Washington County Fiber Tour 2015 - Part I

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring.....a time for renewal, growth, and new life and where to better witness that but on a farm.  Today we had so much fun taking part in the 23rd Annual Washington County Fiber Tour.  This was our second year taking part.  Last year we visited 6 of the 16 venues, so this year we decided to visit some of the ones we missed last year.  There's a reason this is a two-day event - there's no way you can possible enjoy all 16 locations in one day!  That is partly because they are spread out all over the county and also because each farm has so much to offer.  If you weren't able to get there today, I just happened to take a few photos.....
We began our day at one of the furthest farms on the list - Dancing Ewe Farm in Granville, NY.

I'm sure when you think 'farm' you can't begin to imagine the extent of what this magical farm has to offer.  In fact....even after our visit, I wasn't aware of all it had to offer.  That's why I always research websites.  I strongly urge you to check this one out too because this is a farm like no other I've ever visited.  Dancing Ewe Farm specializes in the production of Tuscan style Pecorino, which is a raw sheep's milk cheese.  After sampling some, I can tell you, it is delicious!!  Their flock of 120 Fresian-cross ewes also produces fleece for outer garments.  Jody Somers, the man whose vision it was to make sheep's milk cheese, restored what was once a dairy farm from it's run down state to the beautiful farm it is today.  His wife Luisa, who Jody met while studying the making of sheep's milk cheese in Tuscany, came to the US to be an au pair.  Fate and a sheepdog brought them together (you really need to read their story) and together they have created not just a sheep farm, but a culinary wonderland where they produce olive oil, cured meats and cheese.  They also serve Saturday dinners, Sunday lunches and even a special dinner under the stars once each summer - with all meals prepared by Luisa and consisting of authentic Italian dishes.   Luisa is also beginning  hands-on cooking classes in May-October. 
Of course it takes more than two people to run an operation like this, and indeed there are some other special folk who have an important hand in keeping things running smoothly.
Spring means babies on a farm and there were definitely babies at Dancing Ewe Farm today.  Jody says they'll have around 100 babies but will only keep about 25.  If you think your little ones are noisy, you should have been in the barn with these cuties....
"M'aaaaaaaaa"

Jody, with little son Matteo's help, demonstrated a sheep shearing.  As soon as mama sheep was tipped onto her bottom, feet up, she calmly relaxed into the process, and just rolled with the shears!  When the job was done, a large blanket sized piece of fleece was handed off to the next guy in the process to be cleaned of unwanted material and then went on to be washed.  It was fascinating. 

Daddy's best helper - Matteo
Manicures are complimentary at this Beauty Salon!
And....this was a "fiber" tour ..... so appropriately there was some spinning going on in the big barn.
This was a wonderful stop on the tour.  I wish we could have hung around a little longer, but the list was long and the time was ticking by, so one last glance at these beauties and we were on our way.


William

At Dancing Ewe Farm, all your senses will be engaged.  From the wonderful hospitality, to the culinary delights to the m'aaaaaa of baby lambs, you'll be glad you visited.  Thank you Jody, Luisa and team for creating such a special setting, and for inviting us all to enjoy it.  I can't wait to come back.   If you're as intrigued as me, check it out using the link provided.  Stay tuned for the next post featuring some other great farms on the tour.

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