What farm activities are included?
Verdant View Farm is a homestead operation with a mix of cows, goats, chickens, pigs (except winter), the farm dog, Scooby, and the resident cats. Many of the farm activities included in the overnight stay are unstructured opportunities for play, socializing, or learning, whether it’s chasing after Scooby, petting the cats, relaxing on the porch, taking a walk or swinging under the black walnut tree. You never really know when or what you’ll find. You might chat with the farmer while she’s painting the shed, introduce yourself to visitors from New Zealand and New Jersey, and then watch the skid loader deliver hay to the calves on pasture. It’s never the same, even for those of us that work here.
What happens during morning chores?
B&B guests can join the farm crew at 7:30am to bottle feed a baby calf, milk a cow, collect eggs & feed the chickens, and to visit the goats. Most of the baby calves drink from their mothers, but we still need to bottle feed a few of the babies that are purchased from a neighboring farm. From December-March, chores are limited to seasonal shifts and it’s possible that we wouldn’t have calves to bottle feed or cows to milk in these winter months….instead we might feed hay to cows, thaw frozen water buckets, and throw snowballs to Scooby while shoveling a path to the chicken coop.
What other farm activities are available?
B&B guests can join our Farmer’s Apprentice tour for an opportunity to learn more about the animals, the farm operation and its history. Tours are offered seasonally, April-November. Members of the farm crew give background information and answer questions throughout the tours. Visitors milk a cow, interact with the animals, tour the barns, and join a tractor and wagon ride (weather-permitting, for tour groups of 10+).
B&B guests can also join a Farm Skills Workshop, scheduled throughout the summer, to join an introductory cheesemaking class, learn how to make homemade ice cream, or see a demo of how to make a batch of goat’s milk soap.
How often do you go cow-tipping?
We don’t, but we’d love to meet the person that can tip a cow weighing 1400 lbs.
I have a teen, a tween, and a toddler – is this experience age-appropriate for each of them?
Yes, this is a place for everyone. The teen might like the animals and informality; the tween might love meeting other kids their age and feeding the calves; and the toddler will enjoy seeing the animals for the first time. Adults also find different aspects of the farm appealing.
My young kids just spent 5 hours in a car. Can I let them be “free-range” kids while I stay in my room and read?
We’re so glad your children are out of the car! Because Verdant View is an operating farm, it’s very important that adults accompany young children at all times. The feed truck, tractors, cars, and skid loaders are regularly on the farm. It also takes time for little ones to learn how to pet and interact with the different animals, and we appreciate when parents are nearby to guide little ones. And while that vast, green pasture looks like a great place to run, it’s separated by electric wires, which no one really wants to touch!
Are you an Amish farm?
We have several Amish neighbors, but our family is not Amish. We do have electricity, we drive cars, we use tractors, we offer free WIFI, there are several Amish that work on the farm, and our family is a mix of Mennonites and Catholics. We encourage you to explore what Amish, Mennonites, and Catholics have in common before your arrival.
The cows just walked from the pasture to go inside the barn – is it going to rain?
Our bovines aren’t skilled meteorologists. You’ll probably want to check the weather report.
What smells better – a farm or a zoo?
It depends on the wind! Our barn is open and is well-ventilated. That said, we still haven’t figured out how to potty-train the cows, and there is a slight odor at certain times of the year – in the winter, when we occasionally haul manure, and on the chance occasion that you’re standing 2 feet from a fresh patty. Our visitors notice the smell when the walk into the barn, but quickly adapt to it, just like you do when you visit the zoo.
Do you have a handicap-accessible guest room?
We currently do not, but we’re hoping to make some renovations in the coming years that will provide this option.
A cow is walking on a concrete pad in front of the farmhouse. What should I do?!?
Take a photograph, or admire how she chews her cud. She’s permitted to walk from the barn, across the driveway, and into the pasture. Please admire her from a distance and don’t be tempted to follow her into the pasture – the electric fence and fresh cow patties will get you every time (plus, cows do kick!).
I see a cow prancing through the garden. Do they always get that excited while eating kale and knocking over tomato plants?
Yikes! The cows got out! Our cows should not be frolicking in the yard, garden, or corn fields. Find a member of the farm crew and inform them of the escape artist….if you’re able and qualified, you might get recruited to help guide the cow(s) back into the pasture or barn. And that’s a good story for Facebook.
My husband is a vegan, I’m a vegetarian, my 3-year-old is gluten free, and my baby is lactose intolerant. How does that work at breakfast?
We try our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. We plan fixed menus about 1-2 weeks in advance based on the details found in our bookings. And since our kitchen is small and so much of the food is made from scratch, we try to accommodate dietary restrictions through even the simplest of details – like informing a mother of ingredients in the dessert, serving meat separate from the eggs to respect a vegetarian, or removing nuts from the coffeecake, just because we can. We intentionally serve a wide array of options so that everyone can find something nutritious and appealing to eat.
We only eat bumbleberry, toasted whole wheat pancakes. Where do I place my order?
That sounds delicious, but we are not setup as a restaurant to make separate orders. We can, however, provide an opportunity for adults and children to try new foods.
Do you serve raw milk?
We stopped serving raw milk when regulations for maintaining a raw milk license in PA became burdensome. Building a laboratory on our small family farm didn’t make financial sense, and it was one factor that led us away from dairy farming. We serve pasteurized milk at the breakfast table.