Aletta’s Semper Kontentu Goat Farm
In today’s world, finding true artisan quality in any product is rare, but here on Bonaire, it’s as easy to find as Aletta’s Semper Kontentu Goat Farm. Semper kontentu, in Papiamentu, means “always content,” and as soon as one walks into the milking area, one can see that it truly reflects the demeanor of the goats. In fact, they appear to be so content as to be smiling.
Aletta moved to Bonaire over fifteen years ago as a physical therapist. About eight years ago, she began tending a few goats as a hobby but soon found her true calling. She quit her job in physical therapy and added to her stock, and now Aletta has over 30 milking goats, a few billy goats, and a number of young goats which will, in a few years, take over from their mothers as the milking stock. Her ranch is clean and well organized, and it was truly amazing to see the entire process from start to finish. She really is in her right element.
Her day begins with cleaning up after the animals and then sorting the mothers from their young so they can be milked. It takes her about two hours to milk all thirty goats, and then she reunites the mothers with the young goats, both of whom eagerly go (interpret: run!) to a pasture to feed and romp. One can’t help but smile as one watches these animals, as their enthusiasm and “contentedness” is truly infectious. The tender, loving care which she gives these animals is evident.
Aletta then goes to the KaasKamer (Cheese Room) to begin her daily work there to process the goat milk into her artisan cheese. From her thirty milking goats, she gets about 2 kilos (4.4 pounds) of cheese, and the cheese must be processed each day (no weekends for Aletta!). Her goat cheese has become quite popular on Bonaire over the years and is now a standard found on many fine restaurants’ menus. It is also sold at Warehouse Supermarket as well as at the van den Tweel Supermarket. Of course, the best way is to visit the farm and buy it from Aletta, as the visit and subsequent knowledge gained will only add to the enjoyment of eating her goat cheese. For those who enjoy a stronger cheese, aged goat cheese or herbed or spiced cheeses are also available upon request.
Aletta’s farm is open to the public each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, and all are welcome to visit her at those times to watch her while she works the goats. After the work is done, she’ll offer visitors a coffee on the kunuku as she further explains the process. For more information or to get the current entry fee, contact Aletta via telephone at 786-6950.