Bucking the System
Hendersonville farm whips up goat milk gelato
Goat-milk delicacies are notorious for being pungent and sharp, like a strong chèvre or a bold feta. It’s a great flavor for salads and savory dishes, but it can be a bit off-putting as dessert.
But imagine goat milk whipped into sweet gelato. For Lisa Black, owner of Fields of Gold Farm and Greenhouse, this unexpected combination can be delicious — in the right hands.
“A lot of the goat-milk ice cream out there is goaty tasting,” Black explains. “I said to myself, ‘We can do better than this.’”
Black did extensive research as she developed her goat-milk gelato four years ago. She even attended Carpigiani Gelato University, which has an outpost in Winston-Salem. There she studied with gelato experts straight from Italy to create her own artisan, gourmet blend.
She taste-tested several goat-milk-based desserts before creating her own. Her first taste of goat-milk ice cream was from a product made in New England, and it inspired her to do better.
“I set my spoon in there and the first bite was goaty chocolate. What a turn off. That’ll make you go on a diet real fast.”
Instead, Black describes her own goat-milk gelato as “velvety and scrumptious.” She goes to great lengths to produce a clean finish that is sweet, but not cloying; complex yet familiar.
Fields of Gold Farm’s gelato flavors — like the popular Naked Chocolate Souffle — use whole ingredients like cacao nibs and Grade-A goat milk from Round Mountain Creamery in Black Mountain. (The finished product is sold at Food Matters Market in Brevard, and at the farmers’ markets in Flat Rock and in Saluda.)
Gelato is generally lower in fat and calories than ice cream made from cow’s milk. This allows Black to go big with surprising flavors such as Toasted Nut Brûlée, Golden Chai, Nut Butters Caramel Ganache Swirl, and Ginger Ginseng.
“Part of the secret is that it’s farm-fresh,” Black reveals. The goat milk may come from Black Mountain, but Black lives the farming life herself at Fields of Gold Farm and Greenhouse near Hendersonville.
She is the second generation to maintain the farm, which was originally built by a German family in the 1940s. It continues to be a working farm that grows certified organic, biodynamic produce on 40 acres, as well as manufacturing boutique items such as organic soap.
“I look at [the farm] as a treasure and a jewel that needs to be loved and cared for and brought back to its full fruition and thrive once again,” says Black.
The lifestyle is wholesome, but the gelato itself isn’t always chaste. Black has been exploring beer- and wine-based gelato that captures the region’s growing obsession with local libations.
“It’s a nice spectrum,” she says. “I have a lot of people who can’t believe the taste.”