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They're Kidding Around at Rainbeau Ridge

It's kidding season at the farm and that means at least 60 new baby goats, plus one new variety of cheese.

Expectant does don't wait for business presentations to be over.

Rainbeau Ridge owner Lisa Schwartz was in the middle of giving a presentation last week on new happenings at her farm when Melissa—named after singer Melissa Etheridge—went into labor.  Schwartz swooped in to help, and a healthy doeling was born.

By the end of that day, another 5 goats were born, with 12 joining the ranks by the end of the weekend.  You can see a photo of Melissa, and other the other goats available for "adoption" through the farm's Goatkeeper program, on the farm's website.

"Birthing season varies a little each year, and this year is March through May," said Karen Sabath, Schwartz's sister and business partner.  "We expect a total of between 60 and 80 kids to be born this year, with most of them moving off the farm."

Whether you want to get your kids interacting with nature, learn some new cooking techniques or just spend some time surrounded by cute animals, chances are you'll be able to do it at Rainbeau Ridge Farm in Bedford Hills.

What Lisa Schwartz, a former management consultant, and her husband Mark started with just 2 goats back in 2002, has grown into a farm that now houses sheep, lamas, poultry, turkeys, cows and a peacock. 

The turkeys were a new idea for Schwartz, and if all goes well, they could end up as a local resident's Thanksgiving dinner. 

Early on, Schwartz started learning to make cheese, creating a vegetable garden, and hosting classes for kids and adults, particularly as a way to bring a passion for sustainable farming and locally grown foods to the community.  

"We help families, kids and individuals take one step at a time to make healthy living a part of their lives," she explained.  

And this year, while Schwartz and her team, are not looking to create many new programs, they are hoping to make what they already have even better.  

That includes letting kids get up-close-and-personal with the animals, the farm and the food through a variety of programs designed for different age groups.  

See our related story on the farm's programs for children here.

But kids aren't the only ones who can learn about food. Cooking classes for adults are offered throughout the year in the farm's kitchen. This spring, classes range from how to use herbs like parsley and thyme, taught by Schwartz, to how to incorporate smoked meats and fish into recipes, taught by Chris Bradley, the sous chef of Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan.     

The programs are rounded out by workshops on everything from gardening to bee keeping, and capped off by two events—Sheep Shearing in April and Fall Fest in September.  

And then, of course, there's the cheese.  

"I aspire to making great cheeses and making them the best they can be," explains Schwartz, the farm's resident cheesemaker, who spent a summer living on a goat farm in France and learning the craft.  

In addition to the five varieties of hand-ladled goat cheese they already offer—two of which have won awards from the American Cheese Association—this season Schwartz is experimenting with a "gouda-like" cheese, although it has yet to be named.  

"We may end up launching it at the end of the season," she said.  

In the meantime, cheeses can be purchased at Bedford Gourmet in Bedford and Darien Cheese and Fine Foods in Darien, CT, or found at a number of local restaurants, including Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua and Café of Love in Mount Kisco. 

The farm is open to the public only on Saturdays in the summer, from 11 to 3. This year, it begins on June 5. Information on all products and programs can be found on their website and registration for kids' summer programs start April 7.  
 
 

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