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NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Look! Up In The Air! It's A …. Goat? At Westmoreland Berry Farm, Oak Grove, VA

By: Michelle Harper

Westmoreland Berry FarmWhile Virginia isn't known as mountain goat territory, the goats at Westmoreland Berry Farm don't know this. In fact, they are quite at home atop the specially made catwalk (goatwalk?) made up of a series of ramps and platforms looming 20 feet over the entranceway to the farm. While onlookers gawk and point, the goats seem more interested in soaking up the sunshine from the specially made perches. That is, until they hear the magic sound of a quarter dropping into the feed dispensing machine….

Westmoreland Berry FarmThen faster than even the most seasoned waitress hearing the tip hit the table, they spring to life. Within a matter of seconds, the goat has reached his feeding post, where humans are trained to take the corn from the machine and place it on the small cup on a rope. Then at the encouragement of the goat, who is now peering down hungrily from above, humans are further encouraged to pull on the rope and thus hoist the food to its waiting customer above. If additional encouragement is needed (ie. The humans are too slow), the goat further encourages its human servant by banging its horns on the metal pulley until the food arrives. Once all the food is consumed and the goat is thoroughly convinced the human is all out of money, he retreats back to his comfy nesting perch above the driveway. All in all it's a very impressive display of conditional training but it is unclear as to who has really trained who.

Westmoreland Berry FarmAs if this unusual display of animal behavior were not enough reason to visit Westmoreland Berry Farm, you'll also find a lot more to see and do. After all, it is called a berry farm for a good reason. Throughout the harvest season of April through October, visitors can pick a variety of fresh farm produce including strawberries, red raspberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, pumpkins and gourds, asparagus and sugar peas. If you are not inclined to pick your own, they also offer freshly picked produce in the farm store.

Westmoreland Berry FarmIf you choose to visit just to spend the day enjoying the scenic views of the fields, vineyards and Rappahannock River, this is the perfect place to do it. The farm offers picnic tables for those who would like to bring their own or if you prefer they have all the necessary trimmings for a lovely feast. The farm store offers hot dogs, chips, drinks and wonderful ice cream sundaes and shortcake topped with fresh berries grown on the farm. The store also offers preserves, fresh farm produce, honey, goat's milk products and various gift basket type items. You are bound to find something that you just can't do without.

Westmoreland Berry FarmIn addition to providing the perfect location to spend the day in the country, the farm also hosts various special events throughout the year including activities for Mother's and Father's Day, Bluegrass Music, Community Yard-Bake Sale, Scarecrow Making, Gourmet Tasting, Apple Butter Making and much more. Regardless of your reason for coming, its not a baa'd way to spend an afternoon! We may be partial to hawgs but these goats got game.

For more information visit: http://www.westmorelandberryfarm.com/

Westmoreland Berry Farm and Orchard
1235 Berry Farm Lane, Oak Grove, VA 22443
800-997-BERRY (2377) o 804-224-8967 (Fax)

Directions: Take VA Route 3 East from Fredericksburg. After US 301 intersection, continue 7 miles. Just inside Westmoreland County, turn right onto Claymont. Follow the signs to the farm.

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