Drake Family Farms

Drake LaneDriving along unloved Redwood Road, which is so gravelly and full of semi-trucks that a Redwood tree would be mortified to live there, one fantasizes for a moment that its colorful name meant that it enjoyed a vital past as a bustling lumber yard in post-pioneer days, or as a stretch of tree nurseries in the Fifties. It’s only slightly more absurd to find out at Utah.gov the plausible reason for its name: “Redwood Road was at first used as a surveying line to lay out plots for the west side of the valley. Redwood stakes were used by the Territorial Surveyor to mark the line.”

So Redwood Road is named for the stakes used when the road’s function was a line of demarcation on a map. We should feel grateful that during the last century they didn’t name our streets Plumb Bob Way, or Spraypaint Street, or Blueprint Circle. And today, you could be living on GPS Street, or Google Earth Way.

This is why it’s such a pleasure to veer away from Redwood Road’s business parks and apartment complexes and head west down a dirt road, Drake Lane, until you see a little shed with a sign on the door that says “Drake Family Farms.”

Drake farmhouse

Inside there is a double glass refrigerator stocked with goat milk and some of its products: chevre, mozzarella, feta, and fresh ricotta. They also sell chicken eggs. All of their products are free of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and preservatives. 

This family farm has operated since 1880 but they began dedicating it to goats in 1984 after one of their sons had an outstanding 4H experience. (More information on their credentials is at www.drakefamilyfarms.com where you can get the goats’ pedigrees, close-ups of their full udders, and close-ups of their milked-out udders.)

No one is looking. So you take whatever you want from the cooler. Then you record it on one of their checklists, do the math, and place your money in the locked box. Last week a young mother arrived from Saratoga Springs, a 35-minute drive away, to buy fresh goat milk for her infant who doesn’t tolerate cow’s milk. She says her baby smells like an old goat but he loves the milk so she makes the drive twice a week.

At the white brick house to the north, you will find Jeanette Drake, the cheesemaker/soapmaker, who has the pioneer background and university degree to back up her trades. You can purchase her handmade goat milk soap (try the rosemary or the chocolate-coffee scrub) and you can ask her yourself about why you should want to put goat’s milk on your skin.

Drake herd

You’re not supposed to wander about unattended  in this Arcadian little spot, but take a glimpse at the goat herd behind the house as you leave. The kids are as impish as they are inquisitive — they stand on their hind legs to get a better perch and some of them get right up in your face.

Drake IrwinThe adult goats in front of the historic farm house are more aloof.  Irwin is a particularly satyr-like specimen with his wavy copper beard and tousled locks.  He glances at the visitors and dismisses them in the same moment. One wonders what he gets up to when all the humans go to bed.   

Incidentally, the Drakes have given names to all of these goats. Not names like Faunus or Pan — but bedroom names like Bernadette, Velocity, Bliss, Tempest, and Siren. To be fair, they also give them names like Gladys and Owen and Clyde. Perhaps they should name one Redwood, and give that dusty thoroughfare a new raison d’être.


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

One Response to “Drake Family Farms”

  1. Janny June 3, 2010 8:30 am

    That Irwin is a handsome one. Great story and photos. Congrats on this exciting and interesting new venture!

Leave a Reply