If you are passing through Upper Econony in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County, you will see a sign for That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm. That is of course if you are able to take your eyes off the stunning views of Cobequid Bay and the Minas Basin. If you love cheese you will likely be excited to visit the farm so you can, what else…. taste and buy some cheese. If you are like me and don’t eat a lot of cheese you might pass by. I am here to tell you – don’t just pass by.
That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm is not just about cheese. The cheese farmers do sell delicious cheese, which you can watch being made through large glass windows in the main building, but the farm is also home to the most delightful nature trail. And I do meant delightful.
The Dutchman’s Cheese Farm Nature and Animal Park is a meandering trail through fields and forests where you will encounter animal after animal. There is a small fee of $4.25 to enter. When you pay the entrance fee at the main building don’t leave without purchasing bags of cracked corn (for $2 a bag). Buy lots; you will want to feed all the animals you encounter. Also, bring with you a pocket full of quarters. A couple of the animals can’t eat corn and there are coin-operated vending machines to purchase other treats for those animals.
You will be given a map when you pay. When we visited we used the map and were anxious to make our way to each pit stop along the way. However, had we not had a map the well-marked trail system would have offered a wonderful sense of surprise as we waited to see what was around the next corner.
The trail system loops with the option of a shorter half hour walk, or a longer hour-long stroll. Allow yourself plenty of time to stop to visit with the animals.
As you begin you will encounter a beautiful pond with ducks, geese and swans.
As you stroll along you can expect to encounter a lovely herb garden, followed by adorable goats and rabbits, as well as chickens and perhaps a cow or two.
Then, you will meet the pot-belly pigs. When I visited in mid-September there were several babies. Teeny tiny baby pigs which I could barely take my eyes off of. The pigs are surrounded by a small, low electric fence, which didn’t stop the smaller pigs from scurrying under it to explore their outer surroundings. Visitors are encouraged to step over the fence to get closer to the pigs, and to feed them from inside their enclosure. They will all come running if you enter with a little food – including the babies!
If you can tear yourself away from the cuteness of the tiny pigs, you will then discover the most lovely miniature donkeys (this is where you will need your quarters because they can’t eat corn), as well as a huge Berkshire Pig.
You will also pass by several emus. The very large birds were very vocal when we visited. I thought there were actual human drummers nearby and later learned that the sound was coming from deep in the chest of the birds themselves, which I also learned is a sound typically made during mating season. I wonder if that means that if I return in a few months there will be baby emus running around.
Farther along, at one of the most beautiful sections of the trail, we visited with Highland Cattle. They had little interest in us at all, but were still a delight to watch. These gentle beauties look like large teddy bears who need a haircut.
Along the way you will also discover a serene water garden. It was here that we also met up with a wandering goose, out for a stroll.
After one last visit with the geese and ducks our walk through the nature park came to a reluctant end. I can’t wait to return. And the good news – I can return whenever I want. The farm is open year round.
Before we left the farm we took in the stunning views from atop the hill, and then were off to enjoy the beautiful drive home along Highway 2.