I Want to Live on a Goat Farm

I mean not really, it sounds pretty smelly and like it might involve hard work. Maybe I just want to live down the street from one and buy all their cheese. Somewhere like Harley Farms, which we visited in San Mateo County.

One of my favorite things about northern California is the dedication to eating fresh, local and organic. I try to do this at home but mostly fail miserably (fact: I will die if I don’t have access to avocado 52 weeks a year). That’s why it’s always cool when people and small businesses are really passionate about these ethics. In this case, Dee Harley was passionate enough to open her own goat farm and dairy.

I didn’t meet Dee but I did get up close and personal with her goats. 12 acres of 200 grazing lady goats (there is just one studly male goat). They were VERY happy to see us!

Apparently goats love love love head scratches. So much that when they find a new mark they will surround you and rub their heads frantically against your mid-section. This feels really strange and also hilarious at the same time.

Mike gets ambushed

We also said hello to the resident llamas, who were a bit more stand-offish than the goats. Apparently llamas are great guard dogs, and protect the goats from intruders like coyotes or dogs.

After some goat cuddling we checked out the dairy where they milk the goats, then onto the creamery where the cheese is made. Harley produces chevre, feta, ricotta and fromage blanc from their goat milk. The chevre is the star, and different versions are made with organic local lavender, cranberries, chives and more.

 

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the cheese was amazing- light and creamy and slightly earthy. My favorite was the honey lavender, so pretty and so delicate tasting. The cranberry walnut was pretty flavorful as well. I felt like I should go back out to the pasture and tell the goats “Good job!”

Harley is not technically a certified organic farm but it follows nearly all the guidelines of one. Their goats are grassfed and not injected with hormones of any kind. They use vegetable rennet to make their cheese instead of animal. They farm sustainably, kindly and ethically.

The work is paying off- so far Harley has won 30 awards from the American Cheese Society and 2 international medals.

The cool thing about Harley Farms is that anyone, who happens to find themselves near Pescadero, California, can stop by and meet the goats and taste the cheese. Visitors are welcome Wednesday-Saturday 10-5 pm to browse the shop and check out the goats. March through May is when the baby goats arrive!

Harley also offers a weekly five course dinner featuring local Pescadero foods. These events are pricey and sell out fast, but if I lived anywhere remotely close I would definitely be shelling out to try it.

 I visited all of these wonderful places as a guest of the San Mateo County and Silicon Valley tourism board. All goat enthusiast opinions are my own.

10 thoughts on “I Want to Live on a Goat Farm”

  1. Goats are the most ridiculous. Spent some time with some hilarious little goats on Centre Island in Toronto… the sound they make just force me to laugh. Can’t help myself.
    ps you will LOVE Mexico for the avocados… let me know if you go to GDL – there is a great market there and I would go often for fresh produce and I had my avocado man. He would ask me when I would want my avocados for, then go through and pick some out saying, “this one is for today… this one for tomorrow… this one for a week from now…”
    So amazing. I miss that.

  2. I have been there! It is awesome and the cheese is really delicious. They had some wildflower goat cheeses when I visited a few years ago in February. Looks like you had a great time!

  3. Haha this is awesome! I love northern California but have never been to San Mateo County. Great post, thanks for sharing! I hope the move to Mexico goes smoothly.

    Happy travels 🙂

  4. I hear you about this. One of my fondest memories of France, a trip mostly consisting of being rushed place to place by my tour guide, is touring a goat farm. We all got to taste the cheese and then were able to buy chocolates and ice cream and whatnot in their little shop. Of course I then left half my chocolates in the hotel room the next day. Doh.

  5. I absolutely love goats and will have a pygmy goat someday! Goat cheese is by far one of the best cheeses also. Here in Portland, Ore. there is a sort of “goat park” off of SE Belmont street. It’s basically a whole block in the city gated off for goats to roam, I believe you can rent them also? Pretty awesome…

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