Billed as a "farmstead confectionary," Vermont's Big Picture Farms is dedicated to recasting the sweet, velvety goodness of goat milk as candy. As founder Louisa Conrad explains, the short fatty acid chains found in goat's milk make for a smoother taste in their caramels. Conrad runs the business with her husband Lucas Farrell, both trained artists who have since turned to goat farming, cheese-making and confections. While caramel—a relatively simple blend of sugar, cream, vanilla and salt—leaves little room for variation, we were taken aback by the divinely silky texture of the pillow-soft sweets.
While their caramels are similar in style to those made by San Francisco's Happy Goat, Big Picture's secret touch seems to lie in their relationship with their goats. Each has a name and a personality to match, and the spoiled herd changes pastures daily for better grazing. Due to variations in the goats' breed and diet, the art of the caramel comes from Conrad's ability to blend milks from different animals in order to get the desired taste. For the packaging, Conrad draws portraits of the goats and Farrell works it into the label.
"If you've hung around goats long enough, it would be impossible not to name them," says Conrad of the brand's beloved faces. "It's stiff competition being the cover goat. We try to be democratic about it; no goat gets featured more than once."