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Cambria Farm Tours

Farm Tours

Cambria Farm Tours:

You might not think of farm life when you think of Cambria, but Cambria has a rich history of farming and agriculture and some working farms still exist.  The Covell Clydesdale Ranch raises the majestic horses that you might know from Budweiser commercials!  The ranch is located just behind the town at the end of Bridge Street with acreage that boasts one of the last remaining stands of the Monterey Pine, which Cambria is known for.  The other ranch just outside of town is Stepladder Creamery.  This originally was a dairy farm and is now converted for goats.  The farm is in the country just outside of town but it feels like you are in a completely different world.  They also sell their fantastic cheeses at our Farmer’s Market!  Both offer private tours and are a fabulous way to explore a working farm and ranch.  Jack Creek Farms has a country store and offers “U-pick” for most of their crops.

 

Stepladder Creamery:

Stepladder Creamery

Stepladder Creamery was founded in 1871 and has been family-owned and operated for 3 generations.  Originally part of the Harmony Valley Creamery Association which was born due to drought that forced ranchers to rethink how to make a living off of their land.  The conditions then were similar to now, and farmers always find a way to make it work.

Tours must be prearranged as the farm is remote and there is a private gate.  They meet you at the gate and escort you to the main barn area where the goats live.  You will first be greeted by the farm dogs, Anatolian Shepherds, Lily and Del, who are there to keep the goats safe from any predators.  They do their job very well and they do not like new animals so do NOT bring your family pets on this tour.  You will walk around and see the avocado trees (they sell an awesome Avocado Honey!) and the beehives further up the property.  You then go into the pens with the bottle babies who still young enough that they are being hand-fed.  They are extremely friendly and will nibble on anything they can, so be sure to dress appropriately.  Wear closed shoes as you are walking in their pens and around the farm…good idea to wear long pants also…a flowing skirt is too tempting for the little goats to resist!   The playful nature of a goat is fully obvious when you join the herd inside their pen.  They love being petted and aren’t shy about coming up for a good head rub!  These goats are a special breed called Lamancha, most noted for their tiny ears.

Breeding happens in the fall, and the kids (baby goats) arrive from mid-February to April.  During the rainy season, the farm access can be limited but tours can be arranged all year weather permitting.  Tour groups start at 4-20 people at $25 each or $100 minimum for 1-4 people.  Tours are about an hour and you will visit the animals, see the milking pens, and taste the cheeses.  Be sure to try the honey!  For more information visit their website.

Covell Clydesdales Ranch:

Covell Clydesdales

 

The Clydesdale horses are both rare and magnificent.  They are significantly bigger than the horses most of us are familiar with, and they have a unique home that allows them to live like wild horses on the thousands of acres of open lands on the ranch.  As you approach the main gate, you will be greeted by Ralph or Tara Covell who will take you on the ranch tour.  The horses can be spotted grazing in the fields or gathering beneath the pines for some shade.  Thousands of years ago, these trees could be found along the California coast all the way from San Diego to well north of San Francisco.  Monterey pines are native, have been around for millennia but have decreased to only 15,000 acres left with just 2,500 acres remaining in Cambria. Though it is in retreat and possibly facing extinction, the forest provides habitat for countless species which eat pine seeds and acorns as well as berries, fungi, and insects.

Tours can be arranged for individuals or groups up to 40.  The tour takes you deep into the ranch and as you explore, you will spot the horses running free in the wild. Of course, when they see the vehicle, they come by to see if someone brought them hay so you get to get pretty close to them in their own habitat.  The tour includes the barns and visits to the other farm critters and occasionally a colt.  For those equestrians who want to take a ride, you can arrange a guided ride for the full experience or take a lesson!  This rare opportunity is something you will never forget.   Visit their website to book your tours.

Jack Creek Farms:

Jack Creek Farms

 

Jack Creek Farms is a small family farm. Located just outside of Cambria on Highway 46, this is a great stop to pick up some local fruits and vegetables and browse the country store or visit with their resident farm animals.  Stroll through the gardens and check out the antique farm equipment display.  Seasonally, you might find sunflowers, olallieberries or sun-kissed vine-ripened tomatoes and heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Be sure to sample apple cider slushees or pomegranate juice granitas as you sit in the shade and watch the native birds that live on the farm.  On weekends you can enjoy   freshly baked treats using their own free-range ranch eggs, honey, freshly ground whole wheat flour, apples, peaches, olallieberries, walnuts, pumpkins, and whatever is grown on the farm.  The selection of baked goods changes with the seasons.  They also offer a “You Pick” option for many of the seasonal crops on the farm.
Try your hand at throwing a lasso and rope  “Bailey”, the mascot roping steer.  Kids will enjoy the fort maze, wooden train and tractor tire garden and the pumpkin patch in the fall where you can pick your own pumpkin. You have a wide variety of local varieties of raw, natural unfiltered honey (depending upon the harvest and season) The possibilities include: toyon, yellow star thistle, wildflower, wild buckwheat, apple blossom, pomegranate, orange blossom, coastal sage, black button sage, safflower, raspberry, cotton, avocado, comb honey and more!  There is no fee to visit Jack Creek Farms, see their website for details.

1 Comment

  1. Ttish says:

    This was all new to me. I worked and lived in Cambria 20 years ago. We were marred in Harmony 19 years ago. I am so happy to learn of these two farms. I know of Jack Creek, as we live in Paso and go there for seasonal produce. Thanks for posting

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