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.

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.