Bob Cassette has been living on a farm in southern Maine since he was born in 1928. His parents came to this country from Canada to work in the woolen mills and they had a small farm in Saco. Bob jokes that he was milking cows when he was 5 and he’s milking goats now that he’s 90. He points out that goats are better because they only have 2 teats and cows have 4!
He’s been making chevre since the 1980’s when goat cheese wasn’t all that popular. Back then, he was only able to sell it in health food stores. Now, folks can buy it at his farm (Chateau Briant). He still believes that only 25% of the population in this country likes goat cheese.
Bob and his late wife started raising goats in 1970 when their 3 sons were teenagers. They wanted their sons to stay focused on what’s really important in life, so they tried getting chickens. That didn’t work. Then, they tried rabbits to no avail. Finally, they got a goat for each of them and that did the trick. The boys became active in 4-H.
They quickly realized that they needed better goats if they were going to show. So, they began to breed Alpines and Saanens. They became very active in the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA).
Bob and his family were the first ones to participate when the classification program was started which is now referred to as an Appraisal. Their aim was and still is to breed superior dairy goats.
Through the years, their goats have won virtually every award there is at the national shows. Now, Bob is a director emeritus of the ADGA.
When his boys were still young, they showed their goats at many of the fairs in New England. To raise money for the ADGA, they sold goat milk fudge. They had a 2 ft square pan and they typically sold 20 pans worth of fudge. At one fair, they sold 50! They raised thousands of dollars this way.
Bob’s middle son, Phil lives with him now and they run the farm together. In 2014, Phil and another member of the ADGA brought the annual convention to Maine for the first time. Bob is very proud of his son for doing that.
They used to travel to shows all across the country, but now they limit it to a 150 mile radius. Bob doesn’t like to take his goats on the road. He gets very nervous about exposing them to the heat in the summer if his truck breaks down on the road. Also, Saco is near the coast in a heavy tourist area, so he could get stuck in traffic and be unable to attend to his goats.
They currently have 32 goats, the lowest number in many years. They used to winter 50-60. This year they will breed 20 of them.
It’s a lot of work but they have had some help in the last 3 or 4 years. A young couple (they call them barn angels) comes and does chores like mucking out the barn in exchange for milk to make cheese. That has been a big help.
Bob sells goat milk and chevre on site. To arrange a pick up, please call ahead.