The Gola De Allende Goat Farm
By Chad Olsen
Have you been thinking of going to a goat farm? This probably isn’t on your bucket list, but is something to consider when you have guests from up North. The Gola Goat Farm is East of Ajijic in the village of Mezcala. A delightful couple, Juan Diego and Laura, run it. Juan is the expert in raising goats and cheese making, while Laura is in her final year of veterinary school. —The perfect team for a goat farm!
The village of Mezcala has been upgraded since we were here last, with some newer roads and a renovated town plaza. Many of the roads are still very rough and an arbitrary closure for a birthday party, or a funeral, made us detour and our last leg of the trip to the farm was very bumpy.
The first activity on our tour was a delicious breakfast of granola and goat yogurt. The goat yogurt came in peach, berry, thick, like Greek yogurt, and thin, like the regular Mexican yogurt you get at most Lakeside stores. There was also a nice bowl of fruit; peach, kiwi, papaya, etc. The coffee was rich and strong; a little goat’s milk topped it off nicely.
Since the goats will eat most anything, they are kept enclosed except for tours and escorted grazing. Mostly they feed the goats special grass and Moringa, the Drumstick Tree. The Moringa leaves are the most nutritious part of the tree, being a significant source of vitamins B, C, and K, plus beta-carotene, manganese, and protein. The goats also eat plums, plum leaves, branches, bark, your shoelaces and jewelry. Like I said they will eat most anything.
The farm provides all the food needed for the goats; Juan and Laura just need to control what they eat to keep the sweet taste in the goat’s milk.
Something in their future may be goat yoga. Yes, I said goat yoga. Goat yoga is an animal-assisted therapy in a natural setting with this smart, social, and cuddly animal. It’s not a cancer cure, but it is a distraction from politics, work, stress, sickness or depression. Mostly goat yoga is a class with just letting goats do what they want. They might jump on your back, stare at you, burp in your ear, or give goat hugs. Most often they’ll just lie down on your yoga mat and snuggle up next to you. (goatyoga.net)
The next activity was to meet the goats and feed them! Right now there are about 35 goats on the farm and they were delighted to see us with branches from the farm’s numerous plum trees in our hands. The goats are curious and gentle creatures and it was fun feeding and walking around the farm with them.
The finale to our tour was a relaxing goat cheese and wine tasting experience under the plum trees at a beautifully decorated table. The cheeses Juan Diego and Laura make are excellent and are available at some local stores on the Lakeside. They also provided homemade chutney and jellies. This was a time to socialize with other members of the tour. The views of Lake Chapala, Mezcala Island and the village of Mezcala were incredible. The wine was okay, and included in the cost, but next time I think I’ll bring a nicer wine.
The trip back was on Highway 104, Ctra. Chapala-Mezcala. They call it the Mezcala libramiento because it bypasses Mezcala. But Beware! It has many axel-breaking potholes. Juan navigated this obstacle course, like he had done it before! If you are driving, go slow, be watchful, and make sure you go in daylight.
“The goats are looking forward to meeting you.”