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 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:
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: