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2 Day Exciting Farm Vacation in The Hudson Valley, New York

Lime Kiln Farm, 1512, 523 Lime Kiln Road, Coxsackie, Greene County, New York, USA

Delightful Farm Vacation in the USA

Join Lime Kiln Farm on their farm vacation to experience an amazing farm life of Greene County! On this vacation, you will have the chance to herd sheep, with the support of the shepherd dogs, and milk goats. The dogs that will support you are the Maremma dogs, which have been imported from Tuscany, Italy!

Highlights

  • Sheepherding
  • Milking the goats
  • Thick vegetation and open fields
  • Cheese tasting with an explanation of different cheeses
  • Maremma Sheepdogs assistance
  • Overrun pastures for goats
  • 1 night's accommodation
  • Coffee

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


1 day with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
15:00
Check-out Time:
10:00

Facilities

  • Shopping
  • Dining area
  • Fireplace
  • Parking lot

During this vacation, you will be accommodated at Lime Kiln Farm in a double-occupancy room with shared bathroom.

Program

Goat

At Lime Kiln Farm, Alessandro and Brent currently have approximately 60 goats and 14 cows on the milk line. The goats are Oberhasli and Toggenburgs.

Milk

Alessandro and Brent start milking the day the goat gives birth and continue on until the start of November. This usually results in an 8.5-month lactation. The farm (more than 400-acre) is truly a goat paradise with thick vegetation, open fields, and overrun pastures. The goats are free to roam at will, deciding for themselves what they will eat. Although much healthier for the goat, it does add an extra challenge for the cheesemaker. Milk from free-roaming goats is always a bit unpredictable, even more so when the animals are out roaming 100's of acres of woods every day. What they eat affects the milk and the cheese.

Cheesemaking would be easier if the animals were kept in the barn eating hay every day. On the other hand, goat-keeping would be easier if the animals would roam every day. Goats in a commercial herd live an average of four years, going through three lactations. Lime Kiln Farm's oldest goat in Tuscany was 10 and she was still the highest producer in the barn. It is clear that the goats will continue to roam freely!

Milk naturally goes through cycles. As soon as the babies are born, the milk, although not overly abundant in quantity, is very high-quality, and very high-fat and protein contents for the growing kids. This to a cheesemaker is the cash crop. The milk is almost no-fail. Every cheese is rich and smooth, you wish the milk keeps this level of quality all through the year. But, as the goats move onto pasture and sweet fast-growing grass and leaves, the milk swells to higher quantity but the fat and protein ratios dip. Cheese yield is actually higher, but it is not so easy to make Lime Kiln Farm's springtime favorites like spreadable chèvre or really gooey brie.

There is a proverb in Italian that says the month of May is the time for stacking up on cheese and firewood and that's what is done at Lime Kiln Farm. The milk, although not as fat, is abundant and healthy as the goats are on pasture, and that happiness / healthiness is transferred to the cheese.

With the heat of summer, milk production falls a bit as the goats are hot and eating less. September and mating season see a small rise in fat percentage and milk quantity which quickly falls off in both accounts by mid-October.

Dogs

At Lime Kiln Farm, they protect their livestock and farm with Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, also called Maremma Sheepdog in the United States. They have always had Maremma dogs in Italy while they were farming over there for over 25 years.

Maremma dogs have unique features. To summarize them in a few words (having owned some for 25 years), Lime Kiln Farm would say: they are dogs that use their head. This means they decide what's best for them in a specific situation and mostly what's best for the animals (or humans) they are protecting.

So, the wisdom about Maremma dogs is that they don't take a command well is actually true. A command is just another input for them; if it makes sense to them, they will follow it, but if not, they will ignore it. Don't try to change that, you will be disappointed. If you want a dog that obeys blindly get a German Shepherd, not a Maremma dog. Nevertheless, they are very affectionate dogs, don't get them wrong, they tend to get attached to one person (like most dogs), but they are also very sweet and affectionate to multiple people.

They are always compatible with their job of protector. If somebody challenges that, it becomes somebody to watch carefully forever! This feature is absolutely the key against predators. Wolves and coyotes have sophisticated hunting techniques (normally they tend to spread out the herd, distract the protector and separate weaker animals in order to attack easier), so having a decision maker in the barn or on the field is the only way to save your animals.

A Maremma dog will act in teams, they interpret predator's behavior and adapt its protecting strategy against them. Normally, females are the most effective protectors. If you have a working farm and you need to protect your animals (sheep, goats, cows, llamas, etc.) from predators (wolves, coyotes, etc.), this is your dog. He / she takes his / her job seriously, unknown animals or humans will have a hard time approaching your herd or flock.

This dog breed doesn't group animals, they stay with the animals and never leave them. In the mountains of central Italy, that is what the shepherds needed the dogs to do for centuries! This breed needs space and independence. If you have an apartment, don't get one! He or she will adapt (they are very good at that), but it will suffer! Unless you plan to go outside with him / her many times a day for a long time (which is pretty unrealistic).

The Maremma dogs at Lime Kiln Farm have been imported from Tuscany, Italy in 2013 and 2015. The farm currently has one lovely young female, Pippa, and a great young male, Teo. The dogs socialize naturally with their parents and, mostly, with other farm animals: sheep, goats, and cows. A dog of this breed is a protector (Lime Kiln Farm never gets tired of repeating this), it's in their DNA. They have been doing that for thousands of years (a description of this dog can be found in ancient Roman books from the first century) and they need that. This is why Lime Kiln Farm does not separate them from their mothers and farm animals before four months. If you do that, they will be imprinted as protectors forever. And if you don't (most breeders don't), you will have an unhappy, huge lapdog!

Location

This vacation will take place at Lime Kiln Farm, USA. The farm is located in the Hudson Valley.

The Hudson Valley, in particular, was identified as the ideal location for farming and cheesemaking, not only because of its climate and topography but also because of its proximity to large cities (Albany, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia) where the farm to table movement is now well established.

Distances

  • Exit 21B (Coxsackie), 2 miles

Food

Meals are not provided but guests have access to their kitchen to prepare your own meals. During the season, Lime Kiln Farm provides eggs and vegetables from their garden. Fresh coffee is provided during all morning. Guests and students can have access to the kitchen to prepare their own meals.

The following meals are included:

  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee

Things to do (optional)

  • Cheesemaking
  • Shopping

What's included

  • Sheepherding
  • Milking goats
  • Cheese tasting with an explanation of different cheeses
  • 1 night's accommodation
  • Coffee

What's not included

  • Meals

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by taxi

You can book a taxi / Uber from Hudson train station.

GPS

  • 42.390254,-73.8539957

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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