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


"Local 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Expanding 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.

RAFI 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.

The 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.

With 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 336.969.5698.
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.
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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.
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Nubian Goat Soap for Dogs is a Sweet Business written by Elissa Myers for Examiner.com on August 31, 2010
Robin and Johnny Blakley make a magical dog soap, on their Buffalo Creek Farm using Nubian goats milk as the primary ingredient. Really. 

How 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 ingredients.”

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.

One 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 farm”

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 pastureland.

“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
336.969.5698
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