NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!
Another new member to the Farm Stay U.S. website this year is Pebble Cove Farm on Orcas Island, Washington.
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.
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)
Today we are welcoming On the Windfall in Lansing, North Carolina to the Farm Stay U.S. family.
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.
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)
Please join us in welcoming Belle Meade Farm in Sperryville, Virginia to the Farm Stay U.S. website.
This restored Victorian farmhouse is located on 138 acres of fields, woods, and streams in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. A teaching farm with organic gardening, chickens, horses, pigs, and cows, Belle Meade Farm is a great place to renew and refresh.
The farm has four in-house rooms, as well as a stand-alone cottage, all with private baths. Rates include a hearty breakfast. Guests of all ages are welcome, as are weddings and special events.
To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Belle Meade Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!
(Photos courtesy Belle Meade Farm)
This week we feature an interview with Ginger Sykes of Turtle Mist Farm in North Carolina. Ginger and Bob Sykes long dreamed of farming and now aim to share their love for nature and knowledge of where food really comes from with others.
Ginger Sykes: We chose this area because it is not too far from my family in Maryland, the land prices here were unbelievable, the property is ideally located because it is rural but not too far from the city -- Our farm is 25 miles north of Raleigh.
Ginger: The setting around the property is very peaceful, although we have close neighbors, while on the property you get a feeling of being in a small world all your own. The view from the guest house overlooking the pond makes you feel like you should be sitting on the front porch in the rocking chairs sipping lemonade.
Ginger: We have pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys, chickens (laying and broilers), Muscovy duck, Guineas, quail, peacocks, 2 horses, a goat, and a donkey.
Ginger: Our garden is a small market garden (we grow just enough to take to the farmers market). But because we cannot compete with the larger vegetable farmers we chose to grow different veggies. We grow purple & white Kohlrabi (a cabbage turnip), Edamame, turmeric, Tatuma squash (just a different variety of squash), berry tomatoes (cherry tomatoes that are shaped like strawberries), malabar spinach (a summer vining spinach) mini bell peppers, Armenian cucumbers (they look and taste like cucumbers but are muskmelons).
Ginger: We named the farm Turtle Mist because the pond in front of the guest has a large number of turtles in it and in the morning there's a fog that rolls across the pond.
Ginger: Most of our guests are parents with small children who want their children to have the farm experience and to learn where their food comes from. After they tour the farm, we let them help us with our chores, i.e., gather eggs, feed the sheep and pigs, and they can help in the garden if they want. If they don't want to work, they can fish, paddle boat, visit with and take pictures of the animals. Our horse trainer offers horse instructions and riding. And, depending on how long they stay, some guests visit surrounding cities (Raleigh, Durham, Wake Forest).
(Photos courtesy Turtle Mist Farm)
Please join us in welcoming one of our newest members to Farm Stay U.S., Mavis Manor!
Specializing in "Farm to Fork localness", Mavis Manor is a sustanable farm stay retreat situated on 33 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia.
The farm raises a flock of 75+ happy chickens, a fluffy English Angora Rabbit named Chewy, and a locally famous pig called Sylvia Smackers.
With three guest rooms in the 1897 Queen Anne Victorian house, Mavis Manor can accommodate up to 9 guests, including children under 12. They provide breakfast and have snacks available, and guests are welcome to help with chores, learn about permaculture, or relax and play yard games.
To see what more they have to offer, visit Mavis Manor's listing on Farm Stay U.S.!
Please say hello to our new Farm Stay U.S. member, Three Sparrows Farm!
Farmers Doug and Erin raise Mini-Mancha goats on their two acre farm just 15 minutes from the historic town of Prescott, Arizona. Guests can enjoy fresh goat milk, plus eggs from the farm's chickens. Meet their "deceptively charming" donkey, named Button!
The farm has a cabin which accommodates up to four guests. They welcome kids of all ages, who are free to roam and explore, help with chores, nap on the porch, and explore the area. There are horse riding facilities and hiking trails located nearby.
Visit the Three Sparrows Farm listing on Farm Stay U.S. to learn more.
This month we feature an interview with a very dynamic duo,
ranch stay members Ron and Chris Wilson of Lazy T Ranch in the Flint
Hills of Kansas.
A 4-H member, FFA officer, farm radio broadcaster,
Congressional staffer, association executive, rural
director, corporate vice-president, small business co-founder,
ticket-taker, Sunday School teacher, diaper changer, bottle
tractor driver, posthole digger, thistle chopper, haybale
fence fixer, calf holder, manure scooper, and tail
Ron & Chris: Five years ago we moved back to the ranch and
built a new home. Mom moved up with us two years ago, leaving
her house empty so it was available to remodel and serve as a guest
Ron & Chris: You've heard of flat, treeless Kansas?
This is the exact opposite. We are nestled in a region
called the Flint Hills, with tall hills, deep draws, plenty of
native stone, and lots of trees and brush. We have four
distinct seasons, each of which has its appeal.
Ron & Chris: Guests can enjoy their privacy if they like,
because we are in a secluded spot although close to Manhattan, but
usually our guests choose to visit our historic stone barn, feed
horses and goats, and enjoy the landscape. Sometimes a family
will gather eggs from our chickens and have them for breakfast.
Ron & Chris: This is generally cow-calf country, with herds
of brood cows populating the rangeland. Cattle feeding is not
predominant here, although there are some feedyards. Cattle
feeding has become concentrated, particularly in western Kansas
where several large packers have located. Beef is our state's
largest single ag industry, still dominated by decentralized groups
of producers (as opposed to pork and poultry, which have become
more unified or vertically integrated). In addition to
ranchers, there are lots of farmer-stockmen raising grain and
Ron: I grew up here on the ranch and have always been a cowboy
at heart. Years ago I was at a conference in Colorado where
they had a cowboy poet as entertainment. I had never heard or
seen such a goofy thing, but it was definitely entertaining.
Years later I tried my hand at writing and performing it
myself, and have had a great time since. Overnight guests
don't get cowboy poetry as such, but they do if they schedule one
of our beef barbecue suppers.
Ron & Chris: Most of our activities are done by appointment,
such as when tour groups or organizations book an evening for
supper and entertainment. However, during weekends in
October, we hold our Fall Festival which is open admission for pony
rides, pumpkin patch, hayrack ride, kid activities, etc. In
2012, for the first time, we hosted a National Day of the Cowboy
celebration and had about 50 people come out for speakers, picnic
supper, and western entertainment. It was a lot of fun and
would hope to do it again.
Ron & Chris: The guest house is a remodeled and expanded
family farm home, with three bedrooms and a large common living
room. It has satellite television, but it also has card games
and marks on the wall to mark the kids height on their birthdays
through the years. The front porch is native stone and the
house is nestled into our corner of the river valley, surrounded by
the Flint Hills.
Ron & Chris: We offer lunch and supper but supper is our
most common offering: beef barbecue with all the trimmings.
Ron & Chris: A
friend of ours has a saying: Horses are magic. We have
had visitors who apparently have never seen a horse up close and
personal, and they seem to find them fascinating. People love
to pet and feed them. The goats will eat feed right out of
kids' hands, which tickles their palms and causes them to have a
blast. Kids have described their birthday parties here as
their best ever.
For more information on Lazy T Ranch, visit their Farm Stay U.S. listing or
their website: http://www.lazytranchadventures.com/
Serina Harvey and her two sisters founded Flip Flop Ranch in 2003. The ranch, located in the desert of Southern California near Big Bear Lake, combines a farm stay with heritage livestock and farming therapy for women who have been victims of domestic violence. The ranch's mission is "To build healthy relationships between people and the world around them." We are excited to share our interview with Serina, and give you the inside scoop on this fascinating place.
When I decided to raise backyard chickens three
years ago, I consulted books and the internet, as it is so easy to
do these days. But books and web forums didn't prepare me when one
of our hens broke her leg. As a girl from the suburbs, whose only
real outdoor chores growing up were weeding a lawn or raking
leaves, I laugh now (and cringe a little) to recall our dash to the
vet's office to have them put a splint on that little chicken leg,
when, really, I could have handled it myself.
There's a self-sufficiency that comes from trying things on your
own, trial and error, and necessity. However, if we have the
foresight to seek help and knowledge from our community, we can
accomplish even more.
In Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a
Consumer Culture, author Shannon Hayes interviewed
Los Angeles homesteader Kelly Coyne who says, "you need community.
The best way to do any of this is to have someone show you how to
do it. I think a lot of these skills are not easily taught by
books, and when you're a person who's not been raised doing any of
these things, whether it's preserving or growing or dealing with
small stock, it's all very mysterious. You spend a lot of your time
going, "Well, what is this?" Like, "What's this spot on the plant,
why is my chicken doing that?"
Our farm, ranch, and vineyard members know about community, and
the importance of sharing knowledge. Guests can get started
learning a variety of skills straight from the farmers and ranchers
who practice them every day.
Check out these results from some Activity searches on our site:
Along these same lines, this September, Mother Earth
News and Grit magazines are
hosting International Homesteading Education
On their website, you can find workshops, open houses, and other
events, all centered around neighbors teaching neighbors and
building more self-reliant communities. Find events about food
gardening, renewable energy systems, raising livestock (including
backyard chickens), real food preparation and preservation, fiber
arts, and more.
Though alpacas don't have a long history
in the United States, according to Brian Leach, who directs
Sunset Hills Farm Alpacas, alpaca farmers are a tightly knit --
and quickly growing -- community. There is a lot of enthusiasm and
energy surrounding alpacas, and to many of the people who dedicate
their time to raising them, alpacas are not just a business but
also a hobby and a passion. As Brian Leach explains, alpacas are an
eco-friendly choice of livestock, since they clip the turf like a
lawnmower, providing gentle pasture management. Alpaca fleece is also hypo-allergenic and
extraordinarily soft, and alpacas tend to have sweet personalities
and gentle dispositions.
Sunset Hills Farm sits on 47 rolling acres in
Western Pennsylvania, 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh, and a few
hours south of Lake Erie and Niagara Falls. With a herd of 100
Accoyo and Peruvian alpacas, by U.S. standards Sunset
Hills is considered a large alpaca farm. The farm was founded in
1997 by Dr. David and Laurye Feller, who take tremendous pride in
their award-winning alpaca herd. As Mr. Leach tells
me, "We're a farm that produces champions; real stars have a
permanent home here."
Sunset Hills Farm has become more diverse and
dynamic as it has grown - beyond specializing in breeding and
selling champion alpacas, the farm also offers an
onsite alpaca boutique called Alpaca de Moda, a
B&B with two distinct properties, the Sunrise and the Stargazer, and property rentals for
special events, including weddings. At Alpaca de Moda, the farm sells its own
luxurious, multi-award winning alpaca yarn and locally hand-knit
sweaters, hats, and gloves plus imported alpaca garments.
All kinds of guests come for the B&B. Some are interested in
raising alpacas themselves (and some will be
by the time they leave!), while others are traditional vacationers
simply looking for a nice place to stay while they enjoy the golf
courses, festivals, hiking, biking, orchards, and farmers markets
of the surrounding area. For those interested in raising alpacas,
guests have the option of shadowing the farm manager, and helping
with chores that may include feedings, grooming, and shearing the
alpacas. Guests are also welcome to collect eggs from the farm's
small flock of a dozen chickens.
Guests choose between two properties, the Sunrise, a traditional three-bedroom, two
bath log cabin, or the Stargazer, a two-story, two-bedroom, two
bath apartment built into the alpaca barn. Rates for the B&B
start at $99/night. Brian stresses the Stargazer's unique appeal: from the
inside, it looks like country cottage while from the outside it's
an old-fashioned barn. The Stargazer's windows also look directly
out onto the alpaca habitat, and toward the surrounding hills and
valleys. The Stargazer close in winter, while the Sunset is
available for year round stays. Delicious breakfast options might
include a frittata or quiche, including ingredients from the
garden, or fresh baked goods from local bakeries or the farm
For more information about Sunset Hills Farm, including contact information, check out the listings
for the Stargazer and the Sunrise on Farm Stay U.S.
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