Gramac Farm – February 2015 – Featured Farm

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At Gramac Farm, healthy animals are happy animals. TheGrill’s raise South African Boer meat goats on mixed pasture and woodlands ontheir farm in Monroe County. Susan Grill, who is an avid gardener and atalented ceramicist, grew up on a cattle farm in Pennsylvania. Erik Grill grew up in the same small town. He spent several years in East Africa doing protein studies on game animals. Although they didn’t start dating until after college, the Grills have known each other most of their lives.

The pursuit of another adventure led them here from Casper, Wyoming to start Gramac Farm in 2011. They both wanted to stay active during their retirement, and the climate of southern West Virginia is ideal for raising goats and keeping a garden. As first time goat farmers, they are learning fast how to best care for their animals. “We watch the goats closely,” says Susan. “If they are not chewing their cud, if they are acting nervous, or if their tail is not alert and up, then we know something is wrong.” While I was at the farm, the Grills and I, along with their two giant Italian Maremma guard dogs and the entire Boer herd, went on a walk around the property. We walked down into a valley where an abundance of pine trees grow. Erik and Susan bent down the tops of the branches so the goats could have an afternoon snack. They explained that pine needles are a highly prized treat for the goats, not only because they love to eat them, but because they help with parasite management. “People think goats will eat anything, but they are actually very particular,” says Erik.

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Gramac goats are raised on non-certified organic pasture and hay cut from the Grill’s top fields. In the fall, the goats graze for acorns and eat apples and pears from the fruit trees on the property. They are never fed or injected with any stimulants, hormones or supplements of any kind. Their goats are registered with the American Boer Goat Association, with many having ennoblements in their pedigrees. Although goat meat is still considered a rare delicacy in American kitchens, it is the most consumed red meat worldwide.

 Gramac Farm offers a variety of delicious goat meat recipes, preparation tips and ideas at their market booth at the Indoor Winter Farmers Market @ the State Fairgrounds, 9:30am- 2pm. on Saturdays. Erik and Susan feature goat meat for sale at Johnnie’s Meat Market in the Capital Market in Charleston. They also offer whole goats, packages and a variety of cuts directly from the farm for holidays or ceremonies. You may also contact them directly by phone, 304-832-6194, or through their website, Gramacfarm.com, if you are interested in any breeding stock, 4H wethers, or goat meat for sale.

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