We started in 2004 with 3 goats - Betty, Wilma and Ellie.
They were closely followed after a few weeks by Thelma and Daphne.
And, believe it or not, that was what we used until August 2011! We used to milk almost 100 goats coming through the parlour 2 at a time ... So, you see why we were SO pleased to get the new parlour milking 12 at a time.
We did not start selling the milk until January 2008 - until that time we didn't really have enough to sell and it took us a while to get all the dairy and equipment sorted to a point where we could be licenced by the local EHO and Trading Standards. These were the very first bottles we sold to Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham on 26 Jan 2008 (centre of pic with white lids):
Before we starting selling the milk properly, we drank it ourselves of course. Previously, we had only ever tasted mass-produced supermarket milk and neither of us liked it very much at all. I can remember the very first time that we tasted our home-produced milk. Standing in the dairy, we had a small mug of milk each and neither of us wanted to be the first to try it. We both screwed up our faces in anticipation of something really horrid ... and then both of us burst out laughing and said 'actually, it's pretty good really!'. We were so surprised by the taste - fresh, creamy and not goaty in the slightest. Amazing!!! Even to this day, we have managed to maintain this freshness and flavour, as all our customers will testify. I think it has to be a combination of how we look after the goats and what we feed them.
We also dabbled with cheesemaking in my kitchen. Here's a pic of David taken in 2007 with our first ever cheeses in their moulds: