By Tianna Albrecht
Rock Ridge Dairy is owned and operated by Patrick and Cherylynn Bos. The dairy is located on the Bos family farm near Ponoka, which houses a goat milk and cheese processing facility. Since its humble beginnings, the facility has expanded to become fully automated with state-of-the-art machinery.
This doesn't mean that the work is easy. Staff are up bright and early at 4:00 a.m. every morning to start the milking process (now done with machines) and the goats are milked again at 4:00 p.m. If the goats are not milked twice a day, 12 hours apart, there is a decrease in milk production of approximately 10%!
Rock Ridge Dairy products include whole goat milk, feta cheese and chèvre cheese, and have recently expanded to include certified organic cow's milk and cream. Though Rock Ridge Dairy raises their own herd of approximately 400 goats, they also receive milk from surrounding farmers for processing. Products from Rock Ridge Dairy are sold to major grocery chains across Western Canada under various labels such as Oak Island and Happy Days Brands.
A couple fun facts we learned during our visit:
- A1 beta-casein rich milk comes from breeds of cows that originated in northern Europe, such as Holstein, Friesian, Ayrshire and British Shorthorn. A2 beta-casein rich milk, the same milk found in humans, comes from breeds originating in the Channel Islands and Southern France, such as Jersey, Guernsey, Charolais and Limousin. A2 milk also includes sheep and goat milk.
As A1 milk has been linked to triggering inflammatory responses in the body, it's great to have other options available for consumers like goat and Jersey milk from Rock Ridge, especially for those with milk sensitivities.
- Some consumers have commented that Rock Ridge goat milk doesn't taste like goat milk. They take that as a compliment! As goat milk ages, the natural bacteria populate, giving it a "goaty" flavour. Therefore, the fresher the milk, the better it tastes!
The most important take home message came from Cherylynn at the end of the tour, "Without consumers recognizing and supporting your product, there is no way local businesses can survive.”
Rock Ridge Dairy products can be found in Edmonton at Blush Lane, Pangea Market, the Italian Centre Shop and through Organic Box Home Delivery. To find a list of all their retail locations, visit their website at www.rockridgedairy.com.
Next stop: Irvings Farm Fresh!