An amazing birthday tour & dinner

June 4, 2011

For a week or so, I had been told that my sister, Sara, had a surprise for me for my birthday.  No one would provide any information (in spite of my best efforts).  I was told simply to show up at my parent’s house on Friday by 3:30pm and we would leave.  It was only after arriving at Mom’s that Sara told me we were going to a on farm dinner that included a tour of of a farm in the Greensboro area.  It was the Goat Lady Dairy! Such an amazing choice…I was terribly excited.

We found the farm with little problem as it was located just a short distance from where Wayne grew up.  We arrived in time for hors d’oeuvres on the porch – radish, boursin, and chive tartines.  Yum.  I wandered around a bit and took a few pictures before we started the tour.  Here’s a shot of the garden.

Garden

The whole place has such a lovely, idyllic feeling.  It’s relaxing just being there.

To one side of the garden there is a small island of flowers meant to attract predatory insects.  Tucked in the flowers was a top bar hive!  It was the same hive that we have in our yard, but this one wasn’t painted.  I talked to Steve, one of the famers, for a short time asking him about the hives.  It turns out they have a beekeeper come in.  The bees in that hive are from a swarm that was found in Greensboro.  He said they’ve have no problems with the hive or bees at all except that a high wind did blow the hive down once and did a bit of damage, but he was able to piece everything back together.

Top Bar Hive

After a few minutes, the tour began.  We started with the older does.  While Steve was talking and telling the story of the farm, the goats kept nudging his hand looking for attention.

Steve with the Goat

Wayne made friends with one goat through the gate.

Wayne and the Goat

After finishing with the older goats, we headed down the hill to see some of the babies.  Steve talked a bit about how goats like to be at the highest place.  They (mostly) cooperated and climbed up to show off a bit.

Goat on High

He then lifted a few of the babies over the gate and we got to chase them around:

Chasing Kids

And then we got to hold a few:

Sara, Nate, and a Baby Goat

Wayne made another friend.

Wayne holding a Goat

A few people even got to bottle feed.

Bottle Feeding a Goat

After visiting with the goats, we headed to the garden and the chicken coop.

Coop

I was fascinated by these chickens.  I hope someone can tell me the breed.  Bantams maybe?

Chicken

Here’s a shot looking from the coop back toward the house.  Beautiful.  Facing back toward the house

After the tour we wandered back inside the main building for dinner.  The table settings were lovely with flower arrangements in the center of each.

Table Setting

We started with a cheese plate.  Wow.  There were four different cheeses and a pistachio relish in the middle.  The first cheese (at the top) is a chevre with garlic and basil.  Moving clockwise there was a Cr0ttin – a blooming rind cheese that tasted like a mild brie.  Next up was Sandy Creek, another blooming rind cheese marbled with grape vine ash.  Finally there was a Smokey Mountain Round – a soft cheese that was smoked over apple wood.

My favorite was the Crottin, but I’m a big brie fan.  Wayne adored the Smokey Mountain Round.  It was intensely smoked.  Steve shared that Emeril had used it on one of his shows to make scalloped potatoes.

With the cheese course we had a Haw River Valley Chardonnay from Grove Vineyard in NC.   I’m not usually a big wine fan, but I found it rather tasty.

Cheese Course

Next up was an North African Kale and Chickpea soup.  So yummy…with some spice and cinammon.

Kale Soup

And then a salad.  It had a fresh vinaigrette and was topped with farmers cheese.

salad

The entree was a pot pie.  Everyone else had free range chicken and shiitake.  Wayne and I had veggie versions of the same thing.  The shiitake were from a partner farm – Rotting Log Farm.  The pie was topped with a southern style biscuit topping.  Such fantastic comfort food.

Entree - Pot Pie

The meal ended with chocolate cupcakes that were topped with pink peppercorn frosting and candied rose petals.  Not only was it quite pretty, it was such an interesting experience to taste the delicate, sweet rose petals juxtaposed with the burst of the peppercorns.

Cupcake

After dinner everyone was given a goat cheese truffle (I still haven’t tried mine…saving it for a special moment) and coffee and tea was served on the porch.

I must say, it was one of the best birthday celebrations I can remember.  Although we were exchausted, I was sad to leave.  Here’s a shot looking back at the building from the car.  Doesn’t it look inviting?

Goodnight Goat Lady

I am (of course) jealous of what the Goat Lady Dairy has been able to achieve.  I also do find it quite inspiring and I’m so glad we’re on the path toward this kind of life.

Many, many thanks to Sara for such an amazing evening.

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7 Responses to “An amazing birthday tour & dinner”


  1. […] NC. Pictures and details of the experience have been posted on one of other other blogs, JW Travels. […]

  2. sabre Says:

    two questions Julia, what flowers were they growing as pest detractors and were you able to get the recipe for that icing? Looks and sounds like a wonderful time.

    • belleterre Says:

      The flowers aren’t pest detractors per se, but pest attractors. They just attract the right kinds of pests – ones that eat nectar when young, then become carnivorous and eat other bugs (beneficial insects). As he put it, bugs to eat the bugs that would eat your plants. We noted russian sage and salvia. Here’s a great list of recommended plants from Mother Earth News.

      No icing recipe, sorry. The chef came out at the end to answer questions and shared generally about what she did for the meal, but didn’t share any details.

  3. belleterre Says:

    Update: the white chicken that I loved so much is a Polish Chicken. 🙂


  4. […] NC. Pictures and details of the experience have been posted on one of other other blogs, JW Travels. […]


  5. […] the open farm day for The Goat Lady Dairy.  You can read about our Goat Lady Dairy experience here.   Both farms are high recommended and are a great family-friendly […]


  6. […] the open farm day for The Goat Lady Dairy.  You can read about our Goat Lady Dairy experience here.   Both farms are high recommended and are a great family-friendly […]


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