The normally happy goats of Kula’s Surfing Goat Dairy probably aren’t that happy these days. Drought conditions have hit the dairy so hard that they’re importing curds from other, like-minded goat farms to keep up with the demand for their local goat cheese. Owner Thomas Kafsack says that even with constant irrigation, the pasture is breaking up. Their water bills are out of the park and their grain bills are increasing due to the bad drought situation on the mainland. “We have to buy much more fresh grass, hay and grains,” says Kafsack. “Our expenses are up 45 percent this year.”
Growth of their goat cheese market has been 15 percent over last year, but the reality is that their increased expenses in 2012 will keep them from showing any profit. Last year, their milking herd was hit hard with the theft of eight milking females, so they only plan to increase their herd by those eight, if at all. What’s more, the drought is hitting fans of their goat cheese in the wallet with a 15 percent price increase. The top five flavors for their goat cheese are Udderly Delicious, Rolling Green, Ole, Men’s Challenge and Feta.
The dairy began producing chocolate truffles containing their goat cheese in 2001 and sold more than 50,000 pieces in the first year. The growth of their truffle market is projected to double this year with the top five flavors being Maui Coffee, Hazelnut, Lilikoi, Mint and Kula Strawberry/Balsamic. They have also just added Toasted Coconut and Lychee flavors.
Kafsack says fans of the goats “can help by bringing their organic green waste here so our girls can have some additional yumminess.”