Goat farm set to move by end of year

Two goats butt heads while fighting at the Drake Family Farms on Saturday morning. Owner Dan Drake said he has an obsession with goats and loves to get to know the about 500 goats on the farm. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Two goats butt heads while fighting at the Drake Family Farms on Saturday morning. Owner Dan Drake said he has an obsession with goats and loves to get to know the about 500 goats on the farm. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Sarah Van Buskirk
Editorial Director

Corporate industrialization continues to rip through the last few standing farms in the Chino and Ontario area, even in a time of climate crisis when agriculture is so beneficial to lowering our carbon emissions. 

Drake Family Farms, a goat farm located on 7255 Schaefer Ave. in Ontario, is tentatively set to move about 50 miles south at the end of the year to Winchester, California, after developers bought the five acres the Drake Family rented for 14 years. 

“We have mixed feelings because we have been here since 2010,” Kim Drake, farm owner, said. “The good news for us is we live in Murrieta so we will be a lot closer but it is sad they are stripping all of this.”

Krissie Silver from Mission Viejo takes a picture of Britni Flores from Mission Viejo cuddling up with young goats at the Drake Family Farms’ petting farm in Ontario on Saturday morning. Owners Dan and Kim Drake provide tours every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. to educate and connect with the community. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Husband and wife Dan Drake and Kim Drake host two tours from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m and 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays to provide an additional income and educate locals on farming’s importance over stripmalls and warehouses.

Before the tour, guests roamed the petting farm to interact with a few goats, some being born two weeks ago.

Dan Drake led the tour and explained his obsession with goats, averaging out to about 500 at the farm. The farm has three different species of goats: Alpine, Anglo-Nubian and Saanen.

He explained their liking to the indoors and outdoors and gives the goats plenty of options to hang out whether those are barns and corrals he built himself or old semi-trucks and shipping containers filled with hay bales. 

Dan Drake also said he feeds the goats a simple diet of rolled barley and alfalfa hay that he gets from Enterprise, Utah, a rural farm community known for growing high quality hay. 

The tour moved into the milking parlor where farm technology helps keep the goats in place during milking. Dan Drake demonstrated the teat cleaning process and said he uses an edible disinfectant twice during the milking process to ensure the cheese does not come out with a manure taste or smell.

Dan Drake said people always ask where is the best place to verify the authenticity of the food they are consuming whether that be free-range, humane and non-GMO.

“The best certification is local,” Dan Drake said. “You can come and you can look with your own eyes and you can decide if it is a good place that you want to support… so it’s important to shake the hand that feeds you.”

Another question Dan Drake said he gets often, is if the farm is organic.

“The trouble is a lot of people believe that organic is better for the animals,” Dan Drake said. “It is not better for the animals.”

Dan Drake said that the organic guidelines state that the use of antibiotics must be absent, but he said as a veterinarian trained in western medicine, he feels the urge to help his goats when they get hurt or sick. So his use for antibiotics is in support of the goats overall well-being and on an as-need basis.

“Remember it’s all about the goats and nothing else but the goats,” Dan Drake said.

Krissie Silver and Britni Flores from Mission Viejo taste test different cheeses at the end of the tour of Drake Family Farms on Saturday. The farm sells many varieties of goat cheese, such as Mt. Baldy and Glacier, a bloomy rind cheese, as well as their goat milk feta. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

The final part of the tour demonstrated the cheese making process. In a refrigerated room, Dan Drake explained the heating and cooling system and the addition of cultures and rennet, an enzyme that coagulates the milk.

A spread of different flavored goat cheese with bread and grapes to sample sent guests off to the farm store to buy their own for $6 each or four for $20. 

The farm’s flavor assortment of artisan farmstead goat cheeses are available at the Claremont Farmers Market on Sundays in the Village. Their products are also sold at the farm from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Tom Roberts of Norco, who has owned livestock in his life, thinks it’s important to have local farms but government restrictions make it difficult to sustain.

“The thing is there is so much regulation on these farms,” Roberts said, “You have to have a permit for this and that and it costs $4,000… it is outrageous and unfair for them.”

Ashlee Mann and her 7-year-old daughter Evelyn Mann from Chino came to the farm to find a fun activity outside and said there are so many reasons to support your local farms.

“One, just for the livelihood of our farms but two for our own children,” Ashlee Mann said. “We live in such a fast paced world that is so connected with technology, cellphones and iPads, so it’s just nice to get away from that.” 

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at sarah.vanbuskirk@laverne.edu.

A herd of saanen goats corral under the shade at Drake Family Farms on Saturday morning. The farm is home to about 500 goats, including other breeds like nubians and alpines. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Owner Dan Drake demonstrates how goat milk gets heated and cooled next to a large silo in the refrigerated cheese processing room of his farm Saturday morning. Drake led the tour to show how the farm runs and how they use their livestock technology to make artisan farmstead goat cheese. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Baby nubian goats snuggle up and bask in the sunshine at Drake Family Farms on Saturday morning. Owner Dan Drake said a batch of goats were born about two weeks ago. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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