Terrisa Churchill wanders through the field with some of the goats on her and her husband’s farm.
DAYTON — Terrisa and Andrew Churchill began raising goats on their Sedro-Woolley, Wash., property a dozen years ago. They prized the goat milk as a healthy alternative to cow’s milk.
“We were soon transforming all that lovely milk into a variety of cheeses and yogurt,” said Terrisa Churchill, “and even soaps and lotions.”
As development slowly encroached on their rural area in Skagit County, the Churchills decided it was time to relocate. They bought property outside of Dayton and moved there with their goats in 2007.
Today the Churchills have 60 milk-producing does and five bucks for breeding.
“We chose Saanens and Lamancha goats for our farm because of the Saanens’ ability to produce a very high volume and the Lamanchas’ high butterfat content,” Terrisa Churchill said.
The Churchills have four grown children who all now live in Dayton. They also have eight grandchildren. Andrew Churchill works for a local contractor.
The Churchills have signed up to operate the cheese-making part of their business, Grass Roots Goats, in the new Building 1 at Blue Mountain Station. This will be their first time selling cheese and yogurt commercially. They are also in the process of getting their farm certified as a Grade A dairy.
The Churchills plan to start out making gouda, chevre and feta cheeses. They will also sell yogurt, liquid milk and other goat milk products.
Terrisa Churchill is in her second year studying at Walla Walla Community college. She will receive her ag-business degree in June.
“There is so much involved in running a business,” she said. “I needed to be prepared.”