In honor of Escapes Month, I made a quick — or so I thought — escape Wednesday afternoon to a goat farm on the North Fork of Long Island, which led to an all-day meander to farm stands, a winery and a picnic in a lavender field. I know: how lucky am I?
My mother-in-law wanted to see some goats, so we took a little drive to Catapano Dairy, a small — if you think having 86 goats in your backyard is small — dairy farm in Peconic, New York.
These cuties are milked twice a day (doesn't our friend above look like she needs some relief?) by Karen and Michael Catapano, who is also a physician in town. From the milk they make cheese, yogurt, and a line of goat-milk-based skincare products. Karen sold us a hunk of Farm Fresh Chevre, Lavender Honey goat cheese and a pot of plain goat milk yogurt and told us the story of how the farm came to be.
"We didn't think it'd be this hard!" Karen said, describing taking on another family's fifteen goats six years ago, "It just kind of exploded."
I've never heard a farmer of any variety say that farming is easier than they thought it'd be. This is a lot like parenthood, I thought, as my almost-three-year-old ran around the cute little shop with an open ballpoint pen. Raising most creatures is mostly joyful, also exhausting, and much harder than we expect.
To complete our goat-inspired picnic we stopped for wine at Shinn Estate Vineyards, tomatoes and sugar snap peas at Busy Bre's Farm Stand, a whole wheat baguette from the Blue Duck Bakery and a swiped plastic knife and spoon from the 7-11 across the street (reminder: keep picnic supplies in the car!)
Finally, we drove to East Marion, near Greenport, to eat our feast at a lavender farm. What did the sassy three-year-old find there? A mulberry tree... dessert!
It is good to escape, and you don't have to go far. Who is making cheese, growing tomatoes or baking bread near you? I bet there's someone; go knock on their door.
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