New grade A goat dairy provides fresh goat cheese to local restaurants


Fresh milk and goat cheese can be procured from Kestrel Cascadia Farm, a newly licensed grade A goat dairy in Ridgefield, Washington.

Husband and wife Chris and Amy Dunning began the farm in 2012 as a 4H project for their children. Now licensed for human consumption, the Dunning’s milk products have seen an explosion of popularity. Their fresh cheese, used by some local restaurants, sells fast. The Dunnings expect to increase their current milking herd due to rising demand for their dairy products.

“We’re going to be doubling for next year,” Chris Dunning said. “I feel like the current property we’re on we can handle 60-70 milkers.”

Kestrel Cascadia Farm received its grade A dairy license from the Washington State Department of Agriculture in July 2023. They seasonally offer low-temperature pasteurized milk and cheese. Many steps are involved in receiving dairy licensing for human consumption, Dunning said. Multiple licenses are required, each requiring their own application.

Kestrel Cascadia milks their 20 goats twice daily, he said. Their goats readily enter the milking barn for their grain feed. The goats are machine-milked during their meals and their udders disinfected prior to and after milking.

The demand for fresh milk and cheese is high, and the farm is ready for expansion. Dunning plans to grow their herd next year. They have bred their milking goats and expect the kidding season to last from February. to March.

Kestrel Cascadia Farm has three types of goat: Oberhasli, Toggenburger and Saanen. All their goats are Swiss breeds, Dunning said. The Saanen are owned by the Dunnings’ son.

The Swiss goat breeds produce a tangy milk that is excellent for cheese, according to Dunning. He believes the tangy flavor makes the best goat cheese, also known as chevre.

Five types of chevre are offered at Kestrel Cascadia Farm: plain, crumbled, honey, hatch chili and seasonal cranberry jalapeno. More flavors may be available in the future, he said. All of the cheese is made from fresh low-temperature pasteurized milk in the farm’s commercial quality kitchen. The cheese stays fresh for up to 10 days.

Local restaurants have begun buying Kestrel Cascadia Farm’s cheese. Some of their Clark County clients include La Bottega Cafe, Haute Box Wood Fire, both in Vancouver, and Galeotti’s Wine Cellar in Battle Ground, Dunning said.

“We make our very popular stuffed mushroom with it,” Mike Galeotti, owner of Galeotti’s Wine Cellar said. “[It is a] big hit, well loved by our customers.”

Kestrel Cascadia Farms plans to expand their dairy products in the future. Dunning is currently working to perfect a yogurt recipe. Goat milk yogurt is different from other yogurts and tends to be runny, he said. 

“It’s a matter of dialing in the recipe so it sets up,” he added.

Ice cream is also in the plan for Kestrel Cascadia Farms. Dunning hopes to have the equipment for ice cream production by summer 2024.

Their dairy products offerings may expand outside of Washington in the near future, as Dunning is looking into acquiring a multistate license.

“Currently we’re only licensed in the state of Washington. I’m going to start working on multistate so we can start offering products in Portland,” he said.

Milk is currently unavailable for purchase as the farm’s goats prepare for kidding season. Due to low supply and high demand, 90% of the farm’s remaining milk is being used for cheese production, Dunning said. Milk will be available again during the first week of February.

To learn more about Kestrel Cascadia Farm, visit the website at Its milk products are available for on-farm pickup and delivery is offered to restaurants.