WHITEFIELD — Visitors to the Fuzzy Udder Creamery on Sunday had to maintain safe distances from one another, but not from the goats and sheep at the farm’s annual Goat Solstice.

Attendees were given quick tours of the farm and on-site creamery, and finished the day with a curated plate of the farm’s numerous goat, cow and sheep dairy products.

Farm employees and attendees wore masks during the tour, and the event was ticketed to limit the size of groups touring the farm.

After the tour, frozen meats and the farm’s cheeses and other products were available for purchase.

Farm owner Jessie Dowling said the event brings people to the farm in a safe way during a “crazy year.”

Katherine Howe and Dawn Charnetzki, roommates from Portland, traveled about an hour to attend the event. Howe said she bought tickets to the event because it seemed like a “fun, safe option” as something to do.


“I love goats and cheese and local farms, and wanted to get out of the house,” Howe said. “It’s done a good job of making us happy.”

Charnetzki said she and Howe have worked on farms and now have jobs in an urban setting.

“It’s nice to get back to mixing with real life,” she said.

Each guest was able to visit with goats, sheep and chickens. Tour guide Olivia Barber said some attendees said they had never petted a sheep or goat before Sunday.

Barber described the event was a COVID-friendly option for recreation.

“People are stuck in their houses right now,” she said. “They can come out and snuggle some animals and eat some good cheese.”


Dowling said things have been challenging for the farm during the coronavirus pandemic. She said the farm has been affected financially by a lack of events, including the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity. Dowling said Sunday’s event was a way to reclaim some of the lost revenue.

Dowling said each time slot for Sunday’s event was limited to 10 people, when unrestricted events of the past would draw more than 100 people.

On the upside, Dowling said the farm has started a wholesale distribution business and has been busy during the pandemic.

She said that business, dubbed “Maine Milk Mavens,” links 13 different Maine creameries to distribution partners through one service.

“We found that other cheesemakers were having a really hard time moving their cheese from their farm to where it needed to go,” she said. “Some of the cheesemakers were older and some didn’t have enough vehicles.

“We already had a good route. It made sense for us to just sell other peoples cheese, as we go anyway. That really helped everybody.”


Dawn Charnetzky of Portland touches a horse Sunday during a tour of the Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Whitefield. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Dowling said that compared to other businesses during the pandemic, her farm should be OK through the end of the year.

She said the farm has held three events, like the Goat Solstice, during the pandemic. In a “normal” year, she said, the farm would have held about eight events.

Barber said more events, such as the Goat Solstice, could be coming in the spring, with more opportunities for the public to snuggle goats and sheep.

In July 2019, the Fuzzy Udder was reportedly poised to move to Perry, north of Eastport. The move fell through after an appraisal of the 92-acre property revealed it was worth less than expected, affecting Dowling’s ability to borrow money.

Katherine Howe of Portland pats a goat Sunday during a tour of the Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Whitefield. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

The goals now, Dowling said, are to be safe and work through the COVID-19 pandemic, while looking to a bright future.

“We lost so much of our fourth-quarter sales due to the large events,” she said. “Normally, there would be 100 people here in line to pet animals. That wasn’t what we wanted to do at all. We kept it to 10 people on the farm.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.