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December 14, 2011 - 11:03am

Brothers in Bethany trying to craft a living making and selling goat cheese

posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, Bethany.

Two brothers (Trystan and Max Sandvoss) bought a former horse farm in Bethany a year ago and are now raising goats and making cheese, according to a lengthy article in the Buffalo News.

No one was selling cheese they made from goats who grazed in the green fields of Western New York. "Here, between Buffalo and Rochester there's a bigger market than Seattle," Trystan said.

Spreadable chevre, in double cream, garlic, dill or other flavors? Fresh cheddar curds that squeak between your teeth? For those, First Light Creamery would have first dibs on local cheese fans' wallets.

So the Sandvosses moved to Genesee County in April 2010. They worked on their cheese labels, each bearing the name reflecting their double mission: First Light Farm and Creamery. They retrofitted the stables to house goats, built sanitary rooms for making, storing and packaging cheese. They reached out to nearby farmers to trade byproducts, like their whey (cheese runoff), for a couple of the pigs it would feed.

The Sandvosses aren't quite farmsteaders yet. Their young herd includes 45 goats, with 23 producing milk -- not enough yet to meet demand for their cheese, found at more than 10 farmers' markets this summer and outlets like Premier Gourmet, Farmers and Artisans and the Lexington Co-Op. So for now they blend their herd's milk with high-quality, organic Jersey cow milk from neighbor Brent Tillotson's farm.

So far they've sold pretty much everything they've made, Trystan said. Staffing their farmers' market booth puts them directly in touch with customers, and they appreciate the chance to explain the fine points of their labors.

kevin kretschmer
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There was an article about them in the Daily News this past summer. I believe it mentioned their products being sold at Harrington's. We bought some of the garlic & herb cheese curds at the Farmers Market in Geneseo, very smooth flavor.

Doug Yeomans
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I've been off of cow dairy for a while and want to try goats milk. Does anyone know where to obtain goats milk in the Bethany area?

Mary Margaret Ripley
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We just started selling First Light's Cheeses at Scratch Bakery. We stock six different varieties and are very excited to be selling not only their cheeses but also local eggs.

Daniel Jones
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Goat's cheese is delicious! The only place i can ever find it is at middle eastern stores in the larger cities, good to see it being produced and, as Mary now said, sold right here in Genesee County.

kevin kretschmer
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The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail features several Goat Dairies. I've been to Lively Run in Interlaken and can say from first-hand experience, their product is quite good. Side Hill Acres Dairy Goat Farm in Candor sells all forms of goat dairy products, including milk and yogurt.

Billie Owens
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I have not tried local goat's milk cheese but plan on doing so. I have bought goat cheese spreads at Tops. That store also stocks goat's milk yogurt in the organic fridge section and it's very tasty. Since we're all poised to live in the yogurt capital of the Northeast (to start with), I hope those yogurt makers take note and offer some of this type, too. That would be good for goat herd owners like the Sandvoss brothers!

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