Harley Goat Farm Dairy
We toured and had dinner at the only working dairy in San Mateo County tonight, Harley Goat Farm in Pescadero, on the coast 30ish minutes south of San Francisco.
I didn't bring my camera, but I had my iPhone...
There's a wonderful story about how the woman who founded it got into this business without ever planning to. This property was a semi-cooperative cattle dairy until, I've already forgotten, the 1950s?, when it went bankrupt after the arrival of factory milk farming in California in the 1930s. (The buildings are over 100 years old.) A couple bought the disused property to raise a family, later met some woman from the Santa Cruz mountains with a herd of goats that needed pasture. One thing led to another and now Harley is an award-winning cheese-maker. They've garnered foodie accolades and lots of attention and plan a major expansion next year. See? Life can be wonderful! ;)
We learned a lot about goat husbandry too, and got a very frank presentation about the realities of farm life. A couple factoids: If you keep goats in a small area, they will eat vegetation to the ground. But if you pasture them in a big area, they just nibble foliage tips. The pasture was only seeded once, 20 years ago.
The goats loved Guy. Well, they're very social and enjoy human contact.
We wore funny hats to tour the dairy.
Curds and whey.
The goats are milked twice daily, each yielding half a gallon each time. Apparently, the milking is a relief to them and they look forward to it eagerly. They queue up for it once the gates to the milking palace are opened. We had to get out of their way.
The goats have llama guards. Dolly Llama and Fernando Llama.
Dinner is served upstairs, in the former barn.
We had four-course hors d'oeuvres plus soup before sitting down to fish, ravioli, and duck (all sourced locally, of course), and it topped off with a fresh warm ricotta dessert. Bring your own wine. We drank the sparkling water they provided and enjoyed conversation with couples from the Mission, San Jose, and Palo Alto.
Strangely, I was less interested in taking pictures once the food came out.
It's hard to get a spot at the dinner table. They do one dinner a month and fill up immediately. But I gather you can take tour easily enough. I highly recommend it.