“Better beans and bacon in peace, than cakes and ale in fear.”
– The City Mouse and the Country Mouse, Aesop’s Fable
At the Flip Flop Ranch they don’t guarantee beans and bacon, but they do promise peace, quiet, and the fun of an authentic farm experience only two hours east of Los Angeles, nestled in the Lucerne Valley. For the city mouse in all of us, Flip Flop Ranch offers a change of pace that includes milking goats, feeding livestock, and home-cooked meals often made from produce harvested the same day.
“Farming is about everything important to us: health, sustainability, financial independence, environmental responsibility and community,” according to the multi-generational Harvey family, whose commitment to providing a relaxing and educational experience to guests is evident. Children have fun collecting multi-colored eggs from the endangered breeds of chickens in the morning, or petting kittens they might find in the barn. Guests of all ages can learn to milk a goat and then make cheese that same day. Perhaps best of all, no activity is obligatory; the ranch also has a swimming pool, game room and hammocks for those uninterested in (or seeking a break from) the farm chores.
Whether you choose to feed the ostriches, sheer a sheep, or practice your cannonball skills in the pool, the Flip Flop ranch provides a nourishing breakfast and dinner every day. Meals are created almost entirely from Flip Flop Ranch’s own pastured animal products and non-GMO, organic, open-pollinated, heritage produce, with additional ingredients locally sourced. The chef easily accommodates a variety of dietary needs and preferences, and proudly specializing in gluten-free recipes. Adults can enjoy lively discussion about subjects dear to their hosts’ hearts, like bio-fuels and sustainable farming practices, while kids roast marshmallows over the fire — after dinner, of course.
Various activities are available on a seasonal basis, so check the website to find out what’s next: Perhaps a session in the kitchen preserving just-picked fruit, making rhubarb crisp or learning to spin wool. There are day trips available to families who can’t stay overnight; for visitors who want to explore, the Harvey family is happy to make suggestions: the area is home to some old Hollywood movie sets, perfect for re-enacting your favorite Western, and Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is a short drive away. Owner Serena Harvey explains with a wink, “They have the wolves from the ‘Twilight’ movies—our guests are always excited about that!”
“This is such a lovely community, where it is still a bit of the Wild West,” Harvey explains. Their farm happily hires people within the community, inviting them to learn skills to create crafts sold in the Flip Flop Ranch store. When the ranch is absent of hotel guests, the facilities are opened to therapeutic and rehabilitation groups, as well as schools for field trips for pre-school to high school kids. The Flip Flop Ranch blog is a well-maintained resource that not only documents the daily goings on of farm life, but also offers tips about sustainable living with organic recipes and gardening tips.
City life hides our land’s natural elements behind billboards and freeways. Flip Flop Ranch offers families a way to unwind and be part of where sustainability starts, thanks to hands-on experiences where everyone can get dirty, enjoy the fresh air, cuddle with some kittens and relax. Bet on this farm.
Image courtesy of Flip Flop Ranch.