Fifty Goats and Counting at Danz Ahn Dairy
2 minute read

By Amanda Kuhnert

In 2000, Juliana Danyew visited a local goat farm on a field trip with the nursery school where she worked. This visit sparked her interest in developing a dairy business that would enable her to put her 12 acres of land to use while working from home. “These dairy goats were smaller than cows, could browse my wooded, ledge-y land, and were full of personality,” she said. “And the farmer was supporting herself and her family.”

To test out the waters, Danyew took a job at a local farm helping feed their newborn goats and getting their new creamery up and running. She found she loved the work, and over the next decade developed her cheesemaking skills while learning what it takes to run a successful dairy business. 

Back at home, she was slowly growing her own herd of goats and collecting stainless steel dairy equipment for an eventual milkhouse and creamery, which were both completed in 2021. Danz Ahn Dairy passed inspection and became a licensed plant later that year.  And by the spring of 2022, Danyew was making and selling several varieties of cheeses at farmers’ markets and the local coop. 

Danyew uses goat milk from her farm, which has grown to include over 50 goats, to make her small batch, hand-crafted cheeses. In the winter, when the goats aren’t producing milk, she shifts her focus to aged cheeses using locally sourced cow milk. 

“Because we are small, just my partner and myself, we are involved in all aspects of the cheese production, aging, and sales,” she said. “We control the quality and because our name is on it, we strive for the highest quality in all that we offer.”  

Working on the business

A year into her business endeavor, a friend encouraged Danyew to contact the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) for help finetuning her business strategy and marketing plan. 

“My advisor Sarah Kearns helped me clearly define the important goals of my business,” she said. “As a sole-proprietor, it’s easy for me to get caught-up in some of the many day-to-day tasks. Redirecting my attention and focus has led to more efficient use of my time, improved marketing, and helped move my business forward.”   

Danyew recently hired a bookkeeper and a relief milker so that she can focus on other aspects of the business, like getting her product on the shelf. “You have to be an advocate for yourself and sometimes go in and not take no for an answer,” she said. 

Danz Ahn Dairy cheeses are available for purchase at Danz Ahn Farm, as well as the Middlebury Coop, and Vergennes and Shelburne farmers’ markets. For more info: danzahndairy.com.

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