Craft Goat Cheese-making in Stanislavska Consolidated Community

Stanislavska village community was established in 2017, consolidating two councils – Stanislavska and Shirokobalkivska, where community residents totaled 7,130.  In Stanislavska consolidated community (CC), there are powerful nature-inspired, cultural and historic capacities.

Due to its location along the estuary and being close to two Oblast level cities (Kherson and Mykolayiv), this geographic feature brings the CC the potential to develop agricultural, green, active (walking, water and biking), gastronomic and wedding tourism. Efficient utilization of such critical advantages are critical mechanisms for successful and sustainable community development. With this in mind, and with assistance from the USAID “Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency” program, the CC elaborated their Strategy for Sustainable Development for 2019-2027, Local Economic Development Program and CC Economic Profile.

The first step to the tourist-oriented CC are the study tours for local entrepreneurs to partner with CCs in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, organized with USAID DOBRE cooperation. During three intensive days, the study tour participants learned the local approach to recreation, visited tourist centers and researched opportunities to conduct tours. One of the group participants was a future entrepreneur from Stanislavska CC, Olena Byelozorenko.  

“My husband and I used to be city residents. I have worked in the sales department in the local theater for 20 years, and my husband worked as a watch repair master. Seven years ago, we decided to drastically alter our life, and moved to the village area. Right from the start, we bought goats - at the beginning two, to have milk and bryndza (brined cheese) for us. Eventually, we had more milk and more bryndza; we shared with family and friends, and they really liked it. For me, as a creative personality, it was interesting to try new recipes for more aged cheeses. This is how we varied their assortment. And one thing led to another!” said Olena.

With time, Olena’s family bought more purebred goats, and the quantity and quality of the produced milk was exciting. Most people had heard that the quality of goat milk is 10 times higher than that of cow milk. Doctors recommend goat milk and its products to nursing mothers, senior persons, children with allergies, persons with diabetes and those going through cancer treatment.

Similarly, it is recommended for people following healthy lifestyles and taking care of the health of their loved ones. Hence, the primary activity for Olena became her family Eco Farm “Lymanska Koza” (English for The Estuary Goat). To make different types of cheese Olena uses some spices, nuts and herbs that she grows or buys from peer community members, thus supporting the local producers too.

“At this stage, we make and deliver over 20 types of soft and hard cheese, produced with the traditional original recipe, that would add beauty to your food table and satisfy your taste,” says Olena.

Notably, from the very beginning Olena had been only making and selling craft goat cheeses. Then, after visiting Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and gaining new knowledge, she went forward and created a “petting zoo” with her own goats. Such a tourist attraction should be interesting for visitors and promoting an increase in selling the Eco Farm produce. In 2020, the Eco Farm “Lymanska Koza” opened its doors to the visitors as the newly registered business entity in the CC.

“This way, one can visit our mini petting zoo, since goats, especially young goats, are a truly positive world! Sure, we have to invest a lot of energy and care into our business. However, the happiness from realizing that our product brings not only excitement to people, but also use, compensates for all the fatigue and worries. We would be very happy to welcome you at our Eco Farm, to provide you with our tasty and useful products. And as usual, stay healthy!” says Olena. 

“It is so wonderful over there. All the goats are friendly as kittens. Thank you!” says Lina Mykhailovska after visiting the Eco Farm.

Olena’s goat farm serves as a great example of what is possible for other would-be entrepreneuers in the region. In her home of Stanislavska CC, there is good support for local business and tourism evolvement. It is essential to create new jobs that will enhance favorable conditions for the community economic growth. Domestic tourism becomes a good reason for taking a rest and getting to know new communities in the country.

“I am pleased to admit that in our community lives such a creative and ambitious business lady as Olena. Notwithstanding the fear and risk, she gave a start to the new type of production and found the marketplace. And thanks to the gained experience during the study tour, she was able to transform the production territory to the tourist attraction spot that gradually became a business card for the CC. This is how local governance, supporting the local lady entrepreneur, received a new taxpayer,” said Rayisa Sonko, a member of the Local Economic Development working group.

This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Global Communities and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.