My family and I recently visited San Juan island and were happy to learn that some of the farms on the island welcomed guests to visit the land, see the animals and learn more about the rural way of life. Experiencing time on a working farm is always a treat and you won’t want to miss a visit to Amaro Farm.
[ Read also: San Juan Island: kid-friendly weekend getaway ]
Getting there and farm history
Amaro Farm is located 15-mins away from San Juan Island’s bustling town of Friday Harbor. Drive down the quiet roads and enter the beautiful wooden archway with the farm’s name. You can’t miss it! The farm itself is a piece of history and is over a hundred years old. Amaro farm maintains much of the original barn and farmhouse structures and is historically a homestead. Land ownership has only been exchanged twice since the 1800s.
The Amaros are no stranger to farming, with generations before them successfully ranching in other parts of the country. At the farm we were greeted by the owners. Both shared stories about how they left their day jobs to live the rural life, in search of doing something different and sustainable.
Sheep and lamb are the main attractions on the farm tour. We cuddled lambs as my kids fed and held the newest additions to the sheep family. We were smitten with how cute the little animals were, while bottle-feeding one of the lambs named Odin. Odin’s mom was rather complacent and had stepped on Odin’s leg when he was born and broke it. Odin ended up with a splint and was expected to fully recover within the next few weeks. He needed the extra assistance with his feedings – we were so happy to help!
Touring the farm
We toured the fields and got to feed the flock of sheep that lived on the farm. Squeals of delight and laughter ensued when my sons held a large tin of “sheep candy” (various types of grain) and saw the rush of animals surrounding them, knocking them gently to get more food. Once the treats were done, my kids attempted to herd the sheep themselves and hold the baby lambs, but they sure were quick!
They finally got one, the smallest of the herd, named Taco. He didn’t stay for too long in our arms and wriggled away immediately, in search of his mother and siblings.
Barn store and Flat Hat Distillery
The barn store on the farm carries snacks, treats, clothing, toys and everything sheep! You can see raw sheep wool, touch, and feel it before it is spun to yarn (spinning the yarn is not done at the farm, but you may purchase the raw wool for your at-home projects). The farm store also hosts a distillery brewing whiskey, bourbon, brandy, vodka and rum. Tastings will be offered along with lite bites off of a small menu of appetizer-sized charcuterie. A tasting flight is $10 for three selections of liquor. Tastings with a distillery tour are $15. Spirits range from $50-$150 a bottle. Souvenir glasses and t-shirts are available as well.
The farm also grows hazelnuts – be sure to purchase delicious chocolate-covered ones or hazelnuts right in the shell- cracker included.
Cutest sheep in the world
If you’re interested in visiting the baby lambs at the farm on San Juan Island, you’ll want to time it just right. February, May and July are months when new babies are scheduled to be born. In May and July, the Valais Blacknose breed, known as the “world’s cutest sheep” will be born. Think white wool with extremely adorable black faces. A rare breed to find, the Amaros take pride in how they produce and raise this variety of sheep, many winning awards at regional competitions. The Amaros also schedule professional photography sessions with these lambs, so plan your outfits ahead!
This was truly a highlight of our trip to San Juan Island. We spent the afternoon learning so much about this farm, a farmer’s duties, how they live and especially about how they raise sheep. My kids loved the interactive experience and all the exercise they got, running around the open fields.
Know before you go
- Check out the Amaro Farm website for more details and call to schedule a tour
- Amaro Farm Address: 44 Amaro Farm Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
- Tours are $15/adult, $10/child. The distillery tour is $15/adult and kids are free. Photography packages are separate. Open Tues-Sat. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Be sure to wear boots and dress for the weather
- Barn cats are the sweetest too! Don’t miss seeing them around the farm
Read more about the island’s activities here.