Goats get ready for fair debut
CANFIELD — One way to get the goat of 4-Hers is to have them show up with their animal projects.
That’s what happened earlier this month at the Canfield Fairgrounds, when Junior Fair youth showed up with their goats to get them ready for showing in a few weeks.
One young 4-Her on hand from the Village Varieties 4-H Club was Kaylee Burcaw, 17, of North Benton. She has two French Alpine goats named Amber and Lila.
“I’ve been showing goats for eight years,” she said. “I enter the goat milk fudge, showmanship and breed judging.”
She was able to get her goats checked out and got their shots, including a rabies shot. The rabies shot protects the animals should they come in contact with rabid bats or raccoons. The vet also fills out the certification that is needed to show at the fair.
Another 17-year-old showing goats at the fair this year is Rhianna Wolfson of Ellsworth. She has been showing seven years and said she got into it with guidance from Kim Moff, Junior Fair manager.
“I just thought goats were cool,” she said. “So I talked with Kim Moff and she helped get my first goat.”
Like Burcaw, Wolfson also uses the goats for her 4-H project. She is a member of Buckeye Bunny Bunch and last year took part in the goat milk fudge category.
“To be judged, you have to milk your goat at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for two days,” Wolfson said. “On day three, the goat is milked at 7 a.m. and the milk determines placement for the Junior Fair goat milk fudge auction.”
Moff explained how the auction works.
The Junior Fair purchases, at cost, a lot of goat milk fudge. That fudge is divided among the competitors. The goat that gives the largest amount of weighed milk would be named grand champion and would receive the largest portion of fudge, for example, maybe five pounds. The runner-up might receive four pounds, then the rest of the competitors would receive three pounds. All the fudge goes up for the auction.
The reason the fudge is purchased involves what it would take to collect, process and meet production inspections and more. When the Junior Fair kids milk them at the fair, however, it would not be practical to go through all of that. Instead a dairy provides the fudge for the kids to sell during the fair, thus completing the process. The youth get the profits from the auction while also learning what it takes to be successful in agriculture.
For this year’s fudge purchase, Moff found a local dairy that is also a state licensed processor.
“We heard there was a goat dairy, named Frog Pond Dairy, that was local and was also a processor,” Moff said. “That takes a lot of work and effort. With Frog Pond, everything just fell into place.”
Frog Pond Dairy is located in Canfield, and is operated by David and Marsha Coakley. It is a fairly young farm, but has been successful.
“We moved here two years ago with two horses,” Marsha Coakley said. “Six years ago we bought two baby goats and one started producing milk without ever having a baby. So we milked her and started making goat milk soap. It all spiraled out of control after that.”
Today, Frog Pond Dairy produces the soap along with butter, milk, cheese and fudge.
“We have to follow USDA guidelines, which means lots of cleaning,” she said.
She said this is the first year for providing fudge for the fair in Mahoning County, and Columbiana County as well. Last year Frog Pond provided the fudge for the Stark County Junior Fair. She said in Mahoning, 42 pounds of fudge will be provided this year.
The Canfield Fair runs Sept. 1-6.
The fudge will be auctioned at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday of the fair at the event center. Also scheduled for the early auction are rabbits and market goats. At 7 p.m. market and carcass lambs and market swine are auctioned.
On Friday at 4 p.m. market chickens, ducks, and turkeys are to be auctioned, followed by market beef at 7 p.m.
On Monday at 10 a.m. the final Junior Fair auction will include beef feeders, beef heifer feeders, dairy cheese and dairy feeders. Anyone can register as a buyer for the auction either at the market livestock sale office inside the event center prior to the auction, or register online.
“Online sales make buying at our sale easier too,” said Moff. “Simply download the Canfield Fair app, watch the Canfield Fair website or the Mahoning County Junior Fair website for the online auction link. Our online sale will also permit proxy bids, so think about how much you would like to bid on an animal or product and place your bid. The program will automatically bid for you.”