Nestled at the base of Black Mesa in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona about 9 miles due east of the historic pioneer town of Snowflake, we (the owners Kathryn and David) work towards rehabilitating and improving this long-abandoned 280-acre "off-grid" homestead property with an eye toward self-sufficiency and a plan for sustainability. This web site documents our continuing plans, progress, pitfalls, and projects.
Recent Happenings at the Ranch
And Even MORE Awards
ADGA Awards Superior Genetics Titles
11/30/17 Once again The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) has announced that more of our goats have received their Superior Genetics Title (SG). We are very proud of these goats for being so productive and beautiful. Awards have been given to Charlotte, Onyx, Legacy, Finale, our senior herd sire Gideon, and posthumously to our late herd queen, Celeste. Congratulations to these fine animals.
Even More Awards
Award Winning Fudge, Nuts, and Fudge Sauce
11/19/17 Black Mesa Ranch took home seven ribbons (6 first place and one second place!) at this year’s Arizona State Fair in the Professional – Culinary division for our confections. Our Goats Milk Fudges stole the show with 3 first place awards in 3 different confection categories and our Spiced Pecans brought home 2 first places in the snacking categories. Our Fudge Sauces took both the first and second place awards in the syrups category.
It was our first year entering the competition and we are, of course, thrilled with the results!
- Belgian dark Chocolate Fudge: First place Chocolate Fudge
- Belgian dark Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts: First place Chocolate Cooked Fudge
- Belgian dark Chocolate Fudge with Chiles & Pecans: First place Chocolate with Nuts Fudge
- Orange Spiced Pecans: First place Snack Mix
- Chipotle Chile Spiced Pecans: First place Other Snacks
- Dark Chocolate Fudge Sauce: First Place Syrups
- Chiles & Chocolate Fudge Sauce: Second Place Syrups
These award winning items and much more can be purchased online from our Ranch Market page.
Finally, they're here!
BMR Gourmet Chocolates Are Now Available
10/25/17 Once again the weather has cooled off enough for us to make our very special gourmet chocolates. We offer a wide array of delicious treats, from creamy truffles to crunchy toffee and chewy caramels. Please check out our Market Page to see all of our seasonal candies as well as our year round selections.
Now That's HOT
BMR Wins At The Scovie Awards!
10/20/17 David, the chef at Black Mesa Ranch, entered 4 of his spicy food products for the 2018 Scovie Awards - and ALL FOUR took awards!
Here are the results from the Scovies.
1st Place White Cheese: Goats Milk Feta Marinated with Hot Peppers & Garlic
1st Place Sweet Heat Sauce: Chile & Chocolate Fudge Sauce
3rd Place Sweet Heat (Candy/Cakes/Pastries/Cookies): Goats Milk Fudge with Chiles and Pecans
3rd Place Snack Nuts: Chipotle Spiced Pecans
About the Scovie Awards
The Scovie Awards (also known as the "Scovies") are an annual international spicy foods competition that originated in 1996. Based in New Mexico the contest sees entries coming in from across the globe, as far away as from Australia. The Scovies are named to honor the memory of Wilbur Scoville, the scientist who invented the Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912 to determine the heat scale of chile peppers.
Scovie Award winners are determined by a panel of 80 to 100 judges, mostly food professionals, who sample over 800 products in about 20 categories in blind tastings. Products are judged according to eye appeal, aroma, flavor, and heat scale.
Well Earned Awards
Top Ten Breed Leaders
8/31/17 The USDA list of Elite does and bucks has come out. Again Black Mesa Ranch goats are well represented. Reese, Obsidian, Snowflake, and Detroit are again rated as some of the best goats in the country, and our girl, Abby, has now earned her Superior Genetics title! Great work, girls!
Today The American Dairy Goat Association list of 2016 Top Ten Breed Leaders came out and two of our does are on it!
SG Black Mesa Tally’s Reese is listed as #1 Nubian in butterfat and SG Black Mesa Celestial Night Sky is listed as tied for 7th place in butterfat. That’s some awesomely rich, high quality milk those girls produce!
Congratulations to all our hard working goats!
The New Goat Breeding Schedule is Up
7/3/2017 It is always amazing how far in advance some things need to be planned on the ranch. If we want a steak - it's 3 years in the making, lamb chops take over a year, fresh tomatoes take months to grow. Since we will be drying off our goats this winter, and want them to start making milk next March for cheese making, that means we have to breed them this October. That means figuring out the breeding schedule now. Well, the schedule is up now for our 2018 kidding season, so please take a look and get your reservations in early for kids. Feel free to contact Kathryn with any questions. Thanks!
Time For Treats
It's Always "Fudge Season"!
5/27/17 While Fudge is great any time, it has traditionally been eaten more during the warmer months of the year.
- In the US, National Fudge Day is June 16th.
- Mackinaw Island MI (the self-proclaimed Fudge Capital of the World) hold its annual Fudge Festival in August.
- Black Mesa Ranch celebrates Fudge Season from mid-May through October when the average highs in much of Arizona reach into the 90's (warm by just about any definition!)
Kidding Season Ends Already!
5/14/17 It's hard to believe that we are finished with kidding season already. For the most part all went incredibly well. We had some wonderful friends that came to help out during the busiest times. A BIG Thank You to Joan, Amanda, and Hazel!
We had 60 kids born – 35 doelings and 25 bucklings making it the second time ever having such a blowout Doe Year. What a great looking group of kids they are - jumping, playing, and eating. The does look wonderful and are making lots of milk for David to turn into fresh cheese, Boule, Feta, and Goats Milk Fudge.
Please check out our Market Basket page and order your favorites now!
It's a Happy New Year With New Babies
1/8/17 On Christmas Eve we were presented with twin ewe lambs by our lead sheep “65”. She wasted no time in getting these cuties on the ground where they were jumping around within minutes.
Yesterday heifer, Sharon, looked close to calving – her milk was coming in and she was starting to string fluid from her very loose backend. Today Sharon was missing when the cows came in for breakfast. A brisk ride around the ranch in the Polaris Ranger and we finally found her up north under a tree with a sopping wet newborn bull calf.
It’s great fun to have babies on the ranch again. We expect many more in the next few months.
The Circle Of Life
Breeding Season Has Begun
10/10/16 Once again it's time to start a new cycle of life on the ranch. Goats are seasonal breeders and, well, this is the breeding season! In fact, it seemed that a few days ago it was the breeding DAY. Most of the does lined up at the buck pen to let us know that they were ready to be bred. We (and the bucks) obliged them and in five months (a goat gestation period) we will be swimming in newborn kids.
Check out our kidding schedule here.
American Culinary Federation's National Convention
BMR's Chef David Sets The Food World On Fire
8/2/16 David is back from the American Culinary Federation's National Convention in Phoenix. He went to introduce our line of confections to some of the best and most influential chefs in the country, connect with some regional distribution channels and just hang out with the "cool kids" in the industry. It was a huge success and he ended up staying a day longer than planned (5 days total).
David brought 3 flavors of our AZ-Grown Spiced Pecans (Cinnamon, Spicy Chipotle and Orange Spice) and 2 flavors of our goats milk fudge (Chocolate-Walnut and "AZ Fudge On Fire" (made with locally grown Concho chiles)). Everything was extremely well received but the Fudge on Fire stole the show. Even chefs, guests & exhibitors from Michigan's Mackinaw Island (the fudge capitol of the world) couldn't get enough of the samples.
Other highlights of the convention:
- Dozens of top quality workshops, guest speakers, seminars and discussion groups including: "Pairings Lab: Wine and Cheese", "Hog Butchery & Basic Curing", "The Umami of Cheese", "Great Cheese, Now What?", and my personal favorite… "Chocolate: From the Ground Up" (exploring sustainable chocolate craft, from bean to bar, with chocolate tasting).
- The USA Chef of the Year Competition (including Chef Lenard Rubin from the Country Club at DC Ranch in Phoenix)
- Huge 2-day Food Service Trade Show featuring nearly 100 exhibitors, student and professional cooking competitions, products demonstrations and LOTS of food sampling.
- Impressive social media involvement across the 5 days of the convention with #CookCraftCreate, #GoatsMilkFudge, and #AZpecans hashtags used by over a thousand participants.
Click here to read more about the event.
Awards Department Report
2016 Linear Appraisal
6/10/16 We had our 2016 American Dairy Goat Association Linear Appraisal this week. Linear appraisal is like a show but each goat is judged against the Ideal Goat. Scores 90 and above are Excellent, scores in the 80's are very nice also.
As expected our girls did really well. Four does scored as Excellent with most of the other does and bucks scoring in the mid to high 80’s. It was a very informative event and we thank the appraiser for doing such a great job.
We'd also like to thank Amanda and Niki Henderson for getting the girls milked out once they had been appraised. Wendy Woodward and Hazel McGuffin from Witch Hazel Dairy did a great job of getting fancy pictures of the goats. Shelby and Madison St. Hilaire and their friend, Joe, helped out with handling the goats and getting them prepared for their turn in the ring. Many thanks to all who volunteered their time to come help us out.
Entering New Territory
Black Mesa Ranch Fudge Heads To CA and NV
4/11/16 We’ve been selling our goats milk cheeses and goats milk fudge to the Whole Foods Market in Arizona for over a decade now and our products have been a big hit. Now we are branching out. Our Goats Milk Walnut Fudge and Spicy Goats Milk Fudge On Fire are now available at Whole Foods Markets in California and Nevada. So if you are in the South West, please give them a try. They are also available on our website Ranch Market.
All Work Yet Lots Of Play
David Goes To The Big City
2/15/16 It’s not often that cheese maker David gets off the ranch, but for the last 9 days he has been gone. He flew in to Philadelphia and from there attended the 2016 Dairy Heritage Cheese Makers’ Resource Conference in New Holland. It was a busy, educational, and fun event. He even brought some of our Black Mesa Ranch Fudge for people to sample during the Evening of Cheese event.
After that David and his sister went to NYC for a class at the famous Murray’s Cheese Shop where they learned more about cheese, chocolate, and wine. What could be a better “vacation” than that for the cheese maker and chocolatier of Black Mesa Ranch.
Ranch Weather Report
Rain On The Ranch
9/3/15 Big Ol' Thunder Storm slammed the Ranch this afternoon. We got about an inch of rain in under an hour. It's been such a wet year the ground is pretty saturated so most just ran off. Now we've got some serious fence mending work to do before all our livestock wander off (or the local predators wander in).