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Visiting the Farm

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RedOnionWoodworks

Leaping Lamb Farm is a special kind of place. Tucked into the green hills of the Oregon Coast Range and backed up against Honeygrove Creek (raging in the winter, lazy in the summer), the farm has idyllically green pastures, mossy split rail fences, and a menagerie of adorable as well as eccentric animals. It might be something out of a fairy tale, but for farmers Scottie and Greg Jones, maintaining the farm is a messy, imperfect, and labor-intensive process that they are able to share with folks who choose to stay on the premises for a night or a week as part of their farm stay program.

Camille Storch

At Leaping Lamb Farm, like hundreds of other farm stays across the country, guests are encouraged to participate in farm life as little or as much as they want. Honeymooners can simply cuddle in the porch swing while overlooking the goings-on of the ranch, or kids can collect farm-fresh eggs, bottle feed lambs, and weed the garden patch. While each farm stay has a different set of accommodations, most are welcoming to families with young children, and some will even lodge the family’s horse.

Camille Storch

The modern farm-stay movement originated in England in the 1980s with the formation of the Farm Holiday Bureau. Over the years, it morphed from a loose collection of twenty-three local groups into Farm Stay UK, which now has over 1200 farms listed on its website. Italy, France, and other EU countries began to promote similar ventures in agritourism during the 1990s in an effort to strengthen rural economies and preserve farm traditions and practices. Eurogites.org currently offers a directory of over 100,000 farm stay listings in twenty-eight countries across Europe.

After getting her own successful farm stay up and running, Scottie Jones launched the website Farm Stay U.S., a comprehensive directory of farm stays across the country, in 2010. Jones’s definition of a farm stay is “a working farm that also provides lodging,” but the variety of the hundreds of farm stays nationwide is amazing. There are horse-centric, goat-centric, and vegetable-centric farm stays; farms stays in arid climates, high mountains, the sultry Southeast, and even within major metropolises.

Camille Storch

At Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont, you can help out with daily Holstein milkings. Guests young and old ride the range in Colorado at Zapata Ranch. Wine enthusiasts can relax at the end of the workday with a glass of local Pinot in California’s Sonoma County at Full House Farm. Juniper Moon Farm in Virginia offers beginning spinning and knitting classes with fiber straight off an animal’s back. Or if you’re feeling rugged, you can sleep in a yurt and wake up to an organic breakfast in Maine at Pagett Farm.

Farm stays offer a small but genuine agricultural experience. For many children and adults, their brief time at a farm stay is a terrific eye opener into the world of food production and land stewardship. Guests often bring their on-farm education back with them to the city or the suburbs and use that newfound knowledge to inform their choices in their everyday lives, promoting sustainability and supporting rural economics from afar. Families who choose a farm stay over a more commercial vacation will not only have a great adventure but will also endorse the value of small farms and strong communities.

Have you helped out on a farm? Share in the comments below!

Camille Storch is an off-the-grid mom of two living in rural Oregon. She is owner and designer of the Etsy shop Red Onion Woodworks, which sells natural-edge cutting boards and serving trays. She also writes about ecology, agriculture, and the reality of her modest but joyful lifestyle on her blog,Wayward Spark.

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts says:

    Wonderful. I have heard of these programs before. I think that the more opportunities we give our children to learn about how food is grown and products are made the better off they will be. The chicken looks scared in that third photo! lol.

    3 years ago

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye says:

    I want a lamb! :)

    3 years ago

  • lauraslastditch

    lauraslastditch says:

    We are urban homesteaders. Maybe I should offer vacations at my home, where people can learn to forage fruit, and can tomatoes! Getting moral support and being paid for it would be wonderful, as I really have to arm-twist my friends to join in on the fun!

    3 years ago

  • ScienceKitty

    ScienceKitty says:

    Visiting a farm is a great vacation idea. Thank you for the inspiration.

    3 years ago

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns says:

    I had a lamb back in France at grandma's house in the country. Loved him. Great post!

    3 years ago

  • TheLittleRagamuffin

    TheLittleRagamuffin says:

    My husband and I did several farm stays through WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). It was those farm families who inspired us to start our own small organic farm and homestead once we moved back stateside.

    3 years ago

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree says:

    This farms looks amazing! The photo's are so beautiful! Every time I hear Oregon, I want to go there, one of my goals. I will have to remember to put this on the agenda! Thank you for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • heidigirlbowtique

    heidigirlbowtique says:

    I have been DYING to do a farm stay and am hoping to convince my husband it would be a good spring trip! I'm in Washington State, so I'll be keeping the Leaping Lamb in mind...it's not that far!

    3 years ago

  • warmnfuzzies

    warmnfuzzies says:

    Never heard of such a thing, Camille. Thank you for this article. I grew up on a very small farm and miss it so very much. This is a great idea and wish I had done something like this, when my boys were younger.

    3 years ago

  • FruitOfMyHands

    FruitOfMyHands says:

    Who has time to feed and lodge guests if you are running a farm? That alone would be interesting to watch. Sounds cozy and fun.

    3 years ago

  • AshevilleVintage

    AshevilleVintage says:

    Been planning on doing this once grad school is over and I can buy some land. Super excited. Thanks for this great post!

    3 years ago

  • knitsinclass

    knitsinclass says:

    I have been fortunate to visit some of the farms where my wool comes from, but I would love the chance to stay longer. And I would definitely be one of the guests helping out with the chores.

    3 years ago

  • JulieMeyer

    JulieMeyer says:

    What a fabulous idea to do with the kids. We grew up near a farm and had lots of fun playing with the farm kids and the cows. My kids have only been urban dwellers.

    3 years ago

  • PipingHotPapers

    PipingHotPapers says:

    What a wonderful write up!! Thanks for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • petekdesign

    petekdesign says:

    Such a cute post! thank you Camille

    3 years ago

  • kapelusznik

    kapelusznik says:

    nice article :D

    3 years ago

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar says:

    wonderful post

    3 years ago

  • bookity

    bookity says:

    Great article, very interesting. I'm going to look up Farm Stay UK

    3 years ago

  • cubits

    cubits says:

    What amazing photos Camille. We have friends with a farm that we visit regularly for what we call " a working vacation". We're hoping to buy a few acres from them and are just waiting for the sever to be approved.

    3 years ago

  • fieldtrip

    fieldtrip says:

    I love this as an idea for a vacay - especially with kids. We're not too far from Oregon (it's actually where I grew up) - so I'm happy to bookmark this link for the future. So glad you shared it :)

    3 years ago

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar says:

    awesome article Camille!

    3 years ago

  • Fairyfolk

    Fairyfolk says:

    Wonderful article, Camille!!!

    3 years ago

  • nomadcraftsetc

    nomadcraftsetc says:

    My children and I homeschool and love to visit our local open farm as often as possible! I wish this farm in oregon was closer to us in new mexico! What a beautiful place! And what great farm finds on etsy!

    3 years ago

  • scottiejones

    scottiejones says:

    Thanks, Camille, for a wonderful article and furthering the farm stay cause in America. Wonderful Etsy crowd that you have here - with one foot already on the farm in terms of materials and the other ready to follow for a good, fresh, farm breakfast!

    3 years ago

  • shannonpix

    shannonpix says:

    I love the idea of a farm stay, how fun!

    3 years ago

  • KisforCalligraphy

    KisforCalligraphy says:

    Great article Camille! I think I need to go stay on a farm for an undetermined amount of time.

    3 years ago

  • rebourne

    rebourne says:

    Camille, you rule! Glad to see this article here!!

    3 years ago

  • AnimalGoodness

    AnimalGoodness says:

    Nice article and photos, Camille! I love the photo of the Leaping Lamb Farm sign!

    3 years ago

  • purepixie

    purepixie says:

    What a wonderful article, Camille!

    3 years ago

  • Nachokitty

    Nachokitty says:

    Being near farms is the main reason we moved to the Sierra Foothills. We love being surrounded by organic farms and their families. What a beautiful location! Great article. I think this is one of the best things about Etsy-the way we integrate our love of nature, handmade & vintage into our offline worlds.

    3 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    This looks like so much fun! I love the pic of the lambs running! Makes me want to visit :)

    3 years ago

  • SoFino

    SoFino says:

    Great article and lovely pictures!

    3 years ago

  • Lori411

    Lori411 says:

    What an awesome article Camille!!

    3 years ago

  • HouseJewels

    HouseJewels says:

    Great article. Thank you for sharing...

    3 years ago

  • Handamade

    Handamade says:

    Looks great! Congratulation!

    3 years ago

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite says:

    I would love to visit a farm :)

    3 years ago

  • cookieletta

    cookieletta says:

    What a wonderful article, Camille!

    3 years ago

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams says:

    Great article and good to see a focus on local family farms! I was the coordinator for young farming interns on Maysie's Farm in Chester County, PA. The farm and conservation center offers a free training program and provides workshops from soil building to tractor and equipment care. A full list of host farms: http://www.maysiesfarm.org/saita.html

    3 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    Great idea, I love seeing happy animals down on farms. Love to have some fresh eggs for breakfast - yum!

    3 years ago

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery says:

    What fun and I love the lambs!

    3 years ago

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 says:

    Children, especially, need to be exposed to & deveolp a personal connection with nature, rural life early on. So many have few hands-on experiences beyond push button technology and an insulated urban environment. Such a limited, controlled life breeds fear of what was once normal and natural for most human beings. A little dirt beneath the fingernails is good for you!

    3 years ago

  • oldsnapshot

    oldsnapshot says:

    *** Farm stays offer a small but genuine agricultural experience. For many children and adults, their brief time at a farm stay is a terrific eye opener into the world of food production and land stewardship *** I agree! Our farm stay are family and friends. I have so much fun taking them on a tour our 4th generation farm and introducing them to my animals. They are usually full of questions, inspired, and enriched by the experience.

    3 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush says:

    So fun!! Love this concept!

    3 years ago

  • HouseOfMoss

    HouseOfMoss says:

    This is amazing. I've heard about long-term volunteer-vacation types of opportunities, but this scale makes it accessible to anyone! I'm so glad to learn about this.

    3 years ago

  • tropAcool

    tropAcool says:

    I sooo want to live on a farm and have a little chicken coop with a fancy rooster. "sigh"

    3 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:

    What a lovely place!

    3 years ago

  • WildWillow

    WildWillow says:

    Great piece. I wish more city kids could have opportunities like this. They are so clueless. Even in the suburbs, my kids grew up w/ their grandparents garden in the back (about 1/2 acre) and my mother raised chickens for a time.

    3 years ago

  • RossLab

    RossLab says:

    I lived in Ireland for 4 years and every spring I couldn't help adoring every single lamb I came across! Nature is just so beautiful... thanks for reminding me about those years:)

    3 years ago

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    ThePolkadotMagpie says:

    I can never get enough farm. Brings back memories of when our sheep were lambing, and I'd sleep in the barn at night awaiting their births. Beautiful!

    3 years ago

  • lapetitevie

    lapetitevie says:

    My family and I stayed at Leaping Lamb farm a few years ago and fell in love with it. I can't wait to get back there. Thanks for the beautiful post!

    3 years ago

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies says:

    Nice article and the pics are amazing!

    3 years ago

  • MorningGloryEmporium

    MorningGloryEmporium says:

    Sounds like an interesting and fun vacation to me. Great article.

    3 years ago

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC says:

    love it!

    3 years ago

  • SmallEarthVintage

    SmallEarthVintage says:

    Great article, Camille! I'd love to try a farm stay--particularly if there are goats!

    3 years ago

  • gilbug1

    gilbug1 says:

    I've never heard of Farm Stay before, but I love it! That concept is actually what our families goal is for the future! Great article!

    3 years ago

  • Vintiquesandmore

    Vintiquesandmore says:

    When my children were little, my best friend, her children and my two kids visited a friends Sheep farm. While walking around looking at all the new baby lambs, we came accros a newborn, lying there, not moving...poor thing, but before I could stop my daughter, she scooped the lifeless baby in her arms...happy with herself she was able to "catch" it...baa-baa! That newborn was so fresh into this world, that I believe we heard the first sounds the sweet baby ever made! Still all gooey with the cord still attached from the belly! Farm fresh!...who does that?!

    3 years ago

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl says:

    That's a fabulous idea! I'm lucky enough to have relatives in Oregon who do own a farm and I have wonderful childhood memories about visiting them. They happened to raise chickens and it was an amazing experience to get to follow them around and help as a kid. They also had horses, cows, sheep. One night, one of their bulls got loose. I remember my dad the "city boy turned cowboy for a week" waking up at 2am with our cousins- all clad in their PJ's- trying to round up that headstrong bull! Even farms have drama!

    3 years ago

  • PartyGirlDesigns

    PartyGirlDesigns says:

    I believe raising your children in a 4-h animal raising kinda life is a very cool way for them to grow up. It shows them how to be responsible in their caring and raising of animals.

    3 years ago

  • MVKnits

    MVKnits says:

    Oh my gosh! A friend just sent me an email letting me know that we were mentioned in this article and I have to say THANK YOU! I really appreciate the mention. I am a big etsy fan and shopper and I'm tickled to death to be included.

    3 years ago

  • BrittneyWest

    BrittneyWest says:

    I live in Oregon and did not know about this! I will definitely check into a Farm Stay! What a wonderful article and experience I am sure! Oregon is BEAUTIFUL! "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."--Rumi

    3 years ago

  • TheEverlastingPosy

    TheEverlastingPosy says:

    What fun for a family!

    3 years ago

  • MilliesGarden

    MilliesGarden says:

    Love this! This is absolutely my dream! What a great thing you are doing. I live on a farm too and really hope to create more opportunities like this for the people in my area. Best wishes!

    3 years ago

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna says:

    This makes me happy!

    3 years ago

  • EmilyCorrales

    EmilyCorrales says:

    plz submit your coupon at http://etsycouponcode.com to get max exposure and increase sale chances!

    3 years ago

  • jennyg8or

    jennyg8or says:

    I can't wait to bring my little girl to a farm. She was born in Sicily, Italy, with farms all around.

    3 years ago

  • hoffchenfarms

    Hoffchen Farms from HoffchenFarms says:

    Fantastic post! I never knew such things existed, but we get told all the time how interested people are to work on a farm.

    28 days ago