Tuesday, 08 October 2013 00:00

A hard worker with a passion for farming Featured

Written by Shelton Anderson
José Diaz feeds his goats. José Diaz feeds his goats. Shelton Anderson

Anyone who walks on to José Diaz’s farm will immediately be met by a unique cut-out, goat-for-sale yard sign. He said people like the sign. Goats aren’t the easiest animals to raise, Diaz said, “and everything I do is a lot of work.”

He wakes up early every morning to feed his animals, trim their nails if needed and prepare for the day. Diaz likes goat meat because he grew up eating it and drinking the milk in his birthplace of Carretero, Mexico. He moved here almost 30 years ago he said and hasn’t been back for a long time.

Now he can be found at the Jonesborough Farmer’s market rain or shine during the warmer months of the year, and selling online during the colder months. Jose Diaz is not only known for his goat raising but also his chemical-free produce and chicken eggs.

 

“I think farming is a real good thing for me and for everybody, not just for me. We need the farmers to feed the world.” 

                                  - José Diaz

Diaz raises Nubian and Kiko goats. According to the American Dairy Goat Association, when comparing goat milk to cow and human milk, goat milk has a greater amount of vitamins, higher amount of calcium and iron and is lower in cholesterol.

“The meat is real good, you can make goat chops,” Diaz said, “but I don’t make them, I mostly sell them to people and they want to fix it themselves.” 

He said a six-week-old goat would go for about $100.

“I sell the babies to somebody who wants to raise more,” he said.

He said his goats produce twice a year and when a female goat actually does reproduce she will usually have two or three babies.

goats

He said he doesn’t sell the nanny or the billy goats, but he will have to move his billy goat soon because he doesn’t want the billy goat to mate with its own family.

It isn’t a good thing he said, “That’s the reason I have to move him.”

“I don’t want to but I have to,” he said.

Farmers will have stronger animals if they make sure the animals aren’t mating in the same family he said.

“If they are worth $40, you would rather have one that’s $160,” Diaz said, chuckling, “I go for the bigger one.”

A healthy good-sized goat would cost about $160 which would make a bucket of meat, he said. University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension agent Anthony Shelton said goat meat is really lean as opposed to other meats.

Shelton also said that the state of Tennessee ranks “No.2 in the nation as far as number of goats, behind Texas.”

Demand in the Jonesborough area may be slightly higher. Diaz said people will get together to buy his goats, not just one person buying one goat. 

“I got 20 goats and I got about 100 customers,” he said, “I can’t keep up with it.”

Jose Diaz feeding chickens

Shelton said people sell to specific cultures at certain times of the year, or they will sell the goats to a seller in the area.

Diaz feels more Hispanic people like goat meat than American.

He said the Greeks will sometimes eat the head of the goats. “Some people don’t like it, and a lot of people do.”

“I don’t have problems selling goats, the goats are really a good market,” he said.

He said you can barbecue them or make soups and there isn’t a lot of fat like some other animals.

Diaz also has two pigs and over 150 chickens.

“I think farming is a real good thing for me and for everybody,” he said, “not just for me. We need the farmers to feed the world.”

In the summer he raises beans, sweet corn, squash, cilantro, onions, cucumbers, turnips, carrots and jalapenos.

“Don’t forget the jalapenos,” he said with a smile.

He is also well-known for his chemical free farm.

“I don’t need it, I raise animals,” he said.

He uses goat manure as a fertilizer. He said it only has to be added one time. The best time to do it is when it’s raining.

Diaz doesn’t take a break when it comes to his farm.

“I work seven days a week,” he said. “I get up at 6 o’clock, I make my coffee and I get my breakfast, then I go and feed my animals.”

He watches to make sure none of them are getting sick. If one starts coughing and he were to put it off until the next day it may be too late.

“You can lose them too,” he said.

Although he attends church every Sunday morning and the farmer’s market every Saturday morning, he always goes right back to his farm to work.

Jose Diaz

Director of the Jonesborough Farmer’s Market Karen Childress said Diaz started selling at the farmer’s market in 2009 and he has had perfect attendance since.

 “He’s just a very kind person,” she said, “and he just always does his very best and he wants to do right by the customers.”

When he bought his three acres almost 30 years ago, he paid $40,000. Now, he said it would be about $65,000-$75,000.

“My place is not real big but this is how you work it,” he said, “you can have 10 acres and not use it and they won’t produce a thing. You have to work it, you know? Get in there, if it’s raining, just don’t worry, just jump in.”

He farms for good fresh food and home cooked meals for himself and so that everyone else can have the same thing.

“I like for people to have something to eat, you know, plenty to eat instead of sitting around and starving,” he said.

He thinks farming is a good thing.

“When I was about 20 years old or 22, I told somebody, ‘I’d like to be a farmer’ and he said ‘Why you want to be a farmer? Farmers are too poor.’”

He told himself he would do it anyway and that he would try his best.

“It’s not much money to make in farming but it’s good eating and it’s real fresh,” he said. “You can’t go wrong because it tastes so muy delicioso. Delicious!”

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