Foothill goat farm finds way to operate business at a distance

PRATHER, Calif. (KFSN) -- A goat farm from the foothills has found itself in limbo as the flames from the Creek Fire scorch the land.

The goats are the heart of Basilwood Farm.

Prather resident Jill Spruance runs the tight-knit family business and suddenly found danger coming closer when the Creek Fire burned.

"It's like being in limbo. That's the toughest part. From day to day you don't know where you will be, can you make stuff, do you not make stuff. Do we need to stay? Should we stay? Should we go?," said Jill Spruance, owner of Basilwood Farm.

While the farm has been under an evacuation warning but surrounded by evacuation orders, they decided to move their goats to Fresno County, so they could be ready in case the fire forced them to flee.

"We had to do two different loads. The first one went easier than the second, us chasing goats all over the pasture," Spruance said.
They're having to hand milk the goats instead of using their machinery and find ways to keep the milk cold.

Now they're running their business, making soaps and beauty products from several sites from Prather to Fresno.

"We've got our products spread out at two other locations and our mail is now going to Madera. So we are traveling a lot to go through the day and get orders out on top of it," Spruance said.

After being impacted by the pandemic, Spruance says she's grateful people have been ordering and even reaching out.

"I think we got a dozen different offers from people to take livestock or us," Spruance said.

She's overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for their little goat farm on the hill.

Basilwood Farm says they'll do the best they can to operate their business and stay afloat. They couldn't do it without the support of the community and other generous business owners.
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