A Sweet Business Comes To Strawberry

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Just in time for Valentine's Day, John Bittner announced that he has opened the Strawberry Fudge Factory in the hamlet of Strawberry, located just under the Rim in North Central Arizona. The venture gained support and referrals from Scott Flake from the Payson Regional Economic Development Corp., as well as Judy Miller from the Small Business Development office of Pima College.

Bittner will begin supplying select stores and restaurants in the area with his famous goat milk fudge. The fudge will come in two flavors -- chocolate and peanut butter. Orders will be taken by phone, as well as on the Internet.

The making of fudge from goat's milk has been Bittner's longtime dream. Along with his three sons, he became interested in raising goats and producing quality products from goats' milk in the mid-80s.

The molecules in goat milk are smaller than those found in cow's milk, so the digestive system can accept goat's milk easier than cow's milk. Those who are lactose intolerant know the benefits of goat's milk.

Eighty percent of the world's population can consume cow's milk products, and 97 percent can consume goat's milk products. Worldwide, more people use dairy goat products than cow's milk products.

Bittner currently has seven goats on the property located at the Fossil Creek Llama Ranch in Strawberry. He has named them all, and they rally around him when he cares for them.

New goat kids will be born again this spring, starting on Easter weekend. He is currently raising both Nubian (floppy ears) and Alpine goats.

His plans for the future include certification of his goatmilk cheese and expansion of his processing facilities.

Tours of the Strawberry Llama and Goat Ranch can be scheduled for families and groups along with classes in fudge and cheese making.

For fudge orders, call (928) 476-5178, or e-mail arizonadairygoatman@ yahoo. com

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