While some skyline growers tinker with beets and collard greens, others push the limits of hoofed farm hands. Rooftop goats are all the rage in Sister Bay, WI, where a small herd has grazed the grassy roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik since 1973.
Restaurant founder Al Johnson explained in a 2007 interview that sod roofs are common in Sweden, where he was born, as a means of moderating a building’s indoor temperature. Johnson decided to install a sod roof atop his Wisconsin restaurant, and rather than mowing, he introduced a herd of goats to keep the lawn at bay. As it turns out, the goats draw large crowds to the now iconic restaurant, particularly during the summer months. In addition to providing utilitarian services like mowing, rooftop goats are fully capable of supplying milk, meat, and even wool. Their milk can be used for drinking, making dairy products (like cheese and yogurt), and also for crafting soap and other value-added products. These rooftop ruminates sure do give you a lot of bang for your buck… er, ah, for your billy? A little goat humor.
Check out Al Johnson’s goats for yourself, through this live feed to the restaurant’s Goat Cam.