When I was in my twenties and thirties I dreamed of living in a Grecian olive grove surrounded by goats wearing tinkling melodic bells. The herby-smelling warm air. The rustling of the silvery olive leaves in the breeze. The occasional bleating of goats carrying through the gloaming. It all seduced me, yet somewhere along the way I lost sight of that dream. Today I have olive trees in the back garden and a couple of Labradors. It’s not quite what I had in mind, but it works. But whenever I run into goats, as I recently did at Harley Farms in Pescadero, a little scent of that dream nudges my memory cells.
If you haven’t been to Pescadero, it’s a charming small village, just south of Half Moon Bay off Highway One. It’s just far enough inland that even on the foggiest of days you can find the sun trying to break through and warm things up a bit. There’s a serious coffee shop, the Archangeli family’s general store is known for amazing artichoke bread, preserves and more, wine tasting, and a few other cool spots to browse through antiques, knick-knacks and art. This time though, we drove down the main street and took a right in search of all things goat.
Just a few miles down the road, after following the wooden ‘girl and goat’ signs, we came upon Harley Farms. Founded over 20 years ago, and built around a century-old dairy, the farm is home to 150 American Alpine goats, 80 of whom generously donate their milk for our enjoyment. Did you know that each goat produces one gallon of milk per day which in turns makes 1lb of cheese?
The on-site cheese shop, which has been open for over a decade (how have I missed this gem?), is well worth a visit. Harley makes a range of soft goat cheeses – some beautifully decorated with flower petals, others topped with herbs or apricots. There are rounds, logs, and pots of goat cheese, even slabs of farm-made feta which is delicious. The best part? You can taste it all.
In addition to cheese, the farm shop sells its own honey, preserves, fresh eggs, and even soaps and lotions made from goat milk. We also took a peek upstairs and found a cool, uber rustic barn space for entertaining: oversized hand-carved wooden chairs crowd around a huge slab of a table. Ideal for a wedding party or special birthday.
Once you’re done with shopping, you can wander around outside and meet the goats – there are tours (although we didn’t go on one) – and check out the pretty cottage garden. Very charming and reminiscent of an English summer garden, it’s full of flowers and herbs and seemingly allowed to grow at will, although you know a lot of care and forethought has gone into creating this luscious space.
For information about tours, cheese making events and more, call (650) 879-0480 or look at the farm’s web site. As for me, I’m going to revive that dream of living in Greece in an olive grove full of goats…