The weather is gorgeous, the kids are frolicking and all the clover fields are in bloom. Perfect for another Open Farm! Our farm is about 30min west of Portland. At this time of year it is a gorgeous drive, check out the clover fields and the Killin Wetlands along highway 6 on your way! There are also five wineries within 5 miles of our farm, visit Appoloni vineyards along highway 6 or David Hill and Schaefer vineyards along highway 8. Our Open Farm events are an opportunity for customers and chefs alike to see where the cheese comes from. You get to visit with the goats in our old red barn and check out our Rio Santiam aging away in its cave. We prepare cheesy refreshments for you and of course a cheese plate. The baby goats are always popular and there is a lovely walk down to our beaver pond through our pastures so bring your walking shoes!
On Sunday, we celebrated autumn with an Open Farm at the farmstead. Guests were taken on a walking tour of the property, checked out the cheese-making room, the milking parlor, and were accompanied by the goat herd on a walk to the pond. The WWOOFers (volunteer workers living on the farm) made tasty treats for our guests, including our famous POPOVERS served with chevre.
This was a first time visit for many of our guests, and most were amazed to find out the farm is located on an old Christmas tree farm. It's true! The goats roam pastures filled with overgrown Douglas Firs, climbing into the branches to eat tasty pine needles & strip bark from the bottom of the tree. This technique is called "girdling," and yes, it does eventually kill the tree. However, since Christamas trees are planted extremely close to each other with the intent of harvesting before they are too large, our forest of Douglas Firs is too dense to be healthy and we need the goats to do some thinning. Did you know that goats are often used for noxious weed control? In fact, they LOVE blackberries (despite the thorns) and will also keep poison oak at bay! We noticed lots of our guests were interested in the diet of our goats so we thought it would be interesting to look at how similar & different they are to their hoofed relatives. Unlike cows and sheep, goats are capricious eaters (they are Capricorns after all) and will sample most things, realize they don’t like it, and move on. They do not graze, like cows, sheep, & horses-- they are browsers and prefer eating woody shrubs, vines, and even plants that are toxic to others. During milking, we feed our milking ladies grain while they are in the stanchions, all organic of course. They also get an alfalfa hay mix to supplement their foraging. In the near future, we will be installing more fencing to start high-intensity rotational grazing to better mimic natural occurring processes found in the wild.
We have these open farm events every few months and plan on having another soon! Please come by and meet the goats that help create our beautiful cheese! Until then, enjoy some photos from the event!
With the leaves changing color and the joyous need for a sweater & scarf, we could not think of a better way to spend the afternoon on the farm than by making our favorite treat- crisp, cloud-like popovers. Crowded around the oven, we wait for the golden puffs to emerge so we can devour them before they have had any time to cool. This is problematic since we are trying to bake enough for our OPEN FARM this Sunday, October 4th- we seem to eat as many as we make!
Here on the farmstead we are huge fans of the buttery treat, but how about you? Lis, our Farmstead Owner & Herd Manager, has found a beautiful, well-seasoned popover pan and is offering this prized possession to the winner of a recipe contest. What recipe contest, you might ask? Send us your favorite rendition of our classic CHEVRE POPOVER RECIPE and we will give the winner a popover pan! Make them sweet with our plain Chèvre & honey, or make them savory with our herbed Chef’s Blend Chèvre, shreaded Rio Santiam & mushrooms! They will taste better if you use Fraga Chèvre, of course! If you are interested in submitting recipes but do not own a popover pan just yet, use a muffin tin!
Send recipes & pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try the recipes for ourselves & decide upon a winner!
Calling all Cheese Enthusiasts!
Join us at the Fraga Farmstead Creamery in Gales Creek for an afternoon of cheese! The day will include a walking tour of the property, cheese-making demonstrations by our cheese-master, Steve, and a sampling of our many cheese varieties. Light food and drinks will be provided. Because there will be a walking tour of the property, please wear adequate shoes that won't mind a little mud. Keep in mind that this event will be rain or shine!
Hope to see you at our beautiful farm!
3-6 PM Sunday Oct.4.2015
For more information & to reserve your spot, please call:
503 367 7100
We are located at:
54655 NW Old Wilson River Rd
Gales Creek, Oregon
This morning when I came into the barn the latest batch of swallow fledglings had found their wings. The first flight brought them all the way to the stall divider a few feet below their nest. Here they perched and waited to have flies and such delivered. It is truly fly-through-delivery. The birds sit quietly until their parents call as they dive into the barn. The little birds explode into whirring wings and wide open beaks and a second later they sit quietly again. Until it all happens again two to three minutes later. When I went back into the barn there was no sign of the little birds. They learn fast and within a day the young ones and the adults are indistinguishable as they flit across the sky around the barn.
This is getting to be a rough winter- in early December we had the arctic blast that burst pipes left and right. Now we are experiencing more snow than we have had in years. So far the goats are just a bit annoyed. We did go out and got some snow play in. Julie our WWOOFer is taking lots of lovely pictures and is helping me out with all sorts of computer issues. The goats like her too!
Our kidding season has begun. So far there are nine little ones. By the time the last doe has kidded in May we will have fifty or so little kids. If you have never seen goat kids at play you should absolutely come and visit this spring. Watching kids climb, jump, scamper, mock fight or nap in a pile (we call them kid puddles) lifts winter blues instantly.
Does anybody know if the word kid was used first for a young human or a young goat? I don't know, but I can see why they are called the same thing! They are absolutely joyful, playful little things. The mothers remind me of human mothers too- attentive, at times hovering, occasionally harried, but infinitely patient. Already the first two sets of twins are using their mother as a play structure--jumping, sliding and climbing all over her and trying to stay on top when mom gets up. Each year a few kids master that skill and can be seen riding high around the barnyard.
Are you looking to add goats to your life? As things go we end up with half girls who can become part of the milking herd and half boys. As a dairy we don't really need all those little boys and are looking to find homes for them.
While goat bucks are rather odiferous, wethers (castrated males) are not. They don't stink, don't fight and retain their friendly playful nature into adulthood. Many people agree that wethers make wonderful pets.
We are placing little wether bottle babies as pet, pack, or brush goat. When raised as bottle babies, they imprint on you and will follow you anywhere. We charge a $25 fee for each baby and supply you with a bucket of milk to transition them to formula. Today the first two little guys left for their new home where they will join a small group of wethers as pack goats in training.
My grandmother told me that barn swallows are a sign of good fortune for a farm. It is not hard to understand the origins of that "farmer wisdom". After all, lots of barn yard animal creates lots of manure, which in turn attracts flies, which makes good hunting grounds for swallows. We have 17 swallows nests in the barn and under the eaves of the house. Come spring the barn will be afluttering and atwittering. We are quite grateful to them. They eat their own weight in insects each day. At about 10 grams each that makes hundreds of insect a day. They are big eaters to sustain their energy expenditures. While flittering about they can fly hundreds of miles a day dashing back and forth in and out of the barn. I love listening to their "zwitschern" - a german, very onomatopoeic term for their song.
While they seem mostly very, very busy they do take time out to perch on the telephone wires. In May and June there might be one or two sitting on the wire with wide gaps between. I like to think of it as the story of summer- by the time all the gaps between them are filled in and they sit in solid lines of hundreds, summer is ending and overnight they are gone. We took this picture of the last two little ones late in the summer - by the next morning they had flown away. I hope they made it to Baja or such. We will welcome them back in March!
Over the last few months our learning curve has been very steep. Looking down makes me almost dizzy. It's good to know that we have had good guides along on this climb. Jan and Larry have been there every step of the way, helping us in many, many ways. With everything going on, we somehow managed to update the Fraga Web presence. We owe this particular bit of progress to two people:
Kelly Pennington is the photographer that can make a field of clover look like Eden. There are many more gorgeous cheese shots that we are adding later. We're checking with the legal department as there may have to be a disclaimer "Viewing of these images in a hungry state may cause uncontrollable cravings for cheese". Thank you Kelly! http://www.kellipennington.com
Andy Lunday has been a tireless and cheerful adviser to the Squarespace process. He makes it look so easy and keeps on it even when all I can hear around me is the sound of balls dropping. Thank you Andy! http://www.andylunday.com/index.html