Ramble On

Monday, September 5, 2011

Page County Grown Farm Tour: Khimaira Farm

Tourist kids with the goat kids.

Page County Grown sign at Khimaira Farm.
Today’s post is the first in a series that I will run this week reprising the inaugural Page County Grown Farm Tour, which took place on Saturday, August 27, 2011. With the fury of hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast, a brave group of 40+ farm tourists set out to visit a few of our local farms: Khimaira Farm, Skyline Premium Meats, Willow Grove Farm Market, Wisteria Farm and Vineyard, Paw Paw’s Honey, and Public House Produce. That’s the order I’ll recap the tour, also – and all of the posts will include the label “2011 Farm Tour” at the end, so a simple click will pull them all up, including the Farm-to-Table Dinner, preview and teaser posts that went up previously.

Linda gives a tour overview.
Now, Khimaira Farm was our first stop – the family and staff were preparing for a wedding that evening, and had asked that the visit take place at 9am so they could accommodate that appointment – as a follow-up, I heard that the wedding came off despite the impending hurricane, with only the minor change of where to hold the ceremony being impacted. There was a quick rain storm just as the tour arrived; of course, it quickly cleared as soon as we were inside the barn.

Farm buildings, including the goat barn.
As summarized in the one-pager that was handed out at the tour overview, Khimaira is a working dairy and meat goat farm, focused on sustainable agricultural practices. The family’s home is located just outside of Luray and dates from the Civil War era. Khimaira is also a popular wedding destination in the Shenandoah Valley. On the Page County Grown web page, their products are listed as: dairy and meat goat breeding stock, goat meat, tomatoes, peppers, seasonal produce, eggs, and chickens.

Linda, the proprietor, who is pictured in one of the photos, gave an overview of the history of the farm – over two decades it functioned as an active 60-acre farm. The family was involved with Heifer, International – a non-profit organization that encourages family farming in developing countries – and through those activities word-of-mouth helped support the growth of the business.

Khimaira's wedding barn.
Another wedding venue at Khimaira.
As Linda wrapped up her talk, we had a few minutes to walk around the property and check out the offerings. Of late, the farm has become a popular Page County wedding destination, so I’ve included a couple of photos of the venues available, including the “Wedding Barn” and a little garden. There are many beautiful views of the Blue Ridge and several different locations suitable for nuptials and other traditional wedding functions.

One of Khimaira's Great Pyrenees dogs.
Then of course there are the animals. The goats have a new barn (since the weddings have taken over their old one!), and there are a couple Great Pyrenees dogs guarding the property from predators.

They had some other local products available to check out, including goats milk soaps. And much appreciated, since they were the first stop, hot coffee and some pastries were available.

Khimaira made for a logical first stop on the tour, given their proximity to the chamber, and because they had space for us under the barn for the farm overview. After about an hour, the group wrapped up its visit there and moved along to Skyline Premium Meats, which will be my topic for tomorrow.

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