I’m going to see Dee Harley a lot this month. That’s awesome because she is truly one of my favorite cheese people. I can never get enough of her. That’s why I brought my parents to her farm as a present.
It was a Christmas present, actually. But the Harley Farms farm dinners are so popular that even though we arranged it in December the first available spot was May 7. Now that I’ve attended one, I see why!
Starting at 4 PM with a full tour of the farm, you really get a sense of how much love goes into the care of the goats and land, and how much effort goes into the cheesemaking. Here are my parents walking through a field of goats. They hadn’t yet discovered how much these beauties can pee and poop!
We got to meet some milkers, the llamas, and some babies. Here’s Laurie pushing the head of a baby male goat. She said that they love that and she should know since she raised goats herself awhile back. I didn’t catch the names of these goats, but since they are males, let’s call them Birria and Meatloaf.
Then we got to go to the cheese room. Now, there are a million pictures of me in a hairnet. There’s even one on the top of my website. But I’d never gotten a picture of my parents in hairnets before. Thanks Laurie!
I suppose if I was really a food blogger instead of a cheese worker I would be giving you the details of the Harley Farm acreage, the number of goats, the volume of output and throwing lots of silly adjectives around. But I’m pretty sure I’ve done some version of that before and I don’t know whether people ever really read that stuff anyway. I know I don’t unless I’m making signs for the store. No, the thing to know about Harley is that it’s a small, sustainable farmstead dairy where the goats are well cared for and they make great fresh goat cheese.
After we tasted cheese, we went upstairs for the dinner. I meant to take pictures of the food, but I was having too good a time (and too much BYOB wine) to remember to pull out my camera. What did we eat? OMG. First, a warm carrot, beet, asparagus salad, with feta. Then goat cheese raviolis. This was followed by the main course of spring lamb with mint sauce. We finished with fresh, warm ricotta with strawberries. Everything was awesome. Even better was sitting around the big, hand-carved wooden table and meeting all the other folks who were in attendance. The Harley folks put on a great event.
If you are going between Santa Cruz and San Francisco on HWY 1 and don’t stop at the Farm Store (and at Duarte’s Tavern for ollalieberry pie) I don’t know what you are thinking.
But May is truly Dee Harley month for me. We will be together at the New Leaf Cheesemakers day (along with Garden Variety and Schoch Farm) on Sunday May 15 (New Leaf Community Market Westside 2-5, free) and then at the California Academy of Sciences NightLife event where I’ll be reading, Dee will be talking and there will be a ton of cheese to eat (Thursday May 26 in San Francisco, $12, $10 for members)