When Ginnie Tate, her brother Steve and his wife Lee started Goat Lady Dairy in 1995, their guiding principle was to change the world by changing how people interacted with their food. They invited neighbors and customers to their Randolph County, North Carolina farm for tours to see how the dairy operated and give them a better understanding of how food gets from farm to the table.

Our Role

After Ginnie passed away, Steve and Lee began to think about retirement and how the vision of Goat Lady Dairy would carry on afterwards. They decided to sell the business to Carrie Routh Bradds and Bobby Bradds, long-time employees that have been involved with Goat Lady Dairy since its beginnings more than 20 years ago. As friends and neighbors of the Tates, they helped build the farm’s facilities. Carrie was even the first full-time employee, with Bobby later joining the team. Over the years they learned the cheesemaking trade and eventually started overseeing all production.

Through our Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund), we provided flexible financing options that allowed the Bradds to purchase Goat Lady Dairy and preserve it as a key link in the local food system. NCIFund’s loan further leveraged an additional line of credit from BB&T.

why this project matters

Since 2013, the Bradds’ cheesemaking and management skills have steadily increased the size and efficiency of Goat Lady Dairy. This, in turn, has enabled a shift from retail to national distribution. Their strategy has paid off enormously with a dramatic increase in sales.

Under the new ownership, the work of Goat Lady Dairy and its mission of connecting people with the land will continue indefinitely. The Bradds have made a point of partnering with local family farms, including Holly Grove Farm and Williams Dairy, for their milk supply. Twice a month, they continue the tradition of offering Dinner at the Dairy, a guided tour complete with farm stories and a five-course tasting menu. In the spring and fall, they also host Open Farm Days to allow customers and neighbors to tour the fields.

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