There’s something very cool about being involved with your food – farm-to-table style. The local food movement is growing strong here in North Carolina, where our long, warm growing season makes it an ideal place for locally raised veggies, herbs and animals who lead happy lives (until the end).
I’ve long been a fan of Goat Lady Dairy (@GoatLadyDairy), which is in Climax, N.C., but distributes to specialty stores, restaurants and farmers markets throughout the state. Their marinated goat cheese is to die for, and the smoked goat cheese is smooth and lovely. But it wasn’t until recently that I knew they offered tours of their farm and dairy AND a five-course dinner!
Thank you to my Twitter friend @dancindeac, who posted this about it, and got the Goat Lady Dairy Dinner on my radar. I immediately visited the website and requested a dinner spot for their next available dinner (had to book a month out!). It requires some planning and is kinda pricey ($60 each), but that’s still less than I’d spend at a nice restaurant.
Last weekend, Grant and I enjoyed what he said was one of the best dining experiences of his life. It was the most perfect Sunday – sunny, warm, not humid and everything was green and beautiful. We drank wine, relaxed in wooden rocking chairs on a big front porch, walked through the organic vegetable garden, petted the friendly goats, met new friends and learned all about sustainable agriculture.
Here’s a picture of the bee hive – local honey, yum!
Appetizers on the porch included creamy salmon spread with dill on homemade olive oil crackers. It was wonderful.
Soon, the owner rang the big dinner bell to let us know that the farm tour was about to start.
The kids were fun to watch – playful as big puppies, running up and down their little perch.
I couldn’t believe how friendly the animals were. You could tell they were hand-raised with care. Seems the goats I’ve seen at past petting zoos were skiddish and grumpy.
We also visited the chicken coop ruled by a very cocky rooster and collected the still-warm eggs, colored white, blue and brown.
When we settled inside for dinner, our first course was wine and cheese. The wine was from a local vineyard, paired perfectly with the artisan goat cheeses.
Next, soup! Ginger sweet potato with citrus and yogurt. I devoured mine.
Then, we had a mixed-greens salad with a goat-buttermilk dressing. The entree was whey-fed pork and pasture-raised beef meatloaf stuffed with smoked goat cheese and kale on a creamy thyme and turnip puree. The pork and beef were raised on a farm across the street from Goat Lady Dairy, and all the veggies were grown on the farm (or nearby). You really could taste all the love and care. I picked the chef’s brain afterward about making my own cheese-stuffed meatloaf. I’ve never had meatloaf that good!
Finally, dessert! Fresh strawberry and balsamic napoleons with shortbread and mascarpone cream. The strawberries were picked from a farm a mile away, btw. Strawberries plus shortbread plus balsamic? YES.
After dinner, they served decaf coffee and goat-cheese truffles. The dinner was very long – we left at about 9:30 p.m. for the hour-long drive home. Totally worth it, though.
Read another review of the farm/dinner from local blogger Foodie Fresh here.