LAMBERTVILLE — Joe Garverick looks to the future, and he believes the next big thing, nutritionally speaking, could be milk from the camel.
The Lambertville resident keeps 15 of the engaging beasts at his 36-acre home on Consear Road and said he will acquire more as part of his plan to produce and sell their milk.
According to him, the nutritional qualities of camel milk far surpass anything that comes from a cow, and there is a large, unfilled market for the product in this country, even at the current price of $11 a pint.
Raw camel milk, for one thing, has a 0.5 percent fat content, he said. Whole cow milk has many times that and contains only about a third of the Vitamin C found in camel milk.
“Camel milk is the only milk that can sustain life. You could live on it on a desert island. It has everything we need to survive,” Mr. Garverick said. “Other parts of the world realize this. It contains insulin. In the Middle East, camel milk is used for TB, AIDS, and diabetes.”
Six of Mr. Garverick’s camels are pregnant. With newborns and camels he plans to buy, Mr. Garverick will expand his herd to 30 next year. He’ll also invest in equipment to milk camels and perform that task himself instead of sending his camels to Cadillac, Mich., to be milked by an Amish farmer. He’ll then sell the milk over the Internet.
A camel can produce about two gallons of milk a day, compared with 10 gallons for a dairy cow, he said, and the mother and calf cannot be separated for the mother to be milked.
For Mr. Garverick, keeping camels has another, nonfinancial benefit: he simply enjoys them.
Camels have a reputation for being irritable, but his are friendly, and inquisitive, approaching visitors to their paddock as if in greeting. They seem to enjoy having their velvety muzzles rubbed. On Mr. Garverick’s command, one even settles to its knees, a scene reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia.
The camels are only part of Mr. Garverick’s menagerie of approximately 150 animals that includes donkeys, zebras, emus, chickens, wallabies, and goats. His home, at 2740 Consear, is used a lot as a site for fund-raisers, including one for the Bedford Athletic Boosters slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 8.
Bedford Senior High School football players and cheerleaders will be on hand during the fund-raiser. Admission will be $5 and the proceeds will benefit high school athletics.