Visit the Farms of Catt Co.
By Mary Heyl
It’s no secret that Cattaraugus County is home to thousands of acres of farmland, but did you know about the impressive variety of livestock that are raised right here in our county? From merino sheep to bison, there are all kinds of farms that you and your family can experience, whether by visiting in person or shopping online for unique foods and other products.
Fox and Hound Merino Sheep Farm, located at 12693 West Main Street in Randolph, is home to one of the only farms in Western New York that produces 100 percent Merino wool fiber. This family farm, owned by Brian and Jacquie Volpe, is proud to offer beautiful roving fiber for spinners, felters and crafters, as well as finished yarn for knitters and crocheters. White and naturally colored Merino sheep provide a soft fiber that can be dyed or used in its natural color for hand-made garments.
Established in 2013, Fox and Hound Merino Sheep Farm occupies 127 acres. The Volpes take pride in their sustainable farming practices, including using solar panels to meet their electricity needs. Although the farm is not open regular hours for visitors, fiber-related groups can get together at the farm, like the Hilltop Spinners, who brought their spinning wheels to the farm last summer! Merino fiber and yarns are available to purchase on their website at www.foxandhoundmerinosheep.com; processed white and natural fleece and yarns are available, as well as raw fleece. For more information, call (716)358-9325.
Fiber lovers will enjoy a visit to Mager Mountain Alpacas, the county’s first alpaca farm, located at 69 Mountain View Drive in Little Valley. Owners Paul and Sue Mager invite you to meet their friendly herd of more than twenty alpaca, (and one llama!) at their beautiful farm, which is open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.
These gentle animals produce some of the softest, warmest fiber in the world, which is used in all kinds of garments, from socks to sweaters to blankets. Many enjoy alpaca fleece because of its hypoallergenic quality—a plus for anyone who is allergic or sensitive to sheep’s wool. To experience the softness for yourself, be sure to check out Mager Mountain’s So-Soft Gift Shop, which carries all kinds of beautiful items from socks to slippers to stuffed animals and even hand-knitted garments. Visit www.magermountainalpacas.com or call (716)938-9077.
Now that spring is here, The Crosspatch, a horse ranch located at 5281 Baker Road in Salamanca, invites visitors to their ranch to meet their American Paint Horses. Owners Jim and Dolly Little have been in the horse business for over 40 years and are pleased to have visitors enjoy their guided trail rides—you can even bring your own horse, if you like.
Guided trail rides and wagon rides are available for small groups and individuals; visitors will be riding through forests, streams and fields throughout thousands of acres of state land and parks. No experience is needed to enjoy one of these incredible rides, which can be as short as an hour or even an overnight ride. The Crosspatch also offers horsemanship camp, wagon and carriage rides, and a wide variety of horse-related services. They are now accepting reservations for their chuckwagon dinners, which include roast beef, salt potatoes, biscuits, Cowboy coffee, and more. These delicious dinners are preceded by a short wagon ride and are perfect for tour groups and family get togethers! To learn more, visit https://websitesbycook.com/thecrosspatch/ or call Jim and Dolly Little at (716)938-6313.
Discover nature’s original heart healthy red meat at Maple Ridge Bison Ranch in Hinsdale. Located at 4789 Gile Hollow Road, Maple Ridge is a family-owned and operated bison ranch. In 2001, owner Jeffrey S. Goodyear started the ranch with 10 bison and purchased 60 more from the Black Hills of South Dakota the following year. The bison roam freely as they did centuries ago on this sustainable farm that is committed to treating the bison with dignity.
Meat from Maple Ridge Bison Ranch is both delicious and healthy. The bison are all strictly grass fed—no grain or animal byproducts are a part of their diet. The Goodyears do not administer any steroids, growth hormones or antibiotics to their herd. This meat, which is low in calories, fat and cholesterol and deliciously tender is a great alternative to ground beef. Try some for yourself by placing an order with Maple Ridge! Enjoy bison burger, rib eye steaks, NY strip steak, whole tenderloins and more, as well as fresh maple syrup available in gallons, quarts and pints. Visit www.mapleridgebisonranch.com for pricing! Although the new shop at the ranch is not yet open, you can still order the full range of products by calling (716)640-2886 to make arrangements for meat pick up.