Book Review: It's time to celebrate National Goat Cheese Month

"Living with Goats" by Margaret Hathaway, Photographs by Karl Schatz; 978-1-59921-492-4; Pages: 198; $24.95; Publication Date: Oct. 1, 2009; Hardcover; Non-Fiction; Published by The Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press.

"Raising Meat Goats for Profit" by Gail B. Bowman; 978-0-9670381-0-3; Pages, 255; $19.95; Publication Date: 1999; Soft-cover; Non-Fiction; Published by Bowman Communications Press.

August is National Goat Cheese Month! There are many recipes for making goat cheese on the Internet, but the best way to obtain this delicacy is from your neighborhood grocery store. Goats are people-friendly and historically important for the three major religions. In the spring, all these sects are often highlighted by their celebrations involving goats or goat meat (chevon).

Living with Goats by Margaret Hathaway is being published Oct. 1 and is an excellent resource book for those who want to raise either dairy or meat goats. Finding good information about goats is very difficult if you do not have access to the Internet. Few books are desk reference manuals where you can look up sites and suppliers of unique materials related to goat raising. This book is clearly that manual.

The "How To's" in this book relate to testing for diseases, what to look for in buying goats, and how to connect with an experienced mentor that will ease the selection process.

A shortcoming of the book is it does not specifically get into the treatment of problems encountered by the novice goat herder, but does send the reader scurrying to obtain more information. Experienced veterinarians take courses relating to goats, however, very few have been exposed to daily treatment. Establishing a goat facility for either dairy or meat production and interviewing the right veterinarian is vital for keeping the herd healthy.

Another book is Raising Meat Goats for Profit by Gail Bowman. Even though this book was written in 1999, it contains many great ideas for calculating costs of feeding, care, and profit. Some of the methods are greatly detailed and describe the care of goats which is very helpful, but the dollar amounts are dated when it comes to the cost of feed and resale. Changing to today's costs is not difficult since the basic formulas are there.

Some special recipes are contained in Bowman's book. Chevon is the name given to goat meat and how to prepare it is quite different than beef preparation. Think about Texas Ranch-Style Gumbo or Chevon Teriyaki or Stir-Fry Chevon with Green Onions, just to name a few. They are wonderfully described in this book. Goat meat is lower in cholesterol and fat. It is actually more heart healthy than chicken!

Chevon is not readily available in the stores because the demand has not been great in the United States. World-wide consumption of Chevon is 63%. As more marketing of the beneficial use of this meat is forthcoming, the consumer will become more educated. The United States only imports 1 million metric tons of chevon per year because there are not enough goats being raised domestically. This is an opportunity to become a goat herder.

Together, these books discuss how prolific goat raising has become. Each doe is capable of having 1.5 kids per gestation period. This means that on average they can have 3 kids per year since the gestation period is 5 months. Many goats have triplets and it is common to have twins. Goat herds grow in population very quickly and it is possible to have 60 goats in a very short time. Goats are very manageable because they are docile. Even a small child can lead them around by a leash. Where you live determines how you will care for goats.

Both of these books are recommended as being useful in the care and feeding of goats. However, if you have been raising goats for some time, you already know most of the facts contained in these books. New goat owners or those considering raising goats will benefit from the basics discussed.

Publisher's Weekly

Best Selling Books

Week of Aug. 24

Fiction

1. South of Broad. Pat Conroy; Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $29.95. 978-0-385-41305-3.

2. Smash Cut. Sandra Brown; Simon & Schuster, $26.99. 978-1-416-56308-2.

3. The Help. Kathryn Stockett; Putnam/Amy Einhorn, $24.95. 9780399155345.

4. That Old Cape Magic. Richard Russo; Knopf, $25.95. 978-0-375-41496-1.

5. The Girl Who Played with Fire. Stieg Larsson; Knopf, $25.95. 978-0-307-26998-0.

Non-Fiction

1. Culture of Corruption. Michele Malkin; Regnery, $27.95. 978-1-59698-109-6.

2. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia Child; Knopf, $40. 978-0-375-41340-7.

3. Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man. Steve Harvey; Amistad, $23.99. 978-0-06-172897-6.

4. Outliers. Malcolm Gladwell; Little, Brown, $27.99. ISBN 9780316017923.

5. In the President's Secret Service. Ronald Kessler; Crown, $26. 978-0-307-46135-3.