Nestled at the base of Black Mesa in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona about 9 miles due east of the historic pioneer town of Snowflake, we (Kathryn and David) worked towards rehabilitating and improving this long-abandoned 280-acre off-grid homestead property with an eye toward self-sufficiency and a plan for sustainability. This web site documents the adventures we had during our 20 years here from 2000 - 2020.
Recent Happenings at the Ranch
Moving down the road
The Times They Are A-Changin'
8/20/20 It has been an incredible 20 years since we came to Black Mesa Ranch. During that time we developed an award-winning herd of dairy goats, built an artisan goat dairy producing nationally-award winning cheeses, grew our gourmet chocolate business, and opened a gourmet food truck business. We gardened, fenced, spent many cold nights helping goats to kid, milked goats and made cheeses twice a day, cried when things went poorly, laughed when things went well. It wasn’t an easy life, but we enjoyed it.
We have now sold the ranch and passed the torch on to others to create their rural dreams.
We are only moving a few miles to our new home and will still have some livestock guardian dogs and chickens. We will still garden, and fence, create our gourmet candies, hang out with the animals, and enjoy the country life.
But this is the end of our adding new content to this BMR website. We will leave it up for its educational and entertainment value, but will not be making updates. We thank all the people who have vicariously traveled this road with us on this website, giving us advice, cheering us on, having faith in our goat herd, visiting our food truck, and buying our confections.
We hope you enjoy your visit here.
Please look to our Epic Fine Chocolates website for more about our current projects or to order confections directly from us.
Life Goes On
Springtime Brings New Hope
4/17/20 As the coronavirus continues to disrupt the daily lives of the world’s human population, spring on the ranch goes on as usual for the animals – including the wild birds that make this their home.
So far the ravens have laid 7 wonderfully speckled eggs in their big nest up in the rafters of one of our barns. Usually they will fledge 4 or 5 chicks each year. This pair of beautiful jet black birds have made BMR their home for quite a long while now. They have an amazing vocabulary and I sometimes think they even have names for us, even seeming to have a conversation with us at times. It is as if they enjoy having us around as much as we like them.
The heron that visits our pond has return from wherever it spends the winter, and we have seen a pair of bald eagles checking out the area.
A New Way To Shop Our Confections
Epic Fine Chocolates Is Here!
4/8/20 Introducing a new name for a long-trusted part of The BMR family of businesses. We have developed a new name, a new logo, and a new website to better represent our new focus and direction.
Why now? As we grow and expand we realize the name Black Mesa Ranch ties us to this amazing location where we may not always be based. The new name also more accurately speaks to the direction our products are headed.
So what's so new and different? Well... how about that we're moving from winter-seasonal production to year 'round? Or, the fact that we are greatly expanding our lines of confections? Look for fancy bonbons, crazy dessert bars, signature chocolate bars, gourmet panned specialties, and more coming soon!
So, is "Black Mesa Ranch" going away? Never! Black Mesa Ranch, Inc (or more familiarly BMR) is now, and will continue to be, the parent company for all of our chef-driven culinary ventures from Epic Fine Chocolates, to GrillinN Chillin food truck & catering.
More Reasons For Eating Chocolate
Easter is Coming Soon!
3/12/20 Easter 2020 is on Sunday, April 12 and no it is NOT too early to be ordering your special treats from BMR!
OK, so we don't make jumbo bunny rabbits or impossibly-colored marshmallow chicks or any strangely-filled candy eggs.
What we DO make is a great selection of delicious, hand-made, traditional confections like Chocolate Truffles, Caramels, Toffees, Fudges, and more.
Maybe it's time to lose the barnyard candies and grow up to some of the finest chocolates you've ever tried. You won't be sorry! Click here to order!
Holiday Season's Greetings
It's Time To Decorate For The Holiday Season
12/20/19 For the holidays some people put up decorated trees or wreaths or ornaments – others decorate their goats. Gotta love it! Thanks to Amanda and Dianne for sending pictures of their festive “kids”.
Please don't forget to check out our singing holiday cards made by David's very talented sister, Cynthia. Happy Holidays to all!
It's a Sweet Life
BMR Gourmet Candies Are Now Available
10/22/19 The weather is now cooling off enough for us to start making our seasonal gourmet chocolates! This year we are bringing back many of our long time favorites as well as adding a swag bag that is filled with samples of most of our products.
We are proud to offer the freshest candies possible and use only the finest ingredients available including exquisite Belgian Chocolate, high quality fancy nuts, and 100% pure flavors and extracts. You can read more about our candies here.
Our candies, as always, are handmade in tiny little batches, attractively packaged, and express shipped with the utmost care. Please give our full line of fine confections a try. They also make great gifts.
These candies will be available through Valentine's Day.
BMR Candy Factory
Great Treats Made Right Here On The Ranch!
4/3/19 It was a fabulous candy season for us and we are now sold out of all of our seasonal candies. We will offer them again in the Fall.
We, of course, still have our year 'round selections of Goats Milk Fudge, Chocolate Sauces (Regular and Spicy), and Spiced Pecans. Please check them out!
Keeping In Touch
It's a Doe Year!
3/11/19 We have dispersed our breeding herd and only have 2 retired milkers and 2 wethers here. However, we are getting reports from the new owners of our goats. A lot of the does were pregnant when they were sold and are kidding now. As of today, we have gotten reports on 7 of the girls.
Most of the does kidded with triplets, though one overachiever had quads. Those seven does produced 20 kids – 15 girls and only 5 boys. WOW, what a doe year it is! Congrats to the does for a job well done, and best wishes to their new owners. Thank you for taking great care of our goats.
Ringing In A New Year
A Beautiful Way To Start The Year
1/4/19 We woke up to a new year with a lovely covering of fluffy white show shimmering in the sunlight - almost 8 inches of glistening crystals. Occasionally the trees would drop big clumps of snow that hit the ground sending up plumes of sparkles.
Something crazy and NEW! from BMR…
10/16/18 Running a goat cheese dairy is a lot of work for an ageing duo to handle, especially without any outside help. And after 15 years of doing it 24/7/365 - it gets, shall we say, a little boring. A couple of months ago, David (whose background is as a professional chef), during a long, hungry drive home through the “Culinary Wasteland” of central Arizona, decided that this area needed a new and exciting food option.
His big idea? A mobile gourmet kitchen with a varying menu that would celebrate seasonal and regional foods. Take the food to the people! Yes, we’re talking about a gourmet food truck!
The idea evolved and solidified quickly. The opportunity to buy an amazing almost-new fully-customized gourmet trailer presented itself and we jumped in with all four feet. The menu concepts coalesced. The new graphics for the wrap blossomed and before we knew it Grillin N Chillin, an Arizona Food Truck, was born.
So now we are venturing out to venues across Arizona in “Grillin”, bringing our exceptional food to you! And we’re certainly not bored anymore!
Find out more about this wild-and-crazy new BMR adventure at the Grillin N Chillin website. Find out where we’ll be Grillin next on Street Food Finder. Connect with us on social media: FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram, and have us cater your next event!
Oh yeah – and wish us luck!Kathryn and David (both Center) at the Snowflake Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony
BMR Goats Are Judged As Excellent
9/15/18 The goats are looking great and they can prove it. Our linear appraisal, where a trained appraiser looks at each goat individually and grades them against “the perfect goat”, went very well. The appraiser was thrilled with our goats, commenting that the girls were both beautiful AND productive. That is exactly what we strive for here. All the does that got their final LA score were judged as Excellent, younger girls scored from Good Plus to Very Good to Excellent.
Not long after our appraisal session it was time for our annual inspection by the Humane Farm Animal Care people. Our inspector was amazed at our goat cheese operation here, loved the goats, and commented multiple times at how great they looked and what a wonderful environment they had. In fact, she put in her report that if she were a goat, she'd want to live here! Now THAT’S a good report!
BMR Fan Club
Getting Feed Back From Our Customers
5/15/18 We always appreciate getting updates on the goats that we sell. Pictures are a bonus, too. But 7-year-old Sariah in Colorado went even farther. She hand stitched a marvelous likeness of Liberty Rose, one of the goats that she and her family adopted last year along with a doe named Peace. Sariah even sent a hand-written note about how the girls are doing there.
Thank you Sariah for your very kind and beautiful gift. We hope you, Liberty, and Peace have a great time together!
BMR Herd Manager Earns Certification
2/10/18 Herd Manager, Kathryn, has now earned her certification as a Dairy Goat Producer from Langston University in OK. Langston has an internationally acclaimed Goat Research Center and is a leader in the often under represented fields of goat management and health.
The course covered many goat related subjects from biosecurity to milking, reproduction, cheesemaking, facility development, marketing and much more. We thank Langston for offering this course. Click here to learn more about the Dairy Goat Producer Certification Course.
And Even MORE Awards
ADGA Awards Superior Genetics Titles
11/30/17 Once again The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) has announced that more of our goats have received their Superior Genetics Title (SG). We are very proud of these goats for being so productive and beautiful. Awards have been given to Charlotte, Onyx, Legacy, Finale, our senior herd sire Gideon, and posthumously to our late herd queen, Celeste. Congratulations to these fine animals.
Even More Awards
Award Winning Fudge, Nuts, and Fudge Sauce
11/19/17 Black Mesa Ranch took home seven ribbons (6 first place and one second place!) at this year’s Arizona State Fair in the Professional – Culinary division for our confections. Our Goats Milk Fudges stole the show with 3 first place awards in 3 different confection categories and our Spiced Pecans brought home 2 first places in the snacking categories. Our Fudge Sauces took both the first and second place awards in the syrups category.
It was our first year entering the competition and we are, of course, thrilled with the results!
- Belgian dark Chocolate Fudge: First place Chocolate Fudge
- Belgian dark Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts: First place Chocolate Cooked Fudge
- Belgian dark Chocolate Fudge with Chiles & Pecans: First place Chocolate with Nuts Fudge
- Orange Spiced Pecans: First place Snack Mix
- Chipotle Chile Spiced Pecans: First place Other Snacks
- Dark Chocolate Fudge Sauce: First Place Syrups
- Chiles & Chocolate Fudge Sauce: Second Place Syrups
These award winning items and much more can be purchased from our online Candy Shop at Epic Fine Chocolates.
Now That's HOT
BMR Wins At The Scovie Awards!
10/20/17 David, the chef at Black Mesa Ranch, entered 4 of his spicy food products for the 2018 Scovie Awards - and ALL FOUR took awards!
Here are the results from the Scovies.
1st Place White Cheese: Goats Milk Feta Marinated with Hot Peppers & Garlic
1st Place Sweet Heat Sauce: Chile & Chocolate Fudge Sauce
3rd Place Sweet Heat (Candy/Cakes/Pastries/Cookies): Goats Milk Fudge with Chiles and Pecans
3rd Place Snack Nuts: Chipotle Spiced Pecans
About the Scovie Awards
The Scovie Awards (also known as the "Scovies") are an annual international spicy foods competition that originated in 1996. Based in New Mexico the contest sees entries coming in from across the globe, as far away as from Australia. The Scovies are named to honor the memory of Wilbur Scoville, the scientist who invented the Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912 to determine the heat scale of chile peppers.
Scovie Award winners are determined by a panel of 80 to 100 judges, mostly food professionals, who sample over 800 products in about 20 categories in blind tastings. Products are judged according to eye appeal, aroma, flavor, and heat scale.
Well Earned Awards
Top Ten Breed Leaders
8/31/17 The USDA list of Elite does and bucks has come out. Again Black Mesa Ranch goats are well represented. Reese, Obsidian, Snowflake, and Detroit are again rated as some of the best goats in the country, and our girl, Abby, has now earned her Superior Genetics title! Great work, girls!
Today The American Dairy Goat Association list of 2016 Top Ten Breed Leaders came out and two of our does are on it!
SG Black Mesa Tally’s Reese is listed as #1 Nubian in butterfat and SG Black Mesa Celestial Night Sky is listed as tied for 7th place in butterfat. That’s some awesomely rich, high quality milk those girls produce!
Congratulations to all our hard working goats!
Time For Treats
It's Always "Fudge Season"!
5/27/17 While Fudge is great any time, it has traditionally been eaten more during the warmer months of the year.
- In the US, National Fudge Day is June 16th.
- Mackinaw Island MI (the self-proclaimed Fudge Capital of the World) hold its annual Fudge Festival in August.
- Black Mesa Ranch celebrates Fudge Season from mid-May through October when the average highs in much of Arizona reach into the 90's (warm by just about any definition!)
To read more about Black Mesa Goats Milk Fudge and more about fudge in general, and to buy some our wonderful, creamy fudge, go to our online Candy Shop at Epic Fine Chocolates.