LEROY - The TLC in TLC Farm Goat Dairy at Leroy stands for owners Terry and Linda Clapp, but it could also stand for Tender Loving Care—both are correct.
The Clapps own West Virginia's first Grade A goat dairy, and are USDA and FDA approved. Linda Clapp is the official owner and husband Terry is her employee. Both are equally emersed in the farmstead goat dairy, its upkeep and producing delicious products including pasteurized Grade A goat milk, "Little House" goat milk cheeses and the new addition, scrumptious goat milk Gelato (Italian ice cream).
Linda Clapp makes Gelato every Thursday in the farm's production center using a state-of-the-art Emery Thompson batch freezer. The TLC Gelato comes in delicious flavors: Country Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Strawberry, Peach, Coffee, Toffee, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Butter Pecan, Toasted Coconut and Banana Vanilla Wafer.
I sampled most of them all, and I can't pick a favorite. They're all delicious. My recommendation is try them all.
TLC Gelato is made with 100% pasteurized Grade A farmstead goat milk and has less fat than ice cream. Yet less fat does not equal less taste. Care is also taken during the churning process to avoid incorporating air into the finished treat. TLC goat milk gelato contains 70% less air than ice cream. TLC produces its gelato in small batches following traditional Italian methods using fresh goat milk, fruits, chocolate and natural flavorings. The goat milk used is less than 24 hours young. Even the containers for the gelato are co-friendly in keeping with the Clapps care for the environment.
TLC's "Little House" cheeses are also produced in small batches using fresh goat milk, fine imported cultures, pure salt and only vegetable rennet. the cheese can be used for grilling, frying, baking, salads and snacking. When heated, it will soften and brown but will not melt or run.
Cheese varieties produced by TLC include plain, jalapeno. red pepper, apple wood smoked, Greek style feta and Greek style feta with sun-dried tomatoes and sweet basil.
Terry Chapp is a cancer survivor and he and his family first got interested in the goat dairy products in 2005 when they were looking for a more healthy diet. They decided on a diet of vegetables that is both kosher and organic. Goat's milk products fit like a glove.
"You digest goat milk in just 30 minutes, while cow's milk takes three hours," said Terry Clapp, "and goat's milk is naturally homogenized inside the goat."
The Clapps got into the goat dairy business for real in 1996 with a pair of does and bought the Leroy farm. "We were scared to death," said Linda Clapp who is the official owner of the farmstead dairy. Husband Terry is her "employee" after retiring as histology lab manager for CAMC in 2011. "I was hired by my wife," said Terry with a grin. "I built the dairy for her."
Page 2 of 2 - TLC has 17 goats in its herd, a mixed group of Saanon (high producing dairy breed), Nubian, Alpine and LaMancha breeds. It is a family farm where each goat has a name and is treated with the highest standards of humane, loving care. The goats eat as natural and pure as possible. The TLC production building houses the equipment to pasteurize the milk, make the cheeses and the new Gelato machine with the milking area and processing equipment in the rear.
A separate building houses young goats who will take their place as milk-producing members of the dairy herd.
Achieving Grade A status is a big accomplishment for the Clapps, making TLC the first West Virginia Grade A Farmstead Goat Dairy and allowing them to add gelato to their products. The achievement took plenty of hard work and constant inspections by the FDA and USDA but the Clapps say it has been worth it.
TLC produces its bottled milk, cheeses, gelato and cajeta seasonally from spring to fall. TLC products are on sale each Saturday from 8 a.m.-2:20 p.m. at the Jackson County Farmers Market in West Ripley.
For more information, check out TLC on the web at tlcfarmgoatdairy.com.