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.

Archive for tag: goat cheese

Farm Stay Story - Spiritwind Farm

Our second Farm Stay Story was written by Andrea O'Connor, who visited Spiritwind Farm in Lebanon, Maine.

Spiritwind Farm Draft Horses

I'm so happy to have discovered Farm Stay U.S.!

I had an incredible time at Spiritwind Farm, Lebanon, Maine. A BEAUTIFULLY restored farmhouse with luxury room and private bath. They have two Shire horses Kelly and Lucy, goats Coco and Bella and babies (so cute!), chickens, pigs. I think the big pig's name is Cobble and she likes to eat giant marshmallows as the occasional treat. She's having piglets in the fall!

Kathy's goat milk soap is fabulous, the best I've ever used. She makes chèvre cheese too, which I didn't get a chance to taste as she was all sold out. Blueberry muffins, a dip in the beautiful pool after days at the nearby ocean beaches, watching the fireflies and flames in the outdoor wood fireplace!

Ahhh. So relaxing and fun.

Thank you, thank you to Farmer Kathy, farm hand Erin, and all farmers doing such importand work for us and the earth!

(Photo courtesy Spiritwind Farm, words copyright Andrea O'Connor)

Farm Stay Story - Mariposa Creamery

Sorry! Mariposa Creamery has closed their farm stay doors since we put up this post.
Our first entry in the Farm Stay Stories contest is brought to us by Helene Garcia of French Foodie Baby. This story about her family's visit to Mariposa Creamery in Altadena, California first appeared on her blog on June 19, 2013.


 

At the goat farm...

 

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The other night, at dinner time with Grandpa and Grandma, Pablo was served some pork chop with mushrooms. He happily grabbed his fork in one hand, and with the other hand, picked a mushroom from his plate. He examined it, and turned to me: “La mer?” Loosely translated as: “Does this thing I’m about to put in my mouth come from the sea?” We then had a conversation about the forest, the place where you can find bunnies, deer, trees, creeks. And mushrooms.

I felt very happy about this exchange, because I realized that Pablo is interested in where his food comes from. He knows it’s not just magically there. Not only does he know a process of shopping, and cooking went into it (which he participates in more and more), but he also knows the food grew, or lived, somewhere. And I have, without giving it much thought, just as part of our conversations at the dinner table during our family meals, pointed out to him where the things he eats do come from. Shrimp, fish, oysters from the sea. Herbs from the garden. Apricots and peaches from our market friend Sam’s trees. Cherries we picked ourselves. Eggs laid by chickens. I am very matter-of-fact about naming the meat we eat as well, whether it’s duck, chicken, lamb, etc.

Way before our children ask us where babies come from, they should ask us where their food comes from. Or at least, let’s hope they do. And let us have a good answer for them (one that does not include an unpronounceable ingredient, as Michael Pollan advises). If we want our children to eat and enjoy real, nutritious, clean foods and give them a lifelong love for them, we must 1/ have, 2/ nurture, an interest in those foods, a curiosity of the what (it is, it tastes like, smells like, feels like, looks like), the how (it was grown, made, prepared, cooked), and the where (it comes from.)

This pursuit of connection with our food, this love and interest for the sources of our food, has been so fulfilling, nourishing, as it were. And it led us a few weeks ago, to Mariposa Creamery Farm Stay, in Altadena, California.

Gloria and Steve, who both have day jobs while running this goat and farming community, welcomed us in their haven for a couple of wonderful days. By wonderful, I mean the type of vacation that makes you wonder whether that should be your full time life. Because then, every morning would be a little bit like this...


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We wake up early and step outside within a few minutes of waking. We hear the birds, and the goats in the distance. Haphazardly dressed, Pablo refuses to put shoes on and wants to go explore the vegetable garden. It exudes free growth. It’s not a perfectly trimmed garden with ranks and beds. It’s a freestyle vegetable jungle. Pablo explores, passed the tall fennel, chards, amaranth, squash flowers, around the artichokes and the shiso.


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I try to follow but his small size gives him the advantage, to explore and find treasures. And a treasure he does find. “Tomate”. There, hidden in the depths of this jungle he’s so simply made his own, hangs a small, perfectly vermilion tomato. He extends his little hand and gently picks it. We both take a bite.

Oh, that bite.

He continues on, feeling the earth on his feet. Steve greets us as he picks some chards for our breakfast. The goats bleat over there, on the other side of the big house where many people of all trades seem to evolve productively.  We walk over there. Pablo stops by the berry bush to pick a blackberry, and we meet the carpenter, whose shop is next to the creamery. He shows us how he spreads the seeds of the wild flowers around every so often. So they keep growing wild throughout the property, and they do. Bright orange and yellow blotches everywhere, which a certain goat might be allowed to exit the enclosure to enjoy, every once in a while...


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We wonder into the chicken enclosure, and find Gloria grabbing some fresh eggs for breakfast. Pablo is eager to hold one. Pablo is eager to hold two. One gets broken, so he holds on to the other one carefully. Lesson learned.

Now for another lesson, a goat milking lesson. The suggestion that I may milk the goat straight into my coffee enchants me. I follow suit.

Pablo is familiar with the milking movement, as it is also the sign for milk in sign language, which we used when he was an infant. This was always his favorite sign ;-) But he is a little intimidated by Brin, the goat we are getting our milking lesson with.


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He decides it is wiser to feed her treats while we learn. He watches baby goat Spike get some milk from Brin.

The fresh milk tastes exactly that. Fresh. It is not gamy as I expected, though I like gamy. It tastes very mild and delicious. Oh the wonderful things that can be made with that milk. And Gloria and Steve do make so many of those wonderful things here. They teach a cheese making course I am hoping to take some day. And yogurt.

We hang with the goats for a while, the 5 months old one are just about Pablo’s height. They are terribly photogenic. Dare I say hams even?

Petting, nudging, observing, climbing, jumping ensues. Kids.

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We get this sense of family. The goats, Biscuit, Apple, Ice Cream, Rhubarb among others, are raised with love and warmth. It radiates.


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It’s breakfast time. What a feast Gloria has made for us. One of our most memorable breakfasts ever. Fresh squeezed orange juice from that tree, right behind us. Homemade bread, with fresh chèvre. Homemade jam, homemade ketchup. Roasted potatoes, fresh herbs. Artisan sausage from a friend of theirs. Pablo discovers a love for sausage. And eggs of course. Sauteed chards with homemade goat feta. Goat milk yogurt. Brand new apricots deposited by a neighbor in the mailbox last night, packed in an egg crate. Juicy as can be.


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This is how people lived hundreds of years ago. This is how some people live today, right here in a suburb ofLos Angeles. And how wonderful, brave and beautiful.

After breakfast, Pablo wanders on the path in the back of the house, among the wild poppies, fruit trees and artichoke plants, holding a piece of cheese in his hand, mumbling to himself “squeeze, squeeze”, the goat milk the cheese came from.

I love that he can experience this freedom here. This rich environment.

Certainly our morning is a very romanticized version of farm life, which is tremendous hard work and commitment. But what a worthwhile venture.


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It sometimes feels like the kind of life that I want, for myself, for Pablo. At the same time, I have no idea how we could get there, or how it would fit with the other stuff our life is currently made of. Sometimes we must make choices. As long as we don’t live by default. Food for thought, for now.


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Words and photographs copyright Helene Garcia / French Foodie Baby 2013.

Please join us in welcoming a new member to Farm Stay U.S... Lucky Goat Family Farm, located in beautiful Big Sur, California!

Lucky Goat 1

 

Lucky Goat Family Farm is equally inviting for families with children as it is for romantic couples, singles, or groups of friends. Each day begins with milking the goats, making cheese, checking the troughs, and watering the gardens. Guests are welcome to join in, or just relax on the spacious decks overlooking the ocean.

The farm hosts have been making goat cheese for 26 years and they offer a special goat cheese making workshop (by reservation, with a separate fee from the stay).

Lucky Goat 2

 

The cottage has room for up to five guests to stay and experience this haven for wildlife and livestock, including goats, sheep, horses, cattle, sheep dogs, deer, bobcats, fox, and condors.

The farm is located close to Pheiffer Beach and the Cultural Center of Big Sur, Loma Vista, where visitors can find great music and wonderful shops of local crafts.

Want to see more? Visit the Lucky Goat Family Farm listing on Farm Stay U.S.

Wow, what a great month we had in July for new members! Please join us in giving a hearty welcome to these newly listed farms. Here are some quick highlights from their profiles:

Chantilly Ridge Alpacas

Chantilly Ridge Alpacas

Port Orange, Florida

We are a family run full service Alpaca Farm (meaning we do all the work), located in beautiful Port Orange, FL. Come and help out on the farm, feed and play with the Alpacas, chickens, bunnies. Relax by a beautiful pool (get a wonderful massage, optional ) or visit the many interesting places Daytona Beach and surrounding areas have to offer.

Pholia Farm

Pholia Farm Goat Cheese Dairy

Rogue River, Oregon

Go glamping in a charming, refurbished 1970 Airstream Land Yacht in a private setting on a real goat cheese farm. Participate in milking and farm chores if you like, feed baby goats in the spring, or hike our forest trails. The farm is completely off the power grid and nestled on 24 acres of forest and farmland. It is family run, sustainable, and organically managed.

Sweet Retreat

Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks

Northfield, Vermont

The guesthouse is perfect for short or extended vacations. To get you started, we stock the guesthouse with ample breakfast fixings for your first morning meal. We invite you to help yourself to fresh veggies from our lush garden in summer, and to complimentary maple syrup from our sugarhouse year round throughout your stay.

Harvest Village

Harvest Village

Leroy, Michigan

Harvest Village, an organic, centennial farm features natural meat products from grass fed cattle and sheep; pastured heritage pigs; free range heritage turkeys; and free range chicken eggs.

Spiritwind Farm

Spiritwind Farm

Lebanon, Maine

Beautiful and private historic farm in southern Maine. I raise English Shire horses, Nubian and Nigerian goats, chickens, and pigs. Delicious Chevre cheese and luxurious goat milk soap are products from my goats. Almost everything I serve is from the garden or from my animals. The animals are all treated humanely and they live happily and freely on the farm.

Flamig Farm 2

Flamig Farm

West Simsbury, Connecticut

Over the past 30 years, driven by Nevin Christensen's Eco-environmental vision, Flamig Farm has grown from a small egg, organic vegetable, and strawberry operation to a richly varied, education and entertainment, farm complex and petting zoo.

Newton Farm

Newton Farm

West Kill, New York

Set in a high mountain valley, in the heart of the Catskill Region, Newton Farm Collective is a small market garden organic farm on 50 acres of rolling pasture and woodland.The farm dates back to the 1840's and retains all of its charm and curiosity, the setting is truly tranquil and peaceful.