Robin and Johnny Blakley prepare the Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery Store for opening.
Buffalo Creek Farm expanding with store, new products
Susan Williamson, Contributing Writer
foods", "value added products" and "agritourism" are all buzzwords in
farm economics. Robin and Johnny Blakley are working toward all three
on their Germanton Road farm.
Blakley's farm, called Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, LLC, already
produces goat milk soap from their dairy goat herd. Plans are to have
the creamery on-line by next spring, producing goat cheese. Their 34
acres are also home to grass fed beef, free range poultry and pastured
lamb, all of which will be offered for sale in their newly constructed
farm store just off Germanton Road in northern Forsyth County with
pastured pork being added in 2012. Robin and Johnny are certified meat
handlers and all livestock will be slaughtered in plants inspected by
the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
value added aspect is clear in the packaging of their goat milk soap. A
special gardener's soap is wrapped in gloves as a gift for a gardener
and another soap, called "Woodlands" is a dirt scented soap packaged in
old soil sample bags.
Blakley's handicapped parking pad was poured last week, so the store
will be opening soon. They are already stocking Foothills country ham
from Jonesville, Amish made jams, jellies and pickles from Hamptonville
as well as Ashe County hoop cheese and free range whole chickens from
their farm along with other local foods. Goat related toys and
collectables round out the mix.
their operation has not been easy. A grant from RAFI (Rural Advancement
Foundation International) funded their wastewater treatment. But first,
the North Carolina legislature needed to make changes allowing small
farmers to operate with requirements appropriate to small operations as
opposed to laws written for large scale manufacturing.
grants through the Golden Leaf Foundation are funded to help former
tobacco farmers and workers find other ways of making a living. Both of
the Blakley's were one time R. J. Reynolds employees.
Cooperative Extension Service and North Carolina's agriculture schools
help farmers to make transitions. Blakley said North Carolina A & T
University helps farmers find suitable hogs for producing pasture
raised pork. Bloodlines selected to be raised in confinement are not
successful in a more natural environment.
handicapped accessible parking and restroom, the farm will be able to
host small groups wishing to tour the operation in 2012. In addition to
the production animals listed above, the farm also raises miniature
Zebu cattle, guinea pigs and rabbits. For more information, the farm
has a website at buffalocreekfarmnc.com or people can call
Our farm was featured in the December 16, 2011 edition of The Weekly Independent
Our farm was included in the Goodness Grows in North Carolina display at the 2010 N.C. State Fair.
Artist, Isabel Forbes Paints at Buffalo Creek Farm in Germanton, NC
Despite April 4, 2009's rainy weather, artist Isabel Forbes
of Spartainburg, South Carolina was at Buffalo
Creek Farm painting. She was visiting Germanton as part of the
Painting North Carolina Plein Air Show. Paintings
from her trip are on her blog.
Included in the show is one of her paintings done at Buffalo
Creek Farm highlighting their Dairy Barn;
Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats; Livestock Guardian Llama, Little Boy
Blue; a Bourbon Red Turkey and Guinea Fowl.
Forbes also painted the Blakley's log cabin on
April 5. Isabel's paintings and those of the other artists were
on display at the Germanton Art Gallery through the month of April.
and Johnny Blakley make a magical dog soap, on their Buffalo Creek Farm
using Nubian goats milk as the primary ingredient. Really.
did they get the idea to make it? “I was hand-milking eight
Nubian goats last year every day, and was getting 8 or more gallons of
milk per day,” says Robin. “Eight gallons times seven days was
producing 56 gallons a week. I needed a way to use that much
milk. In North Carolina, you cannot sell milk for human
consumption unless you are a Grade A dairy or a Grade B dairy for
cheese. We drink the milk and make cheese, ice cream and cook
with it for ourselves. But 56 gallons is a lot of milk. I decided
I needed to do something else with it. I thought about it and
said ‘let’s make soap.’ I made soap for people first and then
determined that there was a demand for dog soap using natural
What makes it special? “The milk and oils
are what makes the soap so special and good for your skin, says
Robin. “Nothing artificial or drying. I do have a few that
have artificial scents like Baby Powder. “ Our soaps are handmade in
small batches, cut and packaged. Each bar is unique and may vary
in size, cut and color. Most of the soaps will be a tan color
varying slightly in shade, since we do not artificially color our
soap. Soaps with dried herbs or flowers, such as our Lavender
Lace, Rosemary Mist and Romantic Rose will have a darker coloration.
of the special concoctions of soap is called Daisy, and another about
to hit the market is Toby. So, who is Daisy? And who is
Toby? “Daisy and Toby are my grand-pups,” Robin says. “We have a
house dog, Boxer, named Jasmine. Since her name is a fragrance, I
didn't want any confusion by naming soap after her. We also have two
Livestock Guardian Dogs, Scout and Spook. Daisy's picture is on the
website with a bar of my soap under the link Buffalo Gal's soap.
Toby's soap is curing (it takes 6 weeks) and his picture and soap will
be listed there soon.
Robin and Johnny bought the farm , in
Germantown, North Carolina, in 1992. Johnny was a police officer
for the City of Winston-Salem and Robin worked for R. J. Reynolds
Tobacco Company. “It was originally part of a large dairy farm,” owner
Robin says. It was named for a waterway that runs through the
farm. “Then the 34 acres we now own were cut off and used as a goldfish
When Robin and husband Johnny bought the farm in 1992, it
had been abandoned for five years and was so overgrown that Johnny had
to stand on the tractor’s seat to mow the pasture. The couple restored
a former sharecropper’s home to serve as a rental property and
converted the milking parlor into a barn with an apartment. Eventually,
the dams on the 21 goldfish ponds were broken and returned to
“We started with three hair sheep,” Robin says. “I
didn’t want the headaches associated with wool sheep, and hair sheep
are easy to raise. They grow a winter coat of hair with a fine
undercoat of wool and shed it naturally. So there’s no shearing and no
docking tails because the hair doesn’t retain manure or debris. The
Blackbelly is a shearless wonder.” She adds that Blackbellies are heat,
disease and parasite resistant.
Over the years, Robin has
developed a loyal customer base, by marketing through signage,
newspapers, flea markets, and the Internet. She also markets through
the International Blackbelly Barbados Sheep Association, of which she
is a member. But ““What really helped was when my daughter made a
website for me, “ she says.
The soaps are surprisingly
affordable, starting at $3.25 for a three-ounce bar, plus
shipping. And the price is sweeter still as the proceeds go to
feed the goats and allow the Blakely’s to keep the farm going.
Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, LLC
Farmstead Goat Dairy
3255 Buffalo Creek Farm Road
Germanton, NC 27019