This afternoon we had the treat of visiting an artisan goat cheese farm near Petaluma, CA. Knowing we wanted to visit a dairy farm, I searched online until I found McClelland Dairy, which gives what sounds like very educational tours of their organic cow dairy farm. Unfortunately, we were just a bit early in the season, and they aren’t offering tours yet, but they were kind enough to respond with suggestions for alternatives. One of those was Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese, home of 160 adorable goats and a couple who must be the kindest goat farmers out there, Bonnie and Don.
We were surprised to learn when we arrived that they are also one of 15 local farms that provide organic cow’s milk to Organic Valley, a brand we’ve purchased many products from. We spent 2 1/2 hours on a private tour, visiting the goats, learning about the cheese-making process, and tasting four different kinds of goat cheese!
Oh my goodness these girls were so sweet.
If there had been room in my purse while Chad was looking the other way, this little one would have been Colorado-bound! Just kidding, of course. Mostly.
We learned how much personality these goats have. The kids (MY kids, children, that is) and I recalled reading Heidi together last fall, in which the goats definitely have distinct personalities, and we found this to be true. One doe, Boots, likes to be tour guide, so she was let out of her pen when we came by, and she joined us for the rest of the tour.
Bonnie takes loving care of the goats , and Don makes the cheese, following methods his Swiss ancestors used years ago. We weren’t able to see inside the cheese-making room, but did see where the cheese is stored in one of two refrigerators.
I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of goat cheese previously, but we got to try four different kinds of cheese made here, and they were ALL very delicious! They were much more mild than I expected, and although I’m no cheese expert, I don’t think I would have known they weren’t made from cow’s milk. In fact, I thought they were some of the tastiest cheeses I’ve had. I was hoping to try fresh goat milk, but it isn’t legal to sell raw in California.
While we were learning about cheese with Don, Bonnie found out that one of the does had birthed two kids during the night, so we just had to go meet them!
We got to peek in at the cows being milked (800 cows, takes 6 hours to milk, twice a day = lots of work!)
It is so beautifully green around here. Lots of orange California poppies growing in and around the gray rocks jutting out of the green hills with the black and white Holsteins peacefully munching nearby is very charming. We so enjoyed our time on the farm and very much appreciated all the time our sweet hosts spent with us.