Fat Toad Farm

Goat Milk Caramel

Caramel-icious Confections

Fat Toad Farm is a family-run goat dairy in Brookfield, Vermont. It was started as a raise-your-own-food effort, but when the herd grew from 2 to 12 to 25 and started producing much more milk than one family could drink, Fat Toad Farm became a certified goat dairy. Today the family—Steve Reid, Judith Irving, Calley Hastings, and Josey Hastings—fills various roles on the farm and in the production room.

It’s Fat Toad’s somewhat unusual goat milk caramel that caught our eye. Josey has lived in Mexico on and off for the past decade, and there she discovered cajeta, a popular caramel sauce made from goat’s milk. She insisted the family try their hands at making it, and five years and four flavors later, customers can’t get enough of this delectable treat. We’re thinking ice cream right about now.

Like dulce la leche (a traditional caramel sauce made with cow’s milk), all of the Fat Toad caramel sauces start with milk and sugar. But here, of course, the milk is from goats and the sugar is organic. Choose the original flavor (simply milk and sugar), or go for coffee bean, vanilla bean, or cinnamon for an extra flavor kick. The creamy, sweet sauce tastes familiar at first, but the finish is lent a buttery complexity unlike anything we’ve ever had. The two-jar boxed set comes in a unique wooden box and is perfect for gift-giving, but we wouldn’t blame you one bit if you wanted to keep the deliciousness for yourself.

We heard about the caramel sauce from Bruce Irving, who wanted to share the story of Fat Toad Farm and its DIY origins—and wound up learning more about his sister Judith’s family business in the process. “I knew Daily Grommet reaches an audience that’s on the lookout for the different, the little-known (at least for now!), and the high-quality, but when they posted Fat Toad Farm’s story, complete with a movie, even I was surprised by what I learned and how much I wanted to place an order!”
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Fat Toad Farm - Goats Milk Caramel

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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Calley

    We are a small goat dairy in central Vermont run by our family with the help of a wonderful group of interns. Today the Daily Grommet is featuring our hand crafted goat milk caramel.

    Anyone ever heard of cajeta? How about dulce de leche? Both of these incredible

    confections are very popular in South America and are made from goat milk and

    cow milk respectively. Learn about how this tradition has found a home in rural

    Vermont and has offered our family a future in agriculture. In addition to goat

    milk caramel we produce a variety of fresh goat cheeses. We also have a large garden, about 60 laying chickens and 4 pigs. Our goal is to be able to raise most of our own food and barter with friends and neighbors for various services and skills.

  • Mary Claire
    Mary Claire
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Loved the story about how the caramel is made. I am huge fan of the cinnamon flavor. It is great on ice cream, sorbet, toast,etc.. I am thinking of trying it an apple pie.

  • Gaelle
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    This is a great story! It makes me want to go to Vermont and visit the farm and of course ... try the caramel!

  • Calley
    Calley – Special Guest
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    You are welcome to come any time. We are located in Central Vermont and welcome visitors throughout the year. There is more information about visiting on our website fattoafarm.com... Also, Vermont hosts 40 cheesemakers 1/2 of which are open to the public. We have put together a great tasting trail for the state check out our website vtcheese.com

  • Calley
    Calley – Special Guest
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Hi Mary! Yeah, thanks for your support. This time of year cinnamon is my favorite too... I often put it on top of apple and pumpkin pie but yesterday I had it on a pecan pie and it was killer! I've also experimented with using it as the sweetner in pies... the blueberry version I did turned out great. Also, there are many recipes on our website to try out.

  • Julia
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    After years in South America, I miss cajeta/dulce de leche! Thanks for letting us know about this wonderful way to buy it from a small-scale producer who is clearly doing the right thing. If anyone needs ideas of what to do with cajeta, I would suggest making alfajores or topping your ice cream with it. It's great on top of brownies, and it makes a nice filling for layer cakes. (Of course, I just lick it from a spoon, but that sounds terribly uncouth!!)

  • Bruce
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    ok, i'm biased (Calley is my neice), but i have to say that this stuff is not only the absolute bomb, but i've seen firsthand the love that goes into it--and the true belief in there being a better way to make our food.

  • Calley
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Yes, this is certainly a staple in most of South America whether in Dulce de leche or cajeta form. We've had fun introducing this product to people in Vermont, many of whom have never had the chance to try it.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    I have pulled this over from Fat Toad Farm's website. It looked so yummy and so simple!

    Caramel Drizzled on Baked Apples Recipe

    One of the simplest and most gratifying ways to eat caramel!

    Core 4 granny smith apples.

    Place in 8X8 baking pan.

    Put a dollop of butter in cored center of each apple.

    Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

    Pour caramel in the center and drizzle on top.

    Serve with vanilla ice cream!

    Top Ten Ways to Eat Caramel

    1. Drizzle on ice cream.

    2. Spread on toast (tastes like french toast).

    3. Spread on pancakes, waffles and crepes.

    4. Stir into coffee, tea or warm milk.

    5. Dip fresh fruit into (apples, pears and bananas are great!)

    6. Drizzle on fresh baked pies (think apple and pumpkin).

    7. Stir into hot oatmeal.

    8. Spread on muffins (great with bran, maple and blueberry).

    9. Swirl into brownies.

    10. Eat straight out of the jar!

  • Clay
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    We sell it in our stores in Vermont. It's even better than you hope it will be (the coffee version is my favorite). I bought ice cream to go with it once, but the spoon is the way to go.

  • Deb
    Deb – Grommet Team
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Ok, is it me, or are those the cleanest goats and farm you ever did see?

  • Ellen
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    I think the best part about cajeta is its creaminess--it doesn't harden like normal caramel does, so cooking with it is really a breeze and its stays creamy even after months in the jar. I might be a little biased since I'm related to the farmers, but this product really is seriously delicious.

  • JoanP
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    I enjoyed watching how humanely and lovingly you take care of the goats. Maybe that is why their milk is so delicious!! I will visit your farm when I am in VT in a few weeks. We have a ski house outside of Ludlow, so looks like you are right up 89. Best of luck to you!

  • Diane
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    If you are looking for a real treat, this is it! I visited Fat Toad Farm and came home with the caramel, it is a true delight! My kids loved it, my husband loved it, I finally tried to hide it for myself.I use it in baking cookies, brownies and of course topping the worlds largest brownie sundae. This is the perfect holiday gift for that someone special, I will use it as a stocking stuffer this year. I live in Connecticut and will tell all my friends to check this out, now they can order right here! thanks for making this so easy!loveit!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    @Diane Hi, I'm on the Daily Grommet team. I laughed out loud at your image of hiding the caramel for yourself. Thanks so much for telling your friends about Fat Toad and Daily Grommet....we will be delighted to help you spread the joy.

  • Calley
    Calley – Special Guest
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Thank you everyone for all your positive comments--- we do work very hard to produce a high quality product and of course what matters is that people like it! So thank you for support and keep us in mind when you gear up for holiday shopping!

  • joanne
    joanne – Grommet Team
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    I've just added the single jar option to our assortment. Check it out.

  • courtney contos
    courtney contos
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Love and attention to detail are the real secret ingredients in these flavorful divine caramel sauces! My fridge is never with out a jar of the coffee. If you live in Vermont you must try the goat cheese too!

    Courtney Contos

  • Kate
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    I bought a sampler set and have to admit that I've taken to just eating straight from the jar. (Must stop doing this after the holiday season.) I'm ordering more for gifts; they're perfect for my office mates and as stocking stuffers for my family....

  • Dollie
    7/26/2010 12:00 PM

    Caramel is my very favorite, can't wait to get my first order.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    7/26/2010 12:05 PM

    This is the second time that we have featured Fat Toad Farms and didn't want to lose the conversation from the first feature and so have copied it here!

  • Judy
    7/26/2010 12:28 PM

    A big hello from a (comfortably) sunny Vermont. Glad to be featured again at Grommet. A quick update from our farm today - our 3 interns, Lily, Maeve and Eric are working on a variety of projects today - adding more mulch hay to the goat barn, picking string beans, visiting with people who are visiting the farm today (we've had 4 families already!). I've been sending out caramel from "shipping and handling" this a.m. and Maeve and I will be making cheese this afternoon.

  • Marguerite
    7/26/2010 12:30 PM

    This caramel looks so delicious. How long do they last? I'm thinking about christmas gifts, but should I wait to order under closer to the date? Thanks.

  • DJP
    7/26/2010 12:34 PM

    I love caramel, and now I only buy it from Daily Grommet / Fat Toad. I bought some the first time that it was featured as a Grommet and it's one of my "top ten Grommets." Frankly, I've not been satisfied with any other caramel from anyone else since I tried Fat Toad. It is truly amazing caramel. Personally I like the original flavor best and that's what I order on a regular basis from the Daily Grommet site. Oh, and yes, I also hide it from the rest of the family; I want to be sure there is some on hand when I get a craving.

  • Judy
    7/26/2010 2:05 PM

    Hi Marguerite,

    The caramel has a shelf life of one year. I would still encourage you to buy closer to the date anyway. They do make excellent stocking stuffers and gifts! And lots of fun flavors to try! We are making it 5 times a week this year so there will be plenty for presents.

  • Lisa
    7/26/2010 8:02 PM

    This caramel is absolutely incredible...sadly i had a few jars confiscated going thrugh security...i really didn't think of it as a liquid! :)

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    7/26/2010 8:47 PM

    @Lisa - Oh no! That must have been so disappointing. I bet the guards didn't even get to enjoy it.

  • liza
    8/26/2010 8:07 AM

    This is funny. I heard about you yesterday from Mark from Vermont Wooden Box, who-as you know- makes your boxes. He just finished and delivered the boxes he made for my new product and we were discussing other box applications and he started raving about you, your caramel and the box. Now I run across you here. Guess I have to order some ASAP.

    Cheers. Liza from Small Equals in Burlington

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    8/26/2010 9:52 AM

    @liza - what a fun story. Thanks for sharing here and I will forward to Judith and Calley, too!

  • lisa
    10/9/2010 2:29 PM

    I figured since it comes from just a couple towns up from where I live that it would be easy to find and I was right - picked up a jar yesterday, tweaked my apple cake recipe so it became "Caramel Apple Cake" and it was a hit at the dinner party I went to. Unfortunately, this afternoon my worst fears came true - I started eating the rest of the caramel right out of the jar. yummy, yummy, yummy....

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    10/9/2010 5:11 PM

    @lisa - you are so lucky to have this locally available to you! I'm glad it was a hit at the dinner party and, ahem, straight out of the jar!

  • Jennifer
    11/15/2011 10:45 PM

    I ordered a jar of the coffee and one of the cinnamon this weekend. Today (Tuesday) I met the FedEx guy in the driveway on way out to work and he handed me my caramel! We just tried the coffee tonight on vanilla ice cream and it was heavenly. Tomorrow, the cinnamon...

    The video footage of your goats was lovely - they look quite friendly and content. I miss the days when we had a Nubian and an Alpine-Nubian cross of our own. There's nothing like fresh goat's milk, as your caramels (and I'd bet your cheeses) surely demonstrate. I wish you were just down the road instead of several states away!

    Thank you so much, both for the delicious caramel and the haste with which you got it to my door!

  • Katherine
    11/16/2011 12:55 PM

    @Jennifer: What a wonderful experience, thanks for sharing. I have forwarded your note on to the team at Fat Toad Farm as well. I know that hearing from you will make their day.

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