Goat farmers turn hobby into booming business - WKRN News 2

Goat farmers turn hobby into booming business

Gayle Tanner Gayle Tanner
Jim Tanner Jim Tanner

A couple had goats for fun in California before they decided to move to Waynesboro and get more serious about their hobby in their retirement.

Jim and Gayle Tanner came to Tennessee in 1999 and bought a piece of property about as removed from the daily hustle and bustle as you can get.

"We didn't plan on buying it," said Jim. "We whimsically made an offer and they accepted the offer, and you get one of those moments, 'Oh my God, what did we do here?'"

The property is nestled in a remote part of Wayne County near the city of Waynesboro.

Jim retired from a career in construction management and Gayle owned a competitive swimming facility before coming to Tennessee.

Since then, the couple has built Bonnie Blue Farm from scratch.

"It's one of those things be careful what you wish for," Jim said. "So we'll start a dairy farm and it's a hobby that got completely out of hand."

The farm produces goat cheese and feta, both of which have won national awards.

"Within about a year, our sales trajectory was going up like that and it still is. We sell everything we make," Jim added.

He said they also have aged cheeses and are one of few goat dairies that make it.

"And we're the only in the state, that I know if, that has a cheese aging cave," Jim explained.

The cave is built right into the side of a hill on their property and took years to complete.

Inside is the perfect environment for the cheeses to get better with age.

Although the work is hard, and the hours long, Gayle and Jim said they love what they do and wouldn't have it any other way.

Bonnie Blue Farm, now a grade-A dairy farm, sells their cheeses to restaurants in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Huntsville.

Visit bonniebluefarm.com for more information on the farm and where to buy their cheeses.

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