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JUNE 09, 2009 04:06 AM

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A Boer goat, raised for meat, poses for a photo at Sand Lily Farm in Bend.
Melissa Jansson / The Bulletin

Farm fresh

Local goat farmer pens cookbook

By Penny Nakamura / For The Bulletin
Published: June 09. 2009 4:00AM PST

Farmer Patricia Moore has got your goat — both literally and figuratively.

As owner of Sand Lily Farm in Bend, Moore has expanded her production of goat meat over the past couple of years, and she’s well prepared for the crowd at the Bend Farmers Market over the summer.

While Moore may have heard every goat joke out there while introducing her goat meat two years ago to a skeptical crowd, she now seems to be getting the last laugh, as this red meat is gaining in popularity.

“It has a sweet taste, it’s not gamey and it’s always tender. It’s lower in fat and calories than a skinless chicken breast, and it’s higher in protein and iron, too,” explained Moore, a former horticulturist. “It’s also an easily digestible meat.”

Goat meat, also known as “chevon” in French, and “cabrito” in Spanish, is the most consumed red meat in the world, according to Moore.

“Goat meat is believed to make up some 80 percent of the total meat consumed in the world,” said Moore at her 80-acre goat farm.

“It’s a very popular meat in the Middle East, African countries, Latin America and the Caribbean, and it’s getting more popular here and (in) Europe, too.”

Moore, and her partner, Cheryl Powers, began selling their goat meat at the farmers market two years ago, and they’ve found uninitiated buyers are always curious and often cautious.

Which is why Moore co-authored a new goat meat cookbook with Sisters cookbook author Jill Charlotte Stanford, titled “Getting Your Goat — The Gourmet Guide.”

“I found while I was at the market selling our USDA cuts of (goat) meat, that so many people would be asking me for recipes, and asking questions on how to prepare different cuts, that I thought I should just write a book,” said Moore, who also wanted to educate people about goat meat. “We’d also get people at the market who were vacationing in Bend, and they wanted to know where they could buy goat meat in their area, or state, so we have an entire portion of the book where they can get in contact with other goat farmers who sell.”

The meat of the matter

Like beef, goat meat has several types of cuts, including shank, shoulder, rack, loin, sirloin and legs. Sand Lily Farm sends its goats to the Willamette Valley to be butchered and wrapped into frozen, sealed packages.

Sand Lily Farm prices range from $7 per pound for ground goat meat to $10.25 per pound for high-end cuts such as chops.

However, unlike beef, goat meat has a smaller carbon footprint, as goats provide about a pound of meat for every pound of feed.

“The conversion for cows is something like 6 pounds of feed for every pound of human food,” said Moore. “For goats, it’s about a 1-to-1 ratio, but if it’s a harsher winter, they may eat more.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 3-ounce cut of goat has 122 calories, 23 grams of protein and 2.6 grams of fat. The same report shows goat meat is 50 to 65 percent lower in fat than similarly prepared cuts of beef.

Moore says Sand Lily Farm’s Boer goats are all naturally fed with no hormones, and most of the year they’re free-range fed on the rolling pasture.

Powers has found that once you get people to try goat, they’re usually hooked.

“It is sort of a high-end meat, because it’s not mass produced, but it’s slowly gaining in popularity, like buffalo meat,” said Powers, as she gazed toward the pasture where a couple dozen baby goats were frolicking. “This cookbook will be great because it will teach people to cook goat and not be afraid of a new meat.”

The book

“Getting Your Goat” has recipes from all around the world, and Moore shares some of her favorites, such as Mediterranean burgers, which she describes like this:

“You won’t find these at the Golden Arches. The surprising addition of spinach, paired with feta cheese and Kalamata olives, brings the flavor of the blue Mediterranean right to your grill.”

Another favorite recipe in the book is Chevon Moroccan, which includes such savory ingredients as cinnamon, raisins, allspice, garlic and almond slices, all stewed together with the goat meat.

Moore suggests serving this stew over couscous for a truly authentic Moroccan dish.

Besides goat meat recipes, the book also includes chapters on preparing appetizers and desserts with goat cheese, and special exotic side dishes that pair well with goat meat.

In the book’s foreword, Moore and Stanford write:

“Goats have been a major source of food since time immemorial. Ancient cave paintings show the hunting of goats.”

With these first sentences, Moore and Stanford engaged Sisters artist Susan Koch to illustrate the cover, which depicts these ancient cave paintings of goats.

The cookbook is available at Moore’s goat meat booth at the Bend Farmers Market in Bend, Barnes & Noble book stores and at Amazon.com. Moore is also hoping to soon get distribution at local book stores in Central Oregon as well.

The cookbook’s publisher, Lightning Source, is based in Ireland, and according to Moore, the book will be distributed in Europe as well.

If you can’t make it to the farmers market, Moore says Sand Lily Farm goat meat is available year-round at Newport Avenue Market in Bend, and the Harvest Basket Market in Sisters.

Penny Nakamura can be reached at halpen1@aol.com.

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