$40,000 is how much a small farm spends exclusively on hay per year. With hay ranging from $8-$12 per bale, it is easy to see how quickly the numbers can add up. Carver’s Cove Petting Farm is one of these little farms struggling to get by in today’s declining economy.
Carver’s Cove Petting Farm is located in Eden, Utah and was started 10 years ago by Audrey and Rodney Carver.
“Our purpose is to offer the unique opportunity to bring back the family farm experience in a fun, educational and enjoyable way,” Audrey Carver, owner of Carver’s Cover Petting Farm, said.
Carver’s Cove originally started out as a family farm and is home to a wide variety of farm animals, including traditional cows, horses and chickens, as well as more unusual animals like llamas, alpacas and turkeys. Patrons can also observe and take pictures with old farm equipment, an antique buggy and a hay stack.
“I think it is awesome that kids can learn about and connect with [animals] and actually pet and feed them,” Bobbie Staley, Carver’s Cove Petting Farm patron, said. The Carver’s opened their family farm to the public as a petting farm to supplement their income. They initially welcomed day cares and preschools looking for fun day activities and field trips but soon grew in popularity. Patrons now include families, church groups and even couple’s on dates.
Most of the farm’s animals give birth at the end of May and beginning of June. Baby Animal Days began as one weekend on the farm but, due to the many people interested, soon grew to encompass the entire month of June. Although the babies are at the farm through September, during Baby Animal Days in June, admission includes a free container of feed to share with the animals.
Carver’s Cove Petting farm is a licensed class C exhibitor. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a class C license allows the license holder to show or display animals to the public. The farm is open to the community May through September on Wednesday’s through Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting, and most holidays. Monday and Tuesday visits can be arranged by appointment only. Admission is $8. A horse ride is included for children 12 and under.
Carver’s Cove also has a bowery, or pavilion, available to rent for groups and special occasions. The bowery can accommodate 40-60 people and costs $25 per hour. Decorations are encouraged.
“The farm is family friendly and fun. I can’t believe how cheap it is, considering how much it costs to feed all those wonderful and friendly animals. Plus, the kids get a free horse ride with admission—who does that? It is awesome,” Staley added, encouraging the community to come out and support this family farm.