MARKHAM, Wash. - On September 5, Westport Winery will welcome a visiting team of “horticulturists” to their Vineyards By-the-Sea. Craig Madsen, co-owner of Healing Hooves based in Edwall, Washington, will bring his herd of 250 goats to the winery property for a four day vegetation management project. Craig’s team is has become a leading weed control, vegetation removal, and ecosystem management company utilizing goats throughout the Northwest. This is his westernmost foray in Washington State.
The herd is contained within portable electric fencing and a shepherd stays on sight to manage the animals along with his sheep dog. Winery owners Blain and Kim Roberts selected this method of weed control for several reasons. Blain said, “The goats can handle the steep slopes and they are lower impact on the property than machinery, plus they aren’t put off by the blackberries, in fact, they love them.” For Kim the reasons were different, “This was a great alternative to herbicides since we are a Salmon Safe farm, plus the goats reward us with fertilizing the soil as they work.”
From September 5 to September 8 drivers along Highway 105 will likely see Madsen and his crew working. Westport Winery is open for wine tasting daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The winery’s restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner is served on Friday and Saturday evenings from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Craig Madsen, Healing Hooves