Harley Farms: A Romp with the Goats

I have been meaning to check out Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero for years and when Ria’s class was scheduled for a field trip to the farm, I cleared my calendar and immediately signed up to be a chaperone.  I am a little bit of “farm visiting nut” and am often dragging friends and family (some whining and kicking) to some farm or the other.  For me (and Ria), this field trip was a dream come true.  Totally worth the long drive with three “crazy” kids in the car.  I did manage to keep them relatively “subdued” by playing a book on tape for both legs of the trip.

We learned a lot about goats and the process of how goat cheese is made, start to finish.  It was also “baby goat season” and we got to feed and pet newly born (one day old) goats (cute!) as part of out tour.  We even saw a little goat stand up for the first time!  I am not sure if the kids learned this, but I realized what hard work making cheese is and how much love goes into it.  Harley Farms takes great care of their animals and is committed to making a superior product.  If any of the goats get sick and have to be on antibiotics, they don’t use that goat’s milk for a month!  Pretty impressive, in my book.  In a world where a lot of what we eat is artificial, hyper-processed and pesticide and antibiotic laden, the farm’s commitment to creating sometime pure is remarkable.  Plus, it comes through in the taste – their end-product is impeccable.

The goat cheeses that they make at Harley Farms are not available at too many retail locations, but you can order them online or better still visit them and purchase the cheese at possibly the best farm shop in the world.  As expected of me, I went a little crazy with my cheese purchases.  Handcrafted, beautiful, creamy, super fresh and organic, these goat cheeses are like no other goat cheese I have tasted before.  The Harley Farms chevre, fromage blanc, ricotta and feta cheeses are consistent winners at the American Cheese Society awards, and hold two international World Cheese Show medals.  Ria and I were both enamored by what they call the “Monet Rounds” decorated with edible flowers grown right at the farm.

It was a laughter filled, exciting (and educational) day and the children loved being nibbled on by the goats.  No one was safe from being “attacked” by a goat trying to eat your jacket.  In spite of the lingering goat smell and all the goat poop on our shoes, much fun was had by all.  Ria and I cannot wait to go back and drag some of our unsuspecting friends with us.

The Harley Farms website is full of information about the farm and their cheeses. Check it out for more information on farm tours and farm dinners.  If you are in Pescadero to visit Harley Farms, you must stop by Duarte’s Tavern for some of their famous crab cioppino, seafood, artichoke soup and olallieberry pie.  Erratic coastal weather permitting, hit the beach before or after.  The perfect food adventure and day trip all rolled into one.

This coming weekend for Mother’s Day – because this is what I want to do – we are off to Redwood Hill Farm in Sebastopol for their Spring farm tour.  It promises goat milking, play time with baby goats and samples of goat cheese and their other products.  You can also pack a picnic and eat lunch there.  I am also plan on taking along a cooler to bring home some of their award-winning goat milk cheeses, yogurts and kefirs home.  In my book, that is the perfect Mother’s Day. 🙂