Sample chevre (goat cheese) and pet a goat at one of these friendly farms in the West.
Chevre is French for goat but also for all manner of delicious cheeses coaxed from the animal’s milk. And there’s no better time to visit goat dairies than now, when young grasses bestow extra sweetness. Some let you help milk, feed, or pet the herd (including the kids). Best, they offer samples of fresh cheese. Call ahead before visiting.
Amaltheia Organic Dairy, Belgrade, Montana
With a herd of 400, this certified organic dairy at the foot of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman encourages volunteers to help bottle-feed newborns. Seven cheeses to taste include a fragrant Perigord black truffle chevre.
Fraga Farm Goat Cheese, Sweet Home, Oregon
Watch the only certified organic goat dairy in Oregon produce small batches of raw-milk cheddar, feta, chevre, and "goatzarella" through a six-foot viewing window.
Harley Farms Goat Dairy, Pescadero, California
Cheeses from milk produced on-site are shaped here in an antique barn. Varieties include fresh Chevre topped with edible flowers (Monet) and layered with sunflower seeds (Van Goat). The key ingredient? Salty air from the sea three miles away.
Pholia Farm, Rogue River, Oregon
This solar-powered dairy raises Nigerian dwarf goats, whose extrarich milk bolsters aged cheeses such as Hillis Peak, rubbed with olive oil and paprika.
Redwood Hill Farm, Sebastopol, California
The nation’s first humane-certified dairy goats await a pat on the head. On Farm Days, taste fresh yogurt and Gravenstein Gold, an aged, raw-milk cheese washed in cider.
Surfing Goat Dairy, Kula, Maui
The goats really do ride surfboards outside their stalls on the slopes of Haleakala. Choose from a variety of tours, and taste and see why the dairy’s motto is Da Feta Mo’ Betta.
This article was first published in May 2008 and updated in February 2019. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.