‘Goat Fund Me’ helps save beloved Maui dairy farm from closure

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 12:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A creative money-raising campaign is helping a goat farm on Maui survive the pandemic.

Surfing Goat Dairy in Kula is both a tourist attraction and source of gourmet cheese. It has been a staple on the Valley Isle for nearly 20 years.

But the company was on the brink of closing its barn doors forever because of major financial loss.

Then, an idea came to them – why not launch a “Goat Fund Me” campaign?

“A lot of people fall in love with these goats. Goats are very affectionate,” said the dairy’s owner, Thomas Kafsack.

Thomas and his wife Eva moved to Maui from Germany in 1999, bought a herd of goats, and starting making cheese.

“Because I like to eat here, a lot of the chefs at restaurants know me. And when they heard that we make goat cheese, that spread like wildfire,” Kafsack said.

Before the pandemic, Kafsack said business was booming. They supplied most of the hotels and many local restaurants and stores with their award-winning organic gourmet cheeses.

Then came COVID-19.

“From middle of March on, we had what I call a triple-whammy. No visitors, the restaurants were closing, and the hotels were closing,” said Kafsack.

Kafsack said revenue fell about 95%, and they sold about half of their goats just to survive.

He said the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) helped them in the beginning, but that money ran out in August.

That’s when they made a last-ditch effort to save the farm.

“We took photos of our last 100 goats, put them on our website and people can adopt a goat,” Kafsack said.

Goats can be adopted for $1,000 for five years. During that time, the adoptive parent can choose between free cheeses or tours.

Kafsack said more than half of their herd has been adopted so far. It’s helping them stay afloat, for now.

“It’s all over the country, it’s not only Hawaii. Lots of people from California, from Nevada, from New York. That’s amazing. Arizona. That’s wonderful,” he said.

Kafsack said are slowly coming back on and the goats are milking up all the affection.

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