Farmer introduces locals to goat meat.
WRITTEN BY BARBARA TWITCHELL
PHOTO BY CANDICE NYANDO
"Ee-yew!" That's the usual response Gloria Montero hears when she offers a taste of goat meat. She doesn't let it discourage her.
"I've always liked a challenge," Montero says with a chuckle. And she's taken on a big one — getting us to make room on our plates for the other red meat: goat.
Montero, owner and operator of Montero Goat Farm in Fallon, Nev., points out that 70 percent of the world's population enjoys eating goat. Americans don't, she believes, simply because they haven't been exposed to it. She hopes to change that, one bite at a time.
Her solution is to offer samples at some of the local businesses that carry her meat products (see Resources). She knows there are a lot of misconceptions about how goat tastes. She's heard them all — tough, stringy, gamey, to name a few. She loves to see the change in a taster's expression after giving hers a try.
"People always are surprised at how mild and tender it actually is," Montero says. "The taste, as with any animal, depends upon what they're fed, how they're raised, at what age they're butchered. We're real particular."
Montero's goats are pasture raised in fresh air and sunshine, either in Fallon or on the 2,800-acre Lovelock ranch of her business partner, Carl Clinger, where they graze on alfalfa grass, winter wheat, and millet. All feed is non-GMO and the animals are raised free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Additionally, the meat is from animals under a year old, ensuring tenderness and peak flavor.
Goat, she adds, is one of the healthiest meats you can buy. It is naturally lean and, according to the USDA Nutrient Database, is lower in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat than beef, chicken, lamb, and pork.
Fallon native Montero says that raising goats is a family legacy dating back to her grandfather, who emigrated from Lisbon, Portugal, in the early 1900s. In keeping with the family tradition, she always has raised goats, primarily dairy breeds.
However, in 1998, she learned about Boers, a South African goat bred for its superior-quality meat, high resistance to disease, and ability to thrive in dry, semi-arid environments. The goats seemed to be the perfect fit for our high desert locale. She decided to give them a try.
Around the same time, she noticed an emerging trend that people wanted to buy locally grown products, Montero says. She hoped that her locally raised and processed meat, natural health management practices, humane animal treatment, and the naturally healthy qualities of goat would resonate with consumers.
Fifteen years later, she has a herd of 300, a promising goat meat business, and a self-declared mission to educate as many people as possible about the benefits of goat meat — any way that she can. And she's one very determined lady.
When she discovered Fallon didn't have a 4-H goat club, she started one. When the Nevada Junior Livestock Show didn't allow goats, she fought to get them included. When she realized there were almost no educational resources for goat producers in Nevada, she created workshops, which now are offered through the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. And she's an active board member with the Nevada Goat Producers Association.
Oh yes, and she's out there cooking up those samples.
For Montero, it's all about turning that "Ee-yew!" into a "Yum!"
Reno-based freelance writer Barbara Twitchell doesn't usually play with her food, but she admits she had a blast spending an afternoon with the goats at Montero's farm.
Montero's goat meat may be purchased at the following locations:
Great Basin Community Food Co-op
240 Court St., Reno
Heck's Meat Co.
250 S. Maine St., Fallon
1955 McLean Road, Fallon
Montero Goat Farm
Find her goat meat at the following restaurants:
148 West St. (in the West Street Market), Reno
50 N. Sierra St. (at the Palladio), Reno