Thursday 11 August 2011

Down on the Farm

It may not be clover, but they seem content enough.
The French tourist office encourages farms to register with the Bienvenue à la ferme scheme. This means a farm gets a listing on the website and visitors to the region can contact them and make an appointment to come to the farm. Generally you get to see the animals and an opportunity to buy direct from the producer whatever product the farm specialises in. Many of the farms also offer accommodation.

Dairy goats give about 3l a day.
On Monday we visited la ferme de la Cabinette, which has obviously embraced the idea wholeheartedly. All the animals were freely accessible and most of them were very happy to be petted. While we were there a charabanc (well, actually, a tractor towing a gaily painted wagon) full of tourists pulled in to the farmyard. I never got to the bottom of where they had come from and they disappeared into the barn to look at the goats.

Donkeys come in a remarkable range of sizes,
colours and hairstyles in France.
The 190 dairy goats are the real revenue producers on the farm, as it specialises in cheese. They live in a series of big open barns, with the billy goats relegated to the outside in a pen between two of the barns. Every Friday in July and August, according to the website, you can come and watch the milking. I was interested to see that the farm had two big white chien des Pyrénées livestock guardian dogs, which live in the barns with the goats.

Goats are friendly and inquisitive creatures.
Once we'd done the rounds of goats, pigs, donkeys, ponies, poultry and rabbits we checked out the extensive range of goats cheese in the shop and bought two feuilletées (cheese in puff pastry) for dinner and a square Onzainois cheese.


1 comment:

Sheila said...

Pigs always look so cute when
they're small and lolling
around in nice clean litter.

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