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.
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.