The Goat Chronicles 2 – July 15, 2011
I would like to publicly express my apologies for yelling at Mary Keehn after the neighborhood meeting for the Cypress Grove project. I have given a longer apology to Mary, and she felt it appropriate that I additionally make a public apology.
I try to walk a path of peace in my life, and I apologize for behaving belligerantly, frightening Mary and lowering the standards of public discourse.
Let dead goat projects lie
I must take exception to your one-man drumbeating campaign to reconsider establishing several thousand goats in a small open space west of the town.
As a major news-mogul, you no doubt live in air-conditioned comfort in a hilltop mansion, but the rest of us humble downtown folk wake up most mornings already to the stench of the thousand or so cattle already flatulating their way through the grasslands.
The wind is usually wrong in a coastal community (i.e. from the west) and the stench prevails day in, day out. It’s enough to make a guy want to move upwind to Manila.
It would be different if this were still a small-scale, local industry. But as you well know, it isn’t, having been bought up by a major international concern.
It would be different if this were a food business (i.e. growing stuff for people to eat) rather than an export-oriented industrial-scale agrobusiness, whose job it is to keep these thousands of female goats in a state to continuous pregnancy, or simulation of the same, so as to extract their milk.
I have no axe to grind against this corporation, although they did fire my neighbor for the crime of cutting his hand on some broken glass and being unable to work for awhile, after he’d worked for years for their predecessor.
Nor shall I pursue, here, the obvious argument that humans have no earthly need for milk, once past their infancy. That would engage the Great Vegetarian Debate, for which this is hardly the appropriate format. Nor do I attempt here to point out, for example, that an export business means increased pressure on our arterial roads, like 101 through Richardson Grove. For all that, some other time.
But as matters stand, the decision is made, amigo – please let it rest.
I do not reside in Arcata or the immediate vicinity, but I was dismayed to hear of the sad fate of the Cypress Grove Chevre expansion project as chronicled in these pages. Wes Chesbro’s letter (July 6) triggered my own fond memories of my first few years in Humboldt in the early 1970s. I was living, for a while, on Hookton Road immediately adjacent to what is now the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge near College of the Redwoods.
Whenever I was in Arcata, I loved to visit the wonderful Creamline Dairy in their quaint and cute store on Q Street. The Gilardoni family sold the most wonderful dairy products I have ever tasted in returnable glass bottles.
My absolute favorite was the buttermilk, that incredible, ambrosial elixir that they produced in the old-fashioned, original way, as a by-product of the butter (to-die-for) they churned on-site from the cows they raised and grass-fed right there. I always bought a half-gallon (that’s right) of buttermilk and I always drank the entire bottle before I got home. Could not stop. No apparent ill-effect. Nothing before or since has equaled it.
If the goat folks could produce the same quality products on this same location, they would win every medal there is to win. Maybe I missed it, but has anyone considered using the soiled stable straw for raising mushrooms or as an additive to high-test, high-nutrient potting soil? A local, starving artist could do the bag art featuring the “Humboldt” brand that we know and love.
How about a do-over?
Full-disclosure: I don’t even like goat cheese or caring for goats but if others do and there is money in it and it CAN BE A NEW STANDARD FOR THE WORLD IN HUMANE ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, just like the Marsh is an example for the world in sewage treatment, then why not?
Where goats would have the right of way
Let’s recap. Arcata is home to an environmentally-friendly business that in grand tradition became so successful that a large Swiss corporation bought it. But then something strange happened. The founder stayed in Arcata. The business stayed in Arcata. Their 40-plus jobs stayed in Arcata. Humboldt Fog wasn’t even renamed Alps Haze.
Then something even more glorious happened. The company wanted to expand operations at a perfect location in Arcata on land set aside by Arcatans for precisely this type of use. A dairy farm, not just green, but in keeping with Arcata’s early history of dairy farms.
An estimated 12 additional jobs for Arcata. Greater prestige for Arcata. Maybe even a new tourist attraction for Arcata as foodies tour the home of Humboldt Fog and our school kids take educational field trips to see world-class food production first-hand in Arcata.
What happened next was predictable, at least to an expatriate. Arcatans pissed all over the idea. The company made a rookie mistake in public relations – expecting people to thoughtfully consider facts instead of being led by rumor and misinformation.
I dropped the word Arcata in this letter 12 times for a reason. When the company needed to grow, it chose your town, and when it wanted to grow some more, it wanted to stay in your town.
Consider this an invitation for Cypress Grove Chevre to head up the hill to McKinleyville. We have plenty of open fields, would love more green businesses, and are tired of being a bedroom community. We have indoor plumbing now, so rest assured there will be no public urination, goats excepted.
Please bring your jobs and your vision back to Mack Town. You found your start here and we’d love to have you back.
Andrew I. Jones