City girl on the farm

A Foursquare user created a “Stuck in Traffic” location for Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay over the Labor Day Weekend. That windy road to the coast turns into a parking lot on holidays.

The crowds and the cloudy skies convinced us to spend Labor Day away from the beaches. Our innkeeper said we should check out the goat cheese operation at Harley Farms in Pescadero.

We sampled the creamy Monet and other chèvre products inside the cheese shop. Then we learned about the farm tour:
– Meet the goats!
– Tour the milking stations
– Wander through edible garden
– Make cheese
– Eat cheese

The shop worker had me at “make cheese.” We signed up for the tour.

Our tour guide laid down the ground rules (don’t feed the goats, don’t bum rush goats, be kind to animals) and covered the extensive history of this farm property. It used to be a dairy farm in the early 1900s. Thanks to six goats and a love of the land, Harly Farms transformed into a sustainable operation that produces award-winning goat cheese.

The goats, cheese and farm owners caught the attention of newspapers from the West Coast to the New York Times.

We wandered out into the grazing area to meet the herd.
Meet the herd!
It was amazing to watch the American Alpine goats rush up to us, eager to meet their new herd buddies. We also had to watch where we stepped because the animals provided physical evidence for their excitement. (note to city slickers: I’m quite happy I left the Steve Madden heels at home.)

Meeting the locals

Our tour guide explained that the farm collects thousands of gallons of rain water for the herd’s drinking water. That’s just one of the many sustainable practices used by the farm. I suppose what is good for the land and the herd also helps produce quality cheese products.

Llamas guard the goat herd
I enjoyed meeting the goats and the llamas who guard them, however I think the big tour highlight for me is going inside the cheese making room.
Making Cheese
Our tour guide showed us how they made the Monet cheese.

We ate the cheese with slices of bread inside the dining area inside the barn’s loft. Overall, a delightful, educational tour with a tasty ending.

When was the last time you visited a farm?

[Facebook peeps, check out my blog link to watch video of the cheese making experience and for a cool photo slideshow of the farm.]

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