By Zoe Settle
When Louisa Conrad and Lucas Ferrell were married, they didn't register for a Cuisinart or a setting of Limoges china -- they asked for goats and farming equipment. The two met 11 years prior at Middlebury College and went off to pursue careers (separately) in poetry and art, but were both drawn to farm life. They learned the cheese-making trade as apprentices at Blue Ledge Farm, and then worked with Peaked Mountain Farm, making and aging raw-milk cheeses and continuing to expand their knowledge of affinage (the art of ripening cheese), shepherding, and artisanal baking. Fast-forward to the arrival of their own (four-legged) kids, Fern, Gertrude, Orion, Cy, and Junebug, which led to a desire to try something new: With the launch of creamy, deliciously chewy goat-milk caramels, Big Picture Farm was born. Conrad's sketches grace the packaging, capturing the spirit and individuality of the animals, which now number 28. "We want to connect the moment of enjoying the caramel, no matter how far from Vermont, back to the goats," says Conrad.
In 2011, Big Picture Farm's sea-salt-and-bourbon-vanilla caramel took top honors at the Fancy Food Show, in New York City. This January, a chai version was a Good Food Award winner. The caramels are available at specialty stores around the country or from bigpicturefarm.com.