While we can’t deny our love for petting zoos (who can resist those little chickies and lambs?), we’re going to let you in on a little secret: the Bay Area has its very own family-friendly goat farm, located less than an hour from the city. We recently visited Harley Farms in Pescadero and were blown away by this hidden gem. The farm offers tours to families (go in the Spring to see all the baby goats!), a historic barn chock full of cheese (yes, there are samples), and a gorgeous garden with edible flowers. Not only will your kiddos enjoy the dozens of goats, but a visit to Harley Farms is a totally fun and easy getaway from the carpools, soccer practice, and daily grind of our fast-paced city.
Must Do: The highlight of a trip to Harley Farms is definitely the hands-on, two hour tour, where your kids will get a taste of life on the farm. They’ll visit the lush garden where the flowers are edible, trek on up to the restored hay loft, and take a peek at how the goats are milked and cheese is produced.
The staff is all very friendly, knowledgable, and used to tours with kids (even the very young set). Reservations are required for the weekend tours (there are also school and private tours available with advanced notice). Weekend tours are offered Thursday-Sunday and cost $20 per person; kids ages five and under are free. Since this is a real working farm you’ll be trekking through the barn and garden, so wear close-toed shoes and garb you don’t mind getting dirty.
About the Farm and Goats: Harley Farms is one of the few farmstead dairies in the United States. The farm’s mature goats are milked twice per day at 5:00am and 5:00pm, with each goat producing a whopping gallon of milk per day. The dozens of goats are all very friendly, calm, and used to visitors, which makes for a positive farm experience for the kids (yours and theirs). Be careful though: as friendly as the goats are, they get hungry too and may chew on your clothes or purse strings.
photo courtesy of Harley Farms Facebook Page
Insider Tip: If you want a truly memorable experience with your whole fam saying awwww, visit Harley Farms between March and late May when dozens of baby goats are born. Below is a photo from our editor’s trip in April when a baby goat was born minutes before entering the barn. This experience is one your kids are sure to never forget, though you may want to prepare beforehand for the inevitable “where do babies come from?” question.
Goat Goods: After touring the farm from the goat barn to the milking station to the cheese making room, you definitely have to check out the finished products. The Harley Farms barn is chock full of all sorts of cheese, some that are even pressed with their edible flowers. From goat cheese to chevre to fromage blanc, the farm’s store offers something for every taste bud. The store also features a variety of other products including bath and body products, farm tools, books, and even apparel.
Bonus: Looking for a unique date night sans the kids? Instead of opting for your go-to restaurant, head on over to Harley Farms where they dish up some totally delicious five-course seasonal meals. You’ll nosh on seasonal goods in a romantic, candlelit restored Victorian hayloft. You can even bring your own bottles of wine. Check here to learn more about the farm’s kid-free farm dinners and lunches.
205 North Street, PO Box 173
Have any of you been to this hidden gem in Pescadero?
— Erin Lem
photos courtesy of Ian Lynch, except the third one.
featured image courtesy of Olaf via Creative Commons.