Artist Dana Gentile and film editor Abbi Jutkowitz were your garden variety Brooklyn foodies and sustainable farming advocates. Until an apprenticeship at an upstate goat farm provided an epiphany: “I realized that I loved goats, and it was something I could potentially make into a career.”
Now Dana lives in Saugerties (while Abbi splits her time between her new bucolic life and Brooklyn), renting land from that same farmer she apprenticed with. They’ve created Darlin’ Doe Farm with a few dozen goats that are raised for meat, not milk (the breed doesn’t produce much milk.) While they love the animals, they also love the meat. Call them compassionate carnivores.
Their Little House on the Prairie lifestyle (they often do without internet) complements their environmental convictions. Goat, it turns out, is the ultimate eco-friendly meat. Smaller than cows, goats are browsers (not grazers) and get their food from a huge variety of vegetation, including grass, bark, and weeds. Dana also gives them an all-natural feed that does not contain fillers or antibiotics.
The goat’s healthy diet translates into a meat that’s healthy to consume. Goat has about the same fat and caloric content as chicken but with all the flavor and protein of red meat. Surprisingly, goat is the most widely consumed red meat in the world, but here in the U.S. it has only just begun to catch on. And the biggest hurdle to its popularity is that few know how to cook it. That’s changing though. Just this week the New York Times ran a Michael Pollan essay about cooking a whole goat over an open fire, and the day before featured a recipe for Slow-Cooked Goat Shoulder.
“The trick is to cook goat at a low temperature for a long time and with enough liquid to keep the meat moist and tender,“ Dana explains. “Roasting yields results similar to lamb. Preparing goat meat for a stew will give you meat that’s more like pulled pork—juicy goodness easily coming off the bone.” —Daphne Muller