle and many more.  Biological control represents a viable alternative to the use of herbicides and their effects on streams and watersheds.  

The field day starts at 9:00 am in the Octagonal Barn with an overview of using  the Boer Bok by Clay and Linda Trainum.  This will be followed by a discussion of land management options and state and federal programs available by speakers from the Headwaters SWCD and NRCS, as well as a local forester.  Then it is out to the field to see the Boer Bok at work.  

A Boer Bok BBQ lunch will be available for $5.00.  This event is sponsored by Autumn Olive Farms, Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, The Frontier Culture Museum, and Farm Credit.  Preregistration and $5.00 lunch payment is requested so we will know how much food to prepare.  You can register by calling Lorraine Cormier, Shenandoah RC & D at 540-248-3321 or online at 

We are excited about this opportunity and hope you will be able to attend.  You can contact me at if you have questions.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Luke's cooking demo was a success......

Luke demonstrated his Rosemary Red Wine Boer Bok Roast and his Boer Bok Chops at the Montpelier Wine Festival.  We were literally in James Madison's meadow in front of his house.  How cool is that?  I read on the website that Thomas Jefferson called him "the best farmer in America!"  Luke has always been interested in Revolutionary History and that made it even more special.  

I posted his recipes under the recipe page at the top of the blog.  We will be adding more as we go, so check back for new ways to prepare Boer Bok.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Luke is in the kitchen....

Luke is in the kitchen perfecting his recipe for the Montpelier Wine Festival this Sunday.  At 3:15 he will be roasting a Boer Bok leg with red wine and he will also be searing Boer Bok chops marinated with a white wine marinade.  He is using wine from Barboursville Vineyard.  Both of these recipes were created by him.  He has not given them a name, but when he does I will post the recipes on the blog for you to try.  I will video him doing the cooking demo at the festival and post it on the blog for those of you who can't be there.  

Luke is only 16 years old and is one of those blessed individuals with a discerning palate.  He has been interested in cooking since he was about 4 years old!  He is a creative cook and likes to come up with his own recipes.  We can't wait to taste the roasted Boer Bok leg.  

Hope to see you on Sunday at 3:15 in the cooking with wine tent. Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Boer Bok has gone Gourmet......

Greenwood Gourmet Grocery that is.   You can now find Boer Bok on the other side of the mountain at this wonderful store.  Greenwood Gourmet Grocery is located in Greenwood on Hwy 250 near the I64 Crozet exit.  

You will find an extensive wine and brew collection plus all kinds of gourmet goodies and local foods beautifully displayed in their store. They also prepare foods in their kitchen daily and you might just see Boer Bok as one of the dishes of the day!  

You can purchase Boer Bok loin chops, loin roasts, bone-in leg roasts and bone-in shoulder roasts there.   If you need something for a special occasion, let Nina know and we can usually  have it there in a couple of days.    

We are excited to have Boer Bok available for you to purchase at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery on the East side of the Blue Ridge and Cranberry's Grocery and Eatery on the West side of the Blue Ridge.  Keep your dollars local and shop at these wonderful locally owned stores!  Remember what just $10 a week can do!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

You can now purchase Boer Bok at Cranberry's........

We are excited to let you know that you can purchase our Boer Bok meat at Cranberry's Grocery and Eatery in Staunton.  Cranberry's is a really neat store and cafe in historic downtown Staunton.  They are just up the street from the Visitors Center.  They have local foods plus herbal remedies, wonderful smelling goat's milk soap, a whole lot more and now Boer Bok! 

They have a supply of Boer Bok chops and ribs with Clay's own recipes on the package.  You can also order other cuts such as boneless and bone in leg roasts, shoulder roasts, loin roasts and neck roasts and organ meats. Just let Kathleen know and we can usually have it there the next day for you.  

We will be at Cranberry's on a Saturday in May cooking samples for you to try.  Check back for the date. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The girls are getting ready to hit the road......

It has been a long hard winter and the girls are ready to hit the road.  Check out our Video link to see the girls practicing getting on and off the trailer. They are ready to do some serious defoliation on those relentless invasives that are taking over the Valley.  The Autumn Olive, Honeysuckle, Multi-flora Rose, Privet, Oriental Bittersweet, and Kudzu just to name a few don't stand a chance! 

They will be returning to the Frontier Culture Museum in a couple of weeks.  We will let you know so you can go by and welcome them back.  We will also be looking for volunteer Shepherds to help keep watch on the herd while they are there.  If you are interested please contact us. 

Save the date....We will be hosting a field day at the Museum on  Thursday, May 20th.  More details will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Look at what $10 a week can do..........

If each household in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia spent just $10 per week of their total food dollars on fresh local produce and Virginia based farm products the dollars returned to the community would look like this.

Cities and Counties of the Central Shenandoah Valley Region: $59,848,360!

Thats right. Almost $60 million annually!

Broken down into our areas: 
Augusta County $15,315,040
Waynesboro $4,831,320
Staunton $5,659,160

These are community food dollars generated and reinvested in Shenandoah Valley area agriculture and local independent businesses from a small conscious decision to buy local.  JUST $10 A WEEK!  Think about it. 

These statistics were complied by Matt Benson and Eric Bendfeldt, Community Viability Specialists, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Look for us in Flavor Magazine...........

Look for us in the Local Grazings section of Flavor Magazine this month.  Flavor is a beautiful magazine that focuses on local food and sustainable agriculture.  Check out their website and Facebook page for more info. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

We are In the Kitchen......

We are featured in the April issue of In The Kitchen Magazine .  Rowena Morrel came and spent a wonderful afternoon with us in early March.  We prepared her lunch with ingredients from our farm. We talked about the many different facets of our farm and she beautifully wove it all together in her article. You can find the magazine at major grocery retailers and restaurants in the area.  It is full of great articles about food and also has a meal planner and recipes. Check out the In The Kitchen Magazine online.  It will inspire you to try something new for dinner tonight!  Can't find a copy locally?  Send me an email at and I'll send it to you in pdf. 

To our Sheep Farmer Friends........

In the recent "In the Kitchen" article April 1, the writer marvelously covered many facets of our Boer Bok program and did an outstanding job. On the concept of healthy foraging however we did not convey clearly to her one of the very important aspects that is causing so much damage in the goat industry and more specifically Boer Goat herd health. That is the topic of grazing vs browsing. In the article sheep were  attributed with being plagued with the intestinal parasite problem. Actually it is the goat and more specifically the boer goat that has suffered with this malady as a result of being managed like sheep and not goats. You can see the confusion, in fact most universities still teach this failed model or the latest version of it.  

We do not raise sheep but know that sheep are primarily grazers ie they eat grasses in a head down fashion similar to cattle.  Goats on the other hand are primarily browsers ie they eat the forages that are available at a higher level or head up much like their cousin the deer. The huge health issue with meat goats in this country has been the organized determination to raise goats like sheep and cattle. That is, to put them in a pasture management program where they have nothing to eat but grasses. It is GOATS and not sheep that are plagued with parasite issues from this design, even using rotational models.  

"Goats on grass", came about as best we can tell, as a well intentioned plan of how to effectively integrate the newly imported Boer Bok onto existing farms around the country in the late 1990's. We have been to numerous college seminars and each promoted a singular model of effective foraging on various grasses using rotational grazing techniques. Unfortunately this has been very much a "learn as you go" research lab where the standards continue to change as more bad health news confirmed the current models have been insufficient. So insufficient in fact that the Boer Bok, the finest meat goat in the world has suffered greatly. In our 5 years of active management we believe strongly and can validate that this "weakness" represents a failed management protocol and not a breed deficiency as is commonly bantered about. After much looking, we still know of no parasite problem in any herd where improper herd management is not the central cause. It would appear that folks can't successfully raise boer bok because they are not yet qualified to do so. It requires a model to fit the animal for there to be success and although not perfected yet we are having that success.

It sounds so simplistic for us to say "these goats are eating what they were designed to eat," but it is in fact, the difference in success and failure for the meat goat industry. Using our invasive plant species model in the valley as our primary forage base, we have seen our herd health issues plummet when compared to our previous model in NC. There we had a modified model trying to make the standardized university models work by using rotational pastures supplemented with head up foraging in timbered woodlands and right of ways. That required us to go "old school", taking out the whole herd once or twice daily on free ranging expeditions in the woodlands or along a utility easement beside the highway. We met a lot of people who were so amazed that the boer bok could work literally along the side of the highway with no barriers, eating their way on at least 30 varieties of plants. It would only take one hour for them to be bulging full and ready to head home for some quality "cud time".

We do appologize to the writer and to all the fine sheep produces for the lack of clarity on this important and complicated topic. This problem is with the meat goat producers and not the sheep.

Friday, April 2, 2010

You can now find us.......

Autumn Olive Farms can now be found on the web at Local Harvest and The Eat Well Guide.  Both of these sites are full of interesting information to help people who want to eat real food raised by real farmers find local products in their area. The Eat Well Guide even helps you plan where to eat local foods if you are traveling.  Local Harvest has a recipe link on our page that links you to 90 recipes using goat cheese or goat meat. Check them out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Buy Fresh Buy Local.............

We are listed in the Buy Fresh Buy Local  guide and will also be listed in the Farmer-Chef Express.  Virgina is working hard at connecting the local farms and local consumers.  From the BFBL site "Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in your community. Getting to know the farmers who grow your food builds relationships based on understanding and trust, the foundation of strong communities." We are excited to be a part of  Buy Fresh Buy Local!

Savor Staunton............

Check out the new website for culinary tourism.  It is a beautiful website and it highlights some of the wonderful places to eat in Staunton.  
We are especially excited about this because it links the goats being at the Frontier Culture Museum to the restaurants where Boer Bok is served.  I can't tell you how many times we have been out tending the herd and someone stops and asks where they can taste Boer Bok.  
Staunton is a destination place for people who love to travel and eat locally grown food.  If you are in the area, be sure to stop by the Frontier Culture Museum in May and see the herd at work. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Boer Bok is a hit at The Ivy Inn.......

Boer Bok was on the menu at Ivy Inn's "Get To Know Your Local Farmer Spring Equinox Dinner" last Saturday night. It was a special tasting dinner featuring food from local farms.
Our Boer Bok was served as a Katskiaki (Greek word for goat) gyro canape. Aren't you glad we chose the name Boer Bok for our goat meat instead of Boer Katsikaki?  I would never be able to spell or say it right!  We heard that it was quite a hit and will be served as an appetizer course next week.   
You can read Chef Angelo's blog about the dinner and see more pictures of the meat being prepared on his website.  Here is the link You are what you eat!  The dinner was also covered by Rowena Morrel and will be in the April edition of "In The Kitchen" magazine.
PS. We are preparing and serving Boer Bok gyros for our family Easter meal. Can't wait. Yum!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Boer Bok is on the menu this weekend at Zynodoa's...................

The chefs are excited to have a new and different product to work with. "Amazing" was the term conveyed to us regarding the introductory dish prepared at Zynodoa. You may wonder about our application of the term "Boer Bok". We use the original and correct term for our South African Boer Goats which is Boer Bok. This is the Dutch term used by the South African farmers that literally means "Farmers Goat". Not only is this the correct term for our genetics, it is also helpful deflecting the negative connotations of "goat". Those negatives are NOT representative of quality Boer Bok. Well there is one exception to that. As much as we wish it were otherwise, we do confess that male Boer Bok during breeding season do look a lot like all male goats in breeding season.
Here is the link

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is on its way..............

There are signs that Spring is on its way at Autumn Olive Farms. As you can see from this picture, the goats are starting to shed their winter coats and rubbing their fur off on the trees. The birds are going to be thrilled to line their nests with fur when they start their nest building. Another sign that Spring is on the way is the goats are running, jumping and playing. They are saying good bye and good riddance to the snow!
The dogs on the other hand are not thrilled with the weather change. They think this has been the best winter of their lives! They were the ones jumping, running and playing in the 30 inches of snow. They love the snow and cold weather. 
 The goats just put up with it and were happy with their high quality alfalfa/orchard grass hay. As you can see from this picture the winter has not been too hard on them. They just have to eat and ruminate. They are however looking forward to fresh green invasives. Those invasive species plants don’t know what they have coming for them! The goats will be back at the Frontier Culture Museum this spring and they will also be on different projects throughout the county. 
One last picture to share is this hen standing on Alexandra’s back. She was using Alexandra as a foot warmer! The chickens have been pecking bits of dirt and hay off the goats. Unfortunately it is just dirt and hay and not bugs. The chickens are anxiously waiting for the bugs to come out of hiding. When the flies come out the goats will go up to the chickens and lower their heads for the chickens to peck the flies off of them. It is an amazing thing to see. I wish we could send the chickens with the goats when they go to do their invasive species management, but it is not cost effective to use poultry net for fencing. The chickens are really going to miss the goats and dogs when they hit the road.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boer Boks are Vogue!

I found this picture of Jessica Biel in the February 2010 issue of Vogue magazine. She is wearing Ralph Lauren and posing with a Boer Bok. We always knew the Boers were Vogue! Unfortunately you won't see me in this outfit while I am tending the herd. It costs about $4000. :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Her last round.....

Zoe made her last round on Saturday checking to make sure everything was okay after she spent the night in the house. Friday evening I discovered that her cancer had advanced and she was declining. We brought her in the house for the night and started her on pain meds to keep her comfortable. We knew this was going to be her last weekend at the farm. She felt much better on Saturday morning and we let her go back out with the herd. She went right to work to check on things and to see what had happened in her absence overnight. She then made a bed in the hay with Mudflap and Chloe laying with her. They knew that she was not well. She spent Saturday night in the house and once again she felt like going out with the herd on Sunday. Later that afternoon, I found her surrounded by the goats in her bed of hay. That was her last time with the herd.

Zoe was a very sweet dog with loving eyes. I remember Dr. Anderson from the NC State Vet School commenting that he had never seen such friendly livestock guardian dogs. She fell in love with Dr. Bowman here in VA at Commonwealth Vet Clinic. She did not act like an LGD. She put her paw on him and just looked at him with her sweet eyes. It was almost embarrassing she was supposed to be a mean and tough LGD! We formed an unconventional relationship with our LGDs. We could not have mean dogs with children and older folks visiting our farm. Even though she was a sweet dog and never seemed to do much in the way of guarding the goats there was more to her than met the eye. We have never lost a goat to a predator. We had a large coyote population at our farm in NC and birthed almost 100 kids there and never lost a kid to a coyote or any other predator. Thank you Zoe. You will be sadly missed by your family, Mudflap, Chloe and your herd.

These are some of my favorite pictures that were taken at our farm in NC. Zoe was just under a year of age and already knew how to take care of young kids.

February 2005 - January 2010