Business

The Work We Do: Debbie Slack, Catapano Dairy Farm

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I’m Debbie Slack. I’m the manager here at Catapano Dairy Farm.

A typical day for me is I come in, I open up the store. I put the flags out so people know we’re open.  

Then I check and make sure everything’s stocked up in the store. I also order all of the feed for the animals: the hay, the grain.

We do get a lot of orders, mostly for our fresh goat cheese, which is a spreadable soft cheese.

It’s [got] a third less fat than cow dairy; it’s easily digestible. People with lactose intolerance can have it.

We’re closed during the winter, so a way to keep me employed is I make the beauty products during the winter to build up inventory for when we’re busy.

Our soaps and cream are our best sellers. Honey oatmeal is my favorite scent.

They’re all made with our fresh goat milk. It’s very beneficial to your skin. Goat milk has a quality that can help even out your skin tone. People with new tattoos come in and say that it helps heal them. It can help with eczema, too.

I arrange for tours. I get a lot of people out here from senior centers, library groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. That’s fun, when I’m informing them of facts that they didn’t know about before.

During the tour, they get to milk a goat, which is wonderful. Some of them stand back and they’re a little put off by it. Eventually, everybody says, ‘You’re going to leave here and be the only one that can say they didn’t milk a goat,’ and they get in there.

People enjoy coming here. They can see through a window our cheese kitchen. Usually people have never seen that before. They enjoy knowing exactly where their food is coming from.

It’s my ninth year here. It’s the first job I’ve ever had where I get out of bed and enjoy coming in to work.

I really love it mostly because of the people. And goats are very interesting. You could sit for hours and watch them goof around. I’m an animal lover, so that’s really what drew me in the first place to working here. But it turns out I enjoy the interaction with people just as much.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing.