Farmstay U.S. Blog

Created for and by travelers and the farmers, these posts will cover a variety of topics related to farm stays in the U.S.

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Waihuena Farm in Haleiwa, Hawaii

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Farm Stay U.S. was happy to welcome Waihuena Farm in Haleiwa, Hawaii to the site in 2013.

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Just across the street from Pipeline, neighboring the Pupukea Paumalu nature reserve, Waihuena Farm runs a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program featuring their organically managed crops. The farm is also host to a weekly yoga class and monthly permaculture workshops and events, including guest chef dinners.

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Waihuena Farm has a lodge, which can sleep up to 12 people, a beach house, which sleeps up to 6, and also welcomes campers. Guests of all ages are invited to stay.


To learn more and plan your farm stay in Hawaii, visit the Waihuena Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S. Aloha!

(Photos courtesy Waihuena Farm)

Mariposa Creamery goats on stumps

Mariposa Creamery is a small micro-dairy offering a farm stay in the middle of the historic Zane Grey Estate in Altadena, California. Who would have thought you could take a real farm vacation in the Los Angeles suburbs?

Besides being able to stay overnight on the farm, guests can opt in for cheese-making classes and a chance to taste a variety of the cultured milk products produced by the resident Nubian goats. Goats are milked twice a day and guests are allowed to try their hand. It's harder than it looks, but the goats are patient teachers.

 

Mariposa Creamery breakfastGreat for couples or young families with at most two small kids (due to the size of the Airtream trailer that resides in the middle of the garden), Mariposa Creamery has been selected by Airbnb as one of the Top 40 on its Wishlist. Could it be they were chosen because their promotional photo shows baby goats in front of the Airstream? Or could it be just the most interesting, fun, natural, foodie stay in LA - and for only $169 per night?!

We sat down with Gloria Putnam, goat herder/cheesemaker/farmer to find out more about her farm oasis and what it's like to be an urban farmer.

What is the landscape and setting like around your farm, especially since you are so close in to LA?

We are in a suburban neighborhood. About 15 minutes from downtown LA. And only 5 minutes from the hiking trails of the Angeles National Forest.

What is the Zane Grey Estate known for and how does the farm fit into it?

Mariposa Creamery Zane Grey EstateThe Estate is on the National Register of Historic Places, both because the western author Zane Grey lived (and died) here, and also because it was built by architect Myron Hunt, who is most famous for building the Rose Bowl in Pasadena but also for building many other commercial and residential structures in the area and was an early pioneer in poured-in-place concrete construction.

The property has no history of farming before our project. But it's an ideal location for a suburban farm because the lot size is large compared to most properties, and Altadena has zoning laws that allow livestock. Altadena is kind of an urban farming hot spot in Los Angeles.

What do guests typically do when they visit your farm?

Mariposa Creamery milkingThe most popular activity is the morning goat milking. Guests can watch or get a private goat milking lesson. Many students plan their visit around a food crafting class offered on the Estate by the Institute of Domestic Technology. Others arrange for private cheese making instruction.

Off farm, guests enjoy visiting the nearby Huntington Gardens and hiking in the mountains. We have a collection of ruminant-related DVDs in the Airstream that are also very popular!

Could you describe your accommodations in a bit more detail, e.g. is the trailer best accommodating 2 adults or can a family with kids squeeze in?

Mariposa Creamery AirstreamOur Bambi is the smallest trailer made by Airstream--only 16ft. Think Tiny House size. The main bed is a little bit more narrow than a full, so fine for a couple that doesn't mind a night of snuggling. The dinette also folds down into a smaller bed. We've had up to families of 4 work it out, but that's a little bit tight. Families of 3 and couples are the most common guests.

How/when did you get into farming and what’s your background?

We've been farming here for about 7 years. Our dairy goats are the main focus, but we also keep chickens and quail, and have a reasonably sized vegetable garden and herb garden. We were motivated initially by just wanting good food. But now I think we are mainly motivated by our love of our animals, and an appreciation for the magic of what they do: make milk out of grass!

What drew you to goats, cheese, and small-scale farming (be it a certain breed, a certain type of growing method, etc.)?

Mariposa Creamery charcuterie (goat sausage)I love milk. And goats seemed an obvious choice since our space is relatively small compared to most farms. Our goats are Nubians, so they make especially rich milk, which is great for drinking but also high-yielding for cheese.

The most fun part of small-scale farming for me is learning something new, since I didn't grow up on a farm. I love learning about the goats, how to best keep them happy and healthy, and how to make the best use of their generous offerings. I'm a scientist by training, so cheese making is a natural hobby for me.

Anything else you think travelers might want to know?

Mariposa Creamery cheese making classOur farm's focus is education. We don't sell our milk or cheese although farmstay guests get to enjoy both while they are here. We teach cheese making classes and operate a dairy internship program for locals. There aren't many farms or ranches near Los Angeles, so it's a great place to invite people to come and see what what small scale farming is like. Everyone who visits is surprised by how friendly the goats are. The most common comment I get is "They are just like dogs!" Except dogs don't give you their milk!

 

 

So ended our conversation with Mariposa Creamery, obviously great lovers of goats, hanky-panky aside. Did we forget to say that their Mariposa Creamery Facebook page is full of the daily antics of their four-legged friends, including sneaking in through windows into the kitchen and getting stuck in all manner of things?! A visit to this farm is sure to bring some peace into the middle of an LA stay, but also a few tales to tell!

Harmony Fields in Bow, Washington

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Please give a warm Farm Stay U.S. hello to Harmony Fields in Bow, Washington!

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Growing herbs and specialty produce, and raising lamb and ducks, Harmony Fields is an organic farm located in the Skagit Valley of Washington. Guests can help feed sheep, ducks, and donkeys, and explore the herb and vegetable beds. In the summer, there is a workshop focused on health and creativity.

Located near the town of Edison, the farm has views of Mount Baker and there are other farms nearby that guests can visit for fresh berries, cheese, and other treats.

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Harmony Fields welcomes guests of all ages in their seasonally available guest cottage. The cottage has a full kitchen, bath, and loft bedroom.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Harmony Fields listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy Harmony Fields)

Happy New Year, Travelers!

We'd like to invite you to come like our page on Facebook, if you haven't already. We love to chat and hear your stories, and we often share great photos and info from our farm and ranch members there.

Join us on Pinterest!

Visit FarmStayUS's profile on Pinterest.

Are you as addicted to Pinterest as we are? It's a little dangerous, actually, because we can get to looking at the various pins and following them back to their sources, and an hour (or more, shhhhh) goes by in a blink!

Recently, Pinterest rolled out maps for place-pins. It's a really cool feature that lets us pin our farm, ranch, and vineyard stays and have them show up on on a map.

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We're still working on getting all the pins linked to their spots on the map, but we're having lots of fun with it! (Looking at the screen-shot above, we clearly need to get that middle area populated!)

Anyway, we love to find new folks to follow, so either post links to your Pinterest profiles here in the comments, or give us a follow over there and we'll find you that way... happy pinning!

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

We have another new member to spotlight today - Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm in San Cristobal, New Mexico. Please join us in welcoming them!

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Nestled in the Sangre De Criston Mountains, just 11 miles from Taos, the Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm raises organic goji berries, chickens, and goats. Guests will enjoy taking in the surrounding creeks and ponds, aspens, flower gardens, and orchards, and bird watchers will be happy to discover that this is also a bird sanctuary!

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Taos Goji Eco Lodge welcomes guests of all ages. They have three cabins, as well as a 3 bedroom adobe Artists Residence with adjoining log cabin, and an Artist Retreat Casita. Meals are self-prepared, and there are lots of activities. The farm welcomes weddings and other special events.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm)

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho

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In the early 90's, a fifth generation cattle-ranching family decided that they wanted to share the beauty, history, and heritage of the land that they'd been working since 1940... and, so, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch began extending their country hospitality to overnight guests.

Located in Idaho's scenic Panhandle region, the 1,100 acre ranch has spectacular views of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, as well as being adjacent to thousands of acres of land for horseback riding or cross country skiing. Owner Janice Schoonover tells us that they enjoy four true seasons and "the landscape is stunning with the changes that each of the seasons bring."

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Guests staying at the ranch can enjoy different activities, depending on what time of year they visit. Summertime brings all-inclusive guest ranch packages, which feature horseback riding as the main activity, with additional opportunites to enjoy wagon rides, working with cattle, skeet shooting, and archery. Guests may also enjoy a dinner cruise on Lake Pend Orielle, or canoeing down the Packriver.

In the winter, there are horsedrawn sleigh rides, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing. Right now, in the fall, it's an excellent time for leaf peeping - taking in all the gorgeous autumn colors.

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The lodge - made of handhewn logs - has six private rooms with private baths, plus a rec room, a great room with a large riverrock fireplace, a loft sitting area, and a hot tub. There are also four private log cabins with private baths that each sleep six. The cabins have furnished kitchens and wood stove heat.

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Western Pleasure Guest Ranch welcomes group retreats, family reunions, corporate retreats and provides a beautiful and unique setting for weddings. Beginning September 30th, the ranch will host Bed and Breakfast stays - an example of the different offerings that change with the seasons.

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To learn more about Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, take a look at the video below, and then visit their listing on Farm Stay U.S. Now is a great time to book for a winter getaway, or start thinking about a guest ranch adventure for next summer!

Pebble Cove Farm on Orcas Island, Washington

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Another new member to the Farm Stay U.S. website this year is Pebble Cove Farm on Orcas Island, Washington.

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Overlooking Massacre Bay on Orcas Island, this south facing salt water farm grew out of a dream of raising children by the sea. Guests may stroll through the organic garden and enjoy in-season produce, collect organic eggs, pick berries, and visit with the goats and Buddy the pony.

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Pebble Cove Farm welcomes guests of all ages to stay in one of their studio suites, the family suite, or the cottage. Weddings, family reunions, and other special events may be held at the farm.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Pebble Cove Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy Pebble Cove Farm)

On the Windfall in Lansing, North Carolina

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Today we are welcoming On the Windfall in Lansing, North Carolina to the Farm Stay U.S. family.

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This 215 acre farm is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They raise sheep and chickens, grow sunflowers, and are experimenting with a hop yard. Guests can also visit with goats, a donkey, and a wild pony, and enjoy hiking and fishing right on the property. Leaf peeping is another wonderful seasonal activity here.

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On the Windfall has three private cottages with lots of amenities. The Barn and The Granpy Aut each sleep 4, and The Granny Mandy sleeps up to 9. The farm welcomes children under 12, weddings, family reunions and other special events.

To learn more and plan a vacation, visit the On the Windfall listing here at Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy On the Windfall)

Farm Stay Story - Windysage Farmstay B&B

This Farm Stay Story was sent to us by 12 year old Kelly Kirk, who recently vacationed at Windysage Farmstay B&B in Mackay, Idaho with her family. Take it away, Kelly!

Windysage2Hi, I’m Kelly. I live in Texas with my mom, dad, and older sister. This summer I had the most wonderful vacation ever and I want you to have fun also. So, if you’re looking for a place out in the country to relax, enjoy the scenery, have fun with your family, play outdoors, and be with animals: well I think I know just the place for you. There’s this new organization called Farm Stay U.S. that has bed and breakfasts which are on the land of a farm, ranch, or vineyard.

My family and I traveled to a goat farm in Mackay, Idaho. There, we played with the chickens, ducks, cats, bunnies, turkey and goats. The turkey made the most beautiful cooing sound. I learned how to milk a goat and filter the milk afterwards. Miss Karen and Mr. Adam, the owners of the farm stay, made extra sure to make us feel right at home. They gave us fresh eggs from their chickens and fresh milk from their goats. We also received homemade bread and sausage. At dark we sat around the campfire and ate the ice cream from the goats’ milk Mr. Adam made for everyone, and enjoyed the moonlit mountains.

Windysage3When it was time to go to bed I slept on the pullout couch in the living room of the little cabin we stayed in. My parents slept in the bedroom and my sister slept across the lawn on a bed in a small building fashioned to look like a covered wagon. When I woke up in the morning I didn’t hear the rumble of cars or the neighbor's lawnmower. There was no sound. Everything was calm and peaceful. When I went outside I felt a slight breeze and the warm sun on my face. The chickens were moving around and occasionally the turkey would make its soft cooing sound. There were no cars on the dusty road or a neighbor to be seen. It was just my family, Miss Karen, Mr. Adam, animals and the mountains.

Time went by so quickly I didn’t even realize it was our last day in Mackay. We gathered our suitcases and put them in the car. Miss Karen and Mr. Adam were waiting for us and we hugged them goodbye. We thanked them for everything they had done for us and how they made us feel so at home. Right before we left we gathered hands and prayed. They prayed for us and our safety getting home and we thanked God for bringing them into our life. We left with tears in our eyes but in our hearts we knew we couldn’t be happier. They blessed us in so many ways and they can do the same for your family. Go stay with them on their farm, you won’t believe what you’ll find in just a little town in Idaho.

(Words and photographs copyright Kelly Kirk.)