Fun for all at Mountain Valley Farm
|The goats are fun to watch. Photos by Melissa Lowrie|
By Melissa Lowrie
Ever dread grocery shopping? How about shopping with the kids?
I know, it’s a serene, easy-breezy experience, right? Maybe something like this ...
- Enter store with concise list.
- Find everything in the correct size, flavor and price.
- Kids are angels that don’t ask for Fruit Loops or double-fudge chunk ice cream, no screaming, fits or getting lost.
Today, I offer a win-win. Shopping and entertainment for the kids (that doesn’t involve a plug).
Mountain Valley Farm in Ellijay is a working farm that has been “growing locally since 1840.” The property boasts a fantastic farm store, ice cream and petting zoo. Trust me when I tell you this is worth the off-the-beaten-path mileage.
|The two pigs are quite friendly.|
Don’t be turned off by the petting zoo—it isn’t what you’re used to. This was the cleanest, healthiest group of animals I’ve ever seen. Goats, rabbits, pigs, a horse and a couple of cows make up the menagerie. The day we were there, the baby goats were only four days old. My kid with a bleating kid was fun to see.
The two piglets were a big hit and were as affectionate as puppies. White bunnies hopped around our feet as we watched other children enjoy the farm. The kids, and I don’t care how old yours are, will enjoy seeing this.
So here’s the winner for the adults: the farm store. Grass-fed, dry-aged beef: fillets, rib-eyes, New York strips, sirloin. Free-range heritage pork: bone-in or boneless chops ... cut in one inch or half inch thick. There are a wide range of cuts offered, but no list in the store. Don’t worry, staff is on-hand to answer any questions. (And there’s a sink to wash hands in the store.)
|A gentle horse gets some love.|
Mountain Valley’s website, grassfedgeorgia.com has a list of current offerings and prices. There is an emphasis on the humane treatment of their animals and a respect for life. The beef offered comes from a small number of steer raised on grass pastures, mountain stream water and fresh air. No hormones, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used.
|The pigs enjoy the kids’ attention.|
Besides the chops and steaks ... sausage, bacon, ribs and whatever else you might dream up is available for purchase. The wall of white freezers in the small store stand brimming with goodies. One should absolutely bring a cooler from home to carry your bounty.
Other coolers in the store cover some of the remaining food groups. Eggs, butter, cheese, goat cheese and raw cow milk hit the dairy requirements, while handcrafted Ultimate Ice Cream made for the store by Kevin and Lucia Barnes of Asheville, N.C., tempt with unique flavors. Check out Fresh South Carolina Peach, Oreo Java, Brown Sugar Bacon & Maple, Goat Cheese & Bing Cherry or Flaked Coconut. A bevy of quiet children on the front porch gave a strong testimony to the goodness of their cold treats.
While there is no charge to visit the petting zoo or peek in the shop, you’ll want to bring some money for groceries.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mountain Valley Farm Store is about 25 miles from Big Canoe in Ellijay. It’s near Apple Alley and is a stone’s throw from Cartecay Vineyards. There is signage that will direct you from the highway including green Georgia Agritourism signs. Check the website for directions.
Put this outing on the list for your Canoe Kids, or even if your kids are old enough to buy their own steaks. It’s a winner. If you can’t make it to Mountain Valley, create another adventure with your kids. Wherever you end up, have a great time.
|Pick out dinner at the farm store counter.|
P.S. The steaks and chops were excellent.