Sunday, May 13, 2012

Visiting the goats at Harley Farms in Pescadero

This weekend, Dan and I headed down to Pescadero, about 50 miles south of San Francisco on the coast. We started our long weekend by visiting Harley Farms, a small goat dairy right in Pescadero.

After looking around and sampling multiple cheeses in the excellent shop, we joined the goat tour. 

Goats herding Dan towards the barn
The tour started with some info on the origin of the farm, then we headed into the pasture.  It was fun to pet the goats, and the goats were not shy, nuzzling against us and trying to eat our clothing. 

The goats are milked twice a day, producing about a gallon a day per goat. The udders were impressive!

After hanging out with adult goats for a while, we headed into the barn to visit the babies. It's kid season and lots of babies were around. We got to hold four day-old babies! 

Then, onto a tour of the milking parlour. We didn't see the equipment in action, since it was the wrong time of day.

We moved into the cheese production facility and got a look into the pasteurizer. Vegetarian rennet had been added a while earlier and you could see the curds beginning to form.

Then, the cheese is strained. This is yesterday's production straining in cheesecloth bags. Cool.

Garden includes edible flowers used with the Monet cheese
The tour was quite informative and I enjoyed the relaxed pace and proximity to the animals and equipment.  Looks like a great activity for kids, as an aside. We had several pretty small kids in our group and a local school group was also there.

We wrapped it up by sampling more cheese in the dining area. The hand-carved wood table was set for an event that night. 

Dan making friends with a farm resident
After the tour, we bought tons of cheese, wandered around a bit and mingled with one of the farm residents. What a fun visit! Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.