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Goat Days

One man’s dispatches from the New Jewish Food Movement

Jessie Graham
February 25, 2008

There’s a growing movement among environmentally conscious observant Jews to rethink kashrut. Its adherents place less emphasis on the official kosher stamp, and more on where their food comes from. They want locally and organically grown produce, and if they are meat-eaters, they want to know that the meat they’re eating comes from farms that treat animals humanely.

One devotee of this movement is an unassuming thirty-year-old named Aitan Mizrachi, founder of the AVDA Dairy, a small-scale goat dairy farm in northwestern Connecticut that produces organic, kosher raw milk yogurt and cheeses.

A few years ago, Mizrachi was, if not floundering, at least “uncommitted,” professionally speaking. But after completing a three-month Jewish leadership training program that incorporated organic farming practices, he decided to learn more about goat herding and cheese-making. One thing led to another, and now he’s guardian to eight does.

In his new vocation, he’s discovered that the combination of Jewish observance with goat farming makes for a very interesting dynamic. Can you milk the goats on Shabbat? What happens if one of your favorite small-scale organic farmers invites you to a pig roast?

To find out more about all of this, Jessie Graham spent a rainy weekend with Mizrachi, and sent us this audio postcard.

Photos by Jessie Graham.

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