In the current edition of Coastal Living Magazine, Pescadero, California was recently named one of America’s Happiest Seaside Towns. Pescadero sits less than thirty minutes south of the gorgeous town of Half Moon Bay. The entire area is a prized getaway for families in the Bay Area and throughout California. When the readers of Coastal Living Magazine were placing votes for the happiest seaside town, you can be sure that some of the votes had to do with one of Pescadero’s hidden gems: Harley Farms Goat Dairy.
A restored 1910 goat farm is the homestead for Harley Farms Goat Dairy. The property boasts a historic barn and mercantile shop filled with amazing goat milk products and of course, their critically acclaimed cheese. The farm even produces and sells a non-toxic paint made from goat milk that is available in a variety of colors! For the past 19 years, Harley Farms has thrived under the direction of Dee Harley, who has transformed this little goat farm into a sought after destination for groups, private tours, corporate events, weddings, cheese making classes and farm dinners. The farm dinners which often sell out, include a property tour, five-course seasonal meal, local wines, fresh flowers and soft candlelight. This memorable experience takes place in the farm’s beautifully restored Victorian hayloft.
At Harley Farms Goat Dairy, the day begins before the rooster crows. The goats are milked at 5am (and again at 5pm) daily. The milk is pumped into the kitchen facility and pasteurized. The cheesemakers arrive at eight o’clock each morning where they will add culture and vegetable rennet to the cheese and at that point, the milk is left to curdle overnight. The curds spend another day draining in cheesecloth bags. The famous Harley Farms Chevre drains for a bit longer than the fromage blanc and therefore, it contains less whey. The cheeses are salted and cooled before they are carefully packed into molds. The real magic happens when the staff adds their farm grown herbs, spices or edible flowers to the cheese! One of the top sellers is the “Van Goat Chevre Round” which not only delights the palate but the visual senses as well. Each round of cheese contains a stunning edible flower pressed right onto the top!
The Harley Farms website explains, “When you take a bite of our fresh goat milk cheese, you bite into a hundred years of dairy farming. You taste the grasses in our pasture, the milk of our alpine goat and the salt breeze of our California coastal town.” According to the locals in Pescadero, Harley Farms is more than just a goat farm. The love and dedication exudes from every staff member at Harley Farms Goat Dairy and that feeling carries over to the locals who take great pride in Pescadero and the hidden gems that make this one of America’s happiest seaside towns.