The Finger Lake region of New York is not only known for their delightful nature areas but for their gorgeous farms as well, and in particular the dairy farms. With this in mind, we decided on our trip in Ithaca to make a stop at the Lively Run Goat Dairy Farm and Creamery. If you are staying in Ithaca, it is about a 30 minute drive north of the city, and it is located on the western side of the Cayuga Lake.
To give you a little history of this farm, Lively Run Dairy is actually one of the longest running commercial goat dairies in the country, and they began their production in 1982 in New York pioneering goat cheese in the American marketplace. One thing that was pretty neat to learn about this particular establishment is that it is family run by the Messmer family, and they have really dedicated their lives to this farm creating quality products and an amazing atmosphere as well. It did not surprise me at all to learn that they have won multiple awards in the industry, including a first place win at the American Cheese Society Cheese Contest in 2017 for their Cayuga Blue cheese. Also, their Finger Lakes Gold Reserve had another first place win at the same contest in 2019!
On the day we went to this dairy, the weather decided to drizzle a little with rain, however, luckily the facility did have seating in covered areas and we ended up taking our cheese tasting to their covered porch. We tried a selection of their artisanal goat and cow cheeses, and we liked how knowledgeable their staff was, and they really walked us through the selections. In addition to talking about the cheese varieties, they gave us a really nice descriptive paper that went over more information about the cheeses as well and what foods may be complimentary with them. My husband’s favorite was the Lake Effect Cheddar which is a cow cheese that is aged at least 6 months and has a nice bold flavor with notes of nutty sweetness. Also, I really liked their traditional Greek-style Feta which they age for a minimum of 2 weeks in a salty brine, and it has a great crumbling texture to it.
One other thing that we really loved about this farm is how we had the opportunity to feed the goats directly! As we were enjoying the cheese tasting, we noticed that their barn was indeed open, and there seemed to be people visiting the sweet animals as well. After inquiring more information about this, we did find out that they allow patrons to feed the goats, so we purchased some feed to go visit them and give them a treat!
As we walked into the barn, we noticed that the goats seemed very sociable, and were excited to see us! On one side, they had the adult goats, and then on the other, there were the younger ones as that were still growing. Their herd consists of a combination of Swiss Saanens, and also French Alpines. This farm gives them with a wholesome diet of local feed and forage, which really helps provide them with quality milk, and also character from the Finger Lake region. On the day that we went, in addition to the lovely goats, towards the back of the barn, we noticed two beautiful and elegant horses as well. One even came up to say hello to me!
If you are a cheese lover, or even just like visiting a beautiful farm, the Lively Run Goat Dairy is the perfect stop for you on your Finger Lakes visit. I can see this being a great location for a family outing and a wonderful spot for a day trip as well. I will link their website, and they typically have some neat events such as concerts and goat yoga that would also be additional fabulous activities to partake in. Let me know in the comments if you have visited this farm, and what you thought about it as well. I highly recommend it, and at the risk of sounding “cheesy” this is really quite a wholesome and perfect spot to check out on your vacation, or even if you are residing in the area. I hope that you are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!
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