By Gregory Daurer | Feb 22, 2021
"People, when they try our caramel sauce, they get really jazzed," says Adare.
That's music to the ears of folks who are lactose-intolerant.
"Some people with [dairy] allergies can't digest the type of protein structure that's in cows, but they can digest the protein structure in goats," says Adare. Even for people who aren't lactose-intolerant, there are still benefits to goat's milk: "Goat's milk takes about 20 minutes for your body to digest and cow's milk takes about four hours," she says.
Since Adare believes that "goat's milk is a fantastic alternative to cow's milk," it follows then that her artisan caramel sauces made from goat's milk are fantastic alternatives to commercially available, dairy-filled varieties. In fact, three of her specialty sauces -- with the flavors vanilla bean, salted dark chocolate, and cinnamon vanilla -- won Good Food Awards in 2021.
And it's not like Adare is unfamiliar with the dairy industry: While leading the nonprofit Dairy in Developing Countries, she helped farmers become self-sustainable, advising them on animal nutrition and husbandry. "I'm transferring some of that knowledge to my own farm," she says.
Adare plans to start a micro-dairy on the 12-acre farm in Longmont where she lives with her husband and daughter -- and her six goats. But that's going to involve a series of steps, before additional goats are added: finalizing architectural plans, making sure the land is properly irrigated, and building the topsoil so that it's suitable for grazing.
"We would be absorbing so much carbon from the environment, if we can just get those top two inches going with [beneficial] microorganisms," she says of her regenerative farming goals, which include the eventual rotation of different types of animals on the land to be grazed. "I think that would just be the achievement of a lifetime."
After making her first batches, Adare realized the caramel sauce could be a "value-added product that could really differentiate us," and help move the farm towards self-sufficiency. But, until she can pasteurize her own goat's milk at her very own dairy, Adare's commercial caramel sauces are made with goat milk sourced from Mini Moos in Cañon City, Colorado.
At a commercial kitchen in South Boulder, Adare boils the goat milk, adds cane sugar, and then mixes in spices -- as well as, for one product, whiskey. One thing she doesn't incorporate, though, is any thickening agents: no "soy-based additives, corn syrup, or corn starch to quicken caramelization." Instead, "We use the ancient approach, which is time," Adare explains. "Time and evaporation. . . . Making the caramel sauce is a five-hour process."
The caramel sauces are available at Whole Foods stores in the Rocky Mountain region, as well as about a dozen additional retailers and a few gift box companies. Or they can be purchased straight from the farm's website. Adding to the word of mouth, Adare's products have received favorable mentions from the New York Times and Epicurious.
Table Mountain Farms' slogan -- "For the love of goats" -- reflects Adare's passion for the horned ruminants. "What's not to love about goats?" she muses. "They're fantastic for the environment. They're the sweetest animals, they really are. They're like glorified dogs."
Calling herself a "complete extrovert" doing the introverted work of farming, Adare says her social itch gets scratched by her personable charges, who have names like Sienna, Echo, and Brownie. "I think they're just wonderful, humble, magical creatures," she notes.
Challenges: "Getting ourselves out there," says Adare. "Trying to maintain the quality, the high standard of the flavor, which requires a five-hour cook time," while still meeting growing demand.
Opportunities: Reaching people who have dietary restrictions. Adare has spoken to people who haven't tasted caramel sauce in years, because they're allergic to cow's milk. She says, "It's, like, 10 percent of Americans over the age of 20 have some form of a lactose [intolerance]. A third of children have signs of lactose intolerance." She adds, "94 percent of those kids with those allergies are able to digest goat's milk."
Needs: "To get this dairy up and running," says Adare. "It's going to take us months, so we probably won't be up and running until this summer ."