The twins were turning 10, and this was one of those times when I just didn’t want to plan and organize yet another kids birthday party. I really wanted to something more low-key, fun with the family, and memorable.
Those of you who have kids know this, there are countless kid’s birthday parties, and we as parents are trying to make our child’s birthday unique in some way or another. Parents have done every themed party and original idea there is out there to make their child’s birthday special. I was one of those parents who just didn’t want to do that yet again – that is, go out of my mind trying to be creative and original for another birthday celebration.
This was the year when as a Mom I just wanted to take a break from kids birthday parties. So I asked the twins if they were okay with NOT having a birthday party that year if I promised to make their birthday very special. The twins thought about this and discussed it among themselves and decided to trust me. Now I was on the hook to deliver! But I knew what I had planned for their 10th birthday would not disappoint.
A few weeks before March 1st (the twins birthday), I had met my friend Georgina for coffee. She had just started making cheese at home, specifically goat cheese that she wanted to share with me, so we met for coffee. Georgina is the ultimate agrarian -loves to make gourmet foods at home. Cheese making was her next foray into this field. After successfully making soft goat cheese she was looking for inspiration to make other forms of goat cheese. She did some research and found a working goat farm here in the Bay Area. This farm hosts tours of their farm and cheese making facilities, and along with her husband Kevin, Georgina visited the Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero, CA.
Georgina enjoyed the entire goat cheese making tour and thought our whole family would enjoy it as well. But she had some additional piece of information that made it even more interesting. Georgina said the farm informed their guests that in a month (around March 1st) from when she visited, their pregnant goats would have their babies, which meant anyone who came for the tour around March 1st would get to see baby goats! She thought this would be a lot of fun for the kids, and I agreed. This was going to be my special birthday surprise for the girls- a visit to a goat farm, specifically Harley Farms Goat Dairy!
On the day of the twin’s birthday we headed to the coastal town of Pescadero, California for our goat farm excursion. The drive to Pescadero like any drive on Hwy 1, is spectacular. Pescadero is right in the middle between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay on Hwy 1. You drive 30 minutes north from Santa Cruz, or 30 minutes south from Half Moon Bay. We chose the Half Moon Bay route. Either way you go, what is undeniable is the gorgeous scenery on Hwy 1.
Shimmering blue waters of the Pacific Ocean on one side, and pastures and farms on the other side make the drive pleasant and enjoyable. You see miles of lush green farms bursting with green vegetables on both sides of Hwy 1. Some of the vegetable fields on the ocean side just seem to fade right into the gorgeous blue waters. Hwy 1 makes even the drive to Harley Farms memorable.
The town of Pescadero, California is a tiny dot on the map. It’s the kind of town you would pass by in the blink of an eye while driving on Hwy 1. Pescadero has a small Main St. with a handful of cafes and restaurants where you can grab lunch after visiting Harley Farms.
Harley Farms is a restored 1910 dairy farm with 200 alpine goats on a few acres of pasture in the coastal town of Pescadero, California. This farm has a historic barn, a hidden orchard garden, and with the help of their goat herd they make critically acclaimed cheeses. The Harley Farms chevre, fromage blanc, ricotta and feta cheeses have won awards both in America and at international cheese shows.
Once we arrived at Harley Farms we checked-in at the barn where we were given a brief overview and history of the farm. The first stop on the tour was the area where the goats roam free on the pasture.
At the pasture we were given grain to feed the goats. This was loads of fun 😀.
These goats here can be aggressive. At one point, goats wanting more grub surrounded me and they were pushing and prodding for more food. I was in a bit of panic until one of the tour guides shooed them off.
After the tour of the goat field, our next stop was an area where the pregnant goats were housed. Here a veterinarian makes sure the goat’s pregnancy is coming along fine and monitors the moms-to-be.
From the goat pen we headed towards the “crown jewel” – the pen where all the newly born baby goats were kept. In fact, one baby goat had just been born that day! As expected, this was the highlight of the tour, and everyone got to hold a baby goat 🤗.
After spending a lot of time with the baby goats we set out to the cheese-making shed.
The goat cheese factory or shed is more of a small sized barn where the farm makes their cheese. In this rustic barn, there are various machines that help in the cheese making process. This is where the tour guide shows you how goat cheese is made from start to finish – from milk to curd to cheese.
The last stop of the cheese-making tour was a charming shack where we could purchase the farm’s goat cheese, crackers, jams and jellies, in addition to their goats milk soaps and lotions.
The entire tour at Harley Farms Goat Dairy was an awesome fun and educational experience. A great way to see artisanal cheese being made and the goats that provide the milk for the cheese.
If you plan on going to Harley Farm Goat Dairy make reservations for their tour as the tours are limited to a small number of guests. The typical tour at the farm lasts about 2 hours. It’s best to go in the morning. It can get pretty warm in the afternoon and walking around the farm in the heat makes it tiring.
Make a trip out to Harley Farms in Pescadero, California and see for yourself how artisanal cheese is made and how sustainable farming can succeed and do well in today’s fast paced lifestyle. Harley Farms Goat Dairy