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Small Business

An Upstart Farm Is Selling Jamaica on Goat Milk

An American couple is producing milk, yogurt, and cheeses from animals that have long been raised for their meat.

Goats are a common sight in Jamaica, roaming across fields, grazing along highways, and even traipsing about on city streets. They’re prized for their meat, which is featured in curry goat and other popular dishes. Given the seeming ubiquity of the animals, it was initially perplexing to Americans Byron Walker and Ruth Mitchell that they couldn’t find any goat dairy products in local shops. “We were like, what’s wrong with this?” Mitchell says. “Where’s the goat milk? Where’s the goat cheese?”

The couple—frequent visitors to the Caribbean island over decades—came up with an unconventional retirement project that would keep them in Jamaica long term: opening a goat dairy farm. Eight years later, they’re leading a fledgling goat dairy movement in the country. Their business, with nine employees, sells products including milk, yogurt, and cheesecake to grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, and a loyal base of individual customers. It’s called Ruby Goat Dairy—“Ru” for Ruth and “By” for Byron.