By Keysha Drexel
Class is back in session for Over the Mountain residents who want to learn about life on the farm.
Stone Hollow Farmstead in Harpersville is resuming its Farm School classes this spring to introduce children to the joys and challenges of farm life.
“Guests will get to tour our Grade A dairy and creamery, explore the herb and vegetable gardens, visit with the many heritage breed animals and all the while, (they will be) learning about sustainable farming and animal welfare practices,” said Kate Gower, spokesperson for Stone Hollow Farmstead.
The Farm School classes are held on the first three Saturdays of each month through September at the 80-acre farm that is about a 25-minute drive from Birmingham.
Farm School classes are divided by age, with the class for ages 3-5 held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at a cost of $30 per person. Participants ages 6-9 take Farm School classes from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for $55 per person, which includes lunch. The times and rates for those ages 10-13 are the same as for ages 6-9.
Participants start with Farm School 101 on the first Saturday of the month and end with Farm School 103 on the third Saturday.
“Attending all three classes will provide a thorough understanding of sustainable farm practices,” Gower said. “Over the course of three Saturdays, we will cover dairy processing and why we think goat’s milk is the best milk (and makes) the best cheese.”
Those visiting the farm for the classes will have the chance to feed the baby goats and taste freshly pasteurized goat’s milk and freshly made cheese, Gower said.
Farm School students can meet the ducks and chickens at Stone Hollow Farmstead and can help gather eggs. They can pet the horses, plant a few seeds or learn how honey is made, Gower said. Participants will also tend the vegetable and herb gardens and learn about insects that are beneficial to gardens.
“When you’re finished (with the Farm School classes), you will know the meaning of a few farm phrases like ‘farm to table,’” Gower said.
Stone Hollow Farmstead is owned by Deborah Stone, who ran Deborah Stone Day Spa for 10 years before selling it and moving to the farm in 1999.
Stone started raising goats in 2009, and her artisan cheeses soon found a following among foodies and others interested in locally-produced food. Last year, the farm produced 22,000 pounds of cheese which can be found on the tables of restaurants like Veranda, Hot & Hot Fish Club, Bottega Cafe and Highlands Bar and Grill.
Over the Mountain residents can get a taste of Stone Hollow Farmstead products at The Pantry, a restaurant Stone and her family opened in Crestline Village in December 2012.
For more information on Stone Hollow Farmstead’s Farm School classes, visit stonehollowfarmstead.com or call 803-3585.