Red barn in the snow; by janylee at morguefile
You may not know that the Farm Stay U.S. HQ farm is located in the pacific northwest, in a part of Oregon that is generally pretty mild, weather-wise. We get a lot of rain (the farm stay host here says spring is lambing season, and fall/winter is mud season), but only occasional snow.Like right now!
Bandita; by Kate Rivera
Not even enough to hide all the grass underneath.Of course, farmers still have a job to do, even in the coldest, snowiest weather. Water troughs freeze, livestock needs to be fed, fencing may need repair, branches may have come down and need clearing... but that doesn't mean a FUN farm vacation in the winter time is out of the question! We headed to our search page and came up with a few ideas for your cold-weather getaway. Click each link to see which farms and ranches can be "home base" for some snowy adventures:1. Ice Skating
2. Dog Sledding
3. Maple Sugaring
4. Snowmobiling and Snowshoeing
5. X-Country Skiing
P.S. Maybe you'd rather go to Hawaii or Southern California and just forget about the snow!
Meet LaVonne Stuckey, shepherdess and farm stay host at Serenity Sheep Farm Stay."The farms are dying. They're going away, and that's when I realized I needed to share my history and my heritage and my husband's heritage."Check out LaVonne's "little piece of sanctuary" in the video below!
Dyed In the Wool, Shepherdess LaVonne Stucky from Outlaw Partners on Vimeo.
Want a fun and rustic getaway that's like visiting grandma on her farm? Check out Willow Creek Ranch Farm Stay in Mountain Ranch, California!
Located halfway between Modesto and Sacramento near the Stanislaus National Forest, Willow Creek Ranch offers a nostalgic trip back in time to grandma's working farm. Guests can get their hands dirty and pitch in with various chores, like gathering eggs, working in the garden, or pitching hay to cows, or they can opt to just sit back and relax with a book, or go for a swim in the small above-ground pool.
Hosts Cathie and John Orr truly love to share their lifestyle with guests and teach a few things along the way. The farm raises milk cows, so when there's fresh milk available, there are also opportunities to milk a cow and feed a calf, make butter, and learn how to make your own mozzarella cheese. When there's produce in the garden, you can learn how to preserve food either by canning or freezing. Every seaon brings unique actiities!
The two bedroom cabin accommodates up to eight guests, and John and Cathie also allow camping on their property if you want to bring your own tent. The cabin also features a kitchenette with the necessary dishes and kitchen utensils, so you can choose to cook on your own, or add breakfast and/or dinner to your farm stay experience and enjoy Cathie's home cooking.The farm has also recently added a 20x20 foot tent to accommodate large parties!
You can see more of Willow Creek Ranch on America's Heartland! Click here to watch episode 1109, streaming on the America's Heartland website.
To learn more about Willow Creek Ranch Farm Stay, visit their listing here on Farm Stay U.S., then head over to their website to book next year's vacation!
Welcome signs painted by guests ofWillow Creek Ranch Farm Stay
It can be difficult to say goodbye to your new "farm family" when vacation is over. You want to hang on to that feeling - the connection and quietude.
Farmers are sharing their daily lives with increasing frequency via social media, and one of our favorite ways to see what they're up to is to follow on Instagram. Here, in no particular order, are six farms (with farm stays) to follow on Instagram right now!1. Toddy Pond Farm in Monroe, MaineSharing a mix of photos from animals, to farm projects, to products available for sale (dying to try their yogurt!), Toddy Pond Farm gives you a great glimpse into their diversified family farm and micro dairy.
See their listing on Farm Stay U.S.: Toddy Pond Farm
2. Rancho Dos Amantes in Paso Robles, California
This one is - so far - for all the wedding daydreamers out there. The Instagrammers at this beautiful central California wine country farm have focused their lenses on the happy couples and pastoral ambiance of farm stay weddings.
See their listing on Farm Stay U.S.: Rancho Dos Amantes
3. Stillwaters Farm in Henderson, Tennessee
Follow along with farm stay host Valeria as she furnishes an Airstream glamping trailer, builds and furnishes a bath house for guests, or makes soap for her on-farm shop. Also making appearances are the livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) and the gorgeous Tennessee farm scenery.
See their listing on Farm Stay U.S.: Stillwaters Farm
4. The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm in Skamokawa, Washington
The photos posted on this Instagram account are alllllll about the food. Hosts Don and Kitty Speranza are professional chefs who now operate a 15 acre working farm. Holy cannoli!
See their Farm Stay U.S. listing: The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm
5. Inn at Valley Farms in Walpole, New Hampshire
The Inn at Valley Farms posts a little bit of everything. Weddings, farm animals, scenery, mushrooms. You'll easily experience every season on this working organic farm via Instagram.
See their Farm Stay U.S. listing: Inn at Valley Farms
6. Stony Creek Farmstead in Walton, New York
"Let your family free range" is the hashtag you'll find on many of the photos from Stony Creek Farmstead. The animals aren't the only ones who get to free-range! Here you'll find farm stay guests helping out with the chores, photos of the "plush-rustic" platform tents, farm hands, barn kitties, and more.
See their Farm Stay U.S. listing: Stony Creek Farmstead
This is a start, but by no means the only farm stays on Instagram. We'll definitely have another post coming up soon, with even more accounts to follow! Meanwhile, make sure you also follow Farm Stay U.S. on Instagram! We mostly re-gram from our farm stay members, so it's a great way to find new places to add to your must-visit lists.
My husband and I bought our Oregon farm 14 years ago. We were Phoenix urbanites looking for water and a change of pace. That’s about as far as we delved into what exactly being a farmer entailed. Our farm came with a mixture of smaller livestock, some rusty equipment, a century-old apple orchard, and a peacock. It seemed like an idyllic life choice with beautiful scenery and the requisite historic barn. We thought, “How hard could farming be?”
In hindsight, a business plan might have squelched that naiveté, but idealizing farming isn’t new nor are we the only ones to have gone down that path, even marketing the myth (Does Pepperidge Farm really exist?) Regardless, this is actually a great reason to visit a farm. After all, this is where the food in your fridge starts out - be it livestock or produce, even something simple like eggs (Fair warning: egg-laying chickens are well known as a “gateway livestock”!) Farming is physically demanding; it requires skill and education, and even a bit of luck. It’s a risky business. It’s also a 7-day-a-week job that some will joke is a lifestyle, not a living. But it also brings clarity to pricing at your local farmers’ market. Exactly how much time and labor does it take on the part of the farmer to get those eggs to your fridge?
Most small farms ($100K or less in sales) require off-farm jobs to support the family. We were no different. Which leads me to the creative thinking required to make a living on a farm, also known as ‘value-added’ (thanks USDA). That would be the jam, goat cheese, wool, or soap you’ll find on Etsy, at the farmers’ market, or at the roadside farm stand. For us, it was the addition of a ‘farm stay’ to our operations. Farm stays – overnight lodging provided on the farm for a fee – are as varied as the farms offering them. You might find yourself in a tent on the back-40, a cabin, a yurt, even a room in the farm house; and, often your stay includes a farm-fresh breakfast and a rooster alarm clock.
Yup, we farmers are looking at diversification strategies (wow, we sounds like hedge fund managers) that include the hospitality business and inviting strangers to experience our lifestyle. It helps pay for tractor maintenance, but it also allows us to share our vistas as well as our challenges with urbanites and travelers, often disconnected from the natural world in ways that would have our grandparents shaking their collective heads. We know. We were those urbanites - until we weren’t.
And, it’s not dirty and boring the way you might think. Okay, well the lodging isn’t dirty, although helping around the farm might involve some dirt. Boring never factors in because… farms aren’t boring. Maybe you’ll help collect eggs, brush the donkey, even hold a baby lamb. Maybe you’ll sit on the farm house porch and read a good book, drink the local brew, unwind and unplug. You’ll be our guest for a weekend or a week and you never had to buy the farm!
This is why you would want to stay on a farm. It’s a bridge to the country. It’s a boon to the farm (it saved ours). It’s fun and unexpected, and your friends will think you are crazy, until you return home with tales of feeding a baby goat, and then they will want to go too. You’ll be protecting small-farm America that at one point built this country. You’re a patriot! Okay, bit of a stretch, but at least you have found a unique, relaxing vacation spot… and are now contemplating chickens for the back yard!
Easter is coming up this weekend, and that brings up the annual issue of cute baby animals given as gifts for the occasion. Baby bunnies (known as kits), chicks, ducklings, and other cute creatures require a big commitment. They need special diets and housing and... well... these types of animals tend to poop wherever they feel like it. Ask anyone who lets chickens free-range in their back yards! Just no decorum, I tell ya.Instead of risking the need to re-home these animals when they grow out of the cuddly baby stage and turn into a long-term responsibility, we highly recommend visiting animals on a farm instead. (Of course!) Create memories that will last a lifetime... not a lifetime of chores.
As you know, we love promoting farm stays. But we also love the fact that there are all kinds of events taking place on and around farms that don't necessarily mean staying over night. That's why we're so excited to announce the newest feature of the Farm Stay U.S. website... event calendars!Up above, in the menu bar across the top of the site, you'll see Event Calendars at the far right. The drop-down menu is broken down by region, to help you find special events where you live or plan to travel. When you click on "more details", you'll be provided a link to the farm's listing and have the option to add the event to your own calendars.
Select the region you are interested in. Not sure? Click on the main "Event Calendars" page and you'll be given a list of all the states represented in each region.
Once you find an event you're interested in, you can do a few things:
Want to make sure you never miss an event? Find the region/calendar you're interested in, and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click the button to add to Google Calendar.
When Google Calendar opens, you'll be given the option to add the calendar to your "Other Calendars" section.
This is a brand new option for our farm, ranch, and vineyard members to promote special events, so be sure to check back now and then for new additions to the calendars!
Flint Hill Farm in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania is known as a Farm Educational Center. Located on 26-acres, this multifaceted farm is a working Alpine goat and Jersey cow dairy that procudes milk, cheese, and yogurt. You can pick up these products in their on-site store or enjoy them with your breakfast when you stay on the farm.
Guests and visitors to the farm can also opt to sign up for a cheese making class, where they learn to make chevre, mozzarella, or cheddar cheese. They also give the option of milking the cows and goats in the morning before class!
Overnight guests have the option to be "farmer for a day", which includes hands-on egg-collecting, feed and water the ponies and horses, feed and milk the goats, and observe cow milking. Draft horses help with much of the everyday farm work during certain seasons.
The farm itself dates back to about 1850 and run by two famlies until Kathleen Fields purchased it in 1997. Vacationers can choose to stay in the farm house, where there are two rooms with queen beds, plus a room with twin beds, or stay in a mobile home/RV that is situated in the six acres of woods on the property.
Camps are offered during the summer, including Farm Camp, Horse Lovers Camp, and Kindercamp. More information can be found on the farm's website.
Start planning your trip to Flint Hill Farm today!
Enjoy a closer peek at Flint Hill Farm through this video:
“Life follows the rhythm of the seasons."
This is not your ordinary campground. Located on a certified organic farm in the rolling hills of northern Illinois, Kinnikinnick Farm’s Feather Down farm tents (part of the Feather Down Farms franchise) offer guests a charming and authentic farm stay experience.
From spring through fall, guests can stay in the spacious wood-floored tents and enjoy beds made with European style linens; wood stoves, along with kindling and wood to cook and keep warm; and fresh, local foods. With no electricity inside the tents, evening light is provided via oil lamps and candles. Hot showers and flush toilets are located in a nearby bathhouse.
The farm was originally founded in 1849, and has been in continuous production since. David and Susan Cleverdon purchased the farm in 1987 and began their organic garden in 1993. Now, they sell their certified organic produce directly to farmers market customers and Chicago-area chefs, as well as partnering with a program that helps feed Chicago’s homeless.
Food and Chores
Guests are welcome to help out with some of the farm chores, like collecting eggs, feeding animals, and harvesting crops, or they may choose to simply explore the countryside and relax.
At Kinnikinnick Farm, guests can purchase meal components like meats, eggs, and produce, then grill outside or cook over their woodstove. The farm also offers “arrival meals” for the first night, and during particular times of year, the outdoor wood-fired oven is available for build-your-own pizza nights.
For folks who want to carry on the fresh, seasonal cooking back home, the farm has a recipe page on their website.
To learn more about Kinnikinnick Feather Down Farm visit their listing here on Farm Stay U.S., then head over to their website to book next year's vacation!
(All photos courtesy Kinnikinnick Farm; Coral VonZumwalt)
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