Sunday, May 17, 2020

Savoring Iceland, Learning History, Exploring the Maker Spirit and Loving Goats at Haafell Goat Farm in West Iceland

Savoring Iceland, Learning History, Exploring the Maker Spirit and Loving Goats at Haafell Goat Farm in West Iceland

Savoring Iceland, Learning History, Exploring the Maker Spirit and Loving Goats at Háafell Goat Farm in West Iceland

Háafell Goat Farm has many stories interwoven in the beautiful Icelandic countryside. Determination. Luck. Knowledge. Passion. Joy. Wellness. History. All of this and more can be found woven in the fabric of a visit to Háafell. Our visit to Háafell Goat Farm was one of our most memorable experiences in Iceland and we look forward to returning one day.


Meeting the goats of Háafell Goat Farm in West Iceland.
Meeting the goats of Háafell Goat Farm in West Iceland.
Bringing the Icelandic Goat Back from Extinction:

Not too long ago, the Icelandic Goat was on the brink of extinction. Through the strength, grit and passion of farmer Jóhanna Thorvalsdóttir the Icelandic Goat is still here for us all to learn about and enjoy. The first goats were brought to Iceland 1100 years ago by settlers from Norway. Throughout the centuries, the Icelanders began to prefer sheep over goats. So, goat population numbers dwindled to less than 100 in the 1990's.

Icelandic goats enjoying a nibble at Haafell Goat Farm.
Icelandic goats enjoying a nibble.
Jóhanna was raised on Háafell Farm. When she took over the farm, she fulfilled her dream of owning goats by welcoming three to the farm. In 1999, she saved the last three hornless goats bringing them to the farm. Two of those goats were also the last brown Icelandic goats. As her number of goats increased, Jóhanna decided to go full-fledged into goat farming. If you visit Háafell, please spend some time talking to Jóhanna and learn about the challenging route she has taken to goat farming, creating a market for products and keeping the farm alive.

Háafell's goats enjoying the day.
Háafell's goats enjoying the day.
Visiting Háafell Goat Farm

Jóhanna was so happy to welcome us to her farm, introduce us to goat farming and teach us about goat products. I truly felt we had met a long lost friend. We chatted a lot about farming and Jóhanna was delighted to learn about my family's dairy farming roots. She has been working on connecting with other goat farmers around the world including the United States.

Exploring Háafell Goat Farm
Exploring Háafell Goat Farm

The goats of Háafell are quite famous appearing in Game of Thrones! The goats appear in season 4 where a dragon breathes fire on the herd and snatches one. At times, the farm has encountered difficulty in staying afloat. However, the ties to the Game of Thrones has helped in terms of visitors and indiegogo campaigns. Very few of the goats from the series were still alive during our visit. However, we did meet one that we were told was quite cranky -- the goat pictured below!

Háafell's goats were featured in the Game of Thrones including this goat.
Háafell's goats were featured in the Game of Thrones including this goat.
While visiting Háafell, we explored a variety of goat products including beauty products, sausage, wool and more. We learned about the health properties of goat's milk both for consumption and in beauty products. We tried chocolate goat ice cream which was delicious and a much needed cool treat! We also sampled goat feta cheese-- yummy! I came home with a lovely goat's milk soap with native herbs. Jóhanna was very informative about the processes used for the products. So, we also came home with a new appreciation for goats, farming, determination and innovation. Jóhanna hopes to increase cheese production at the farm. I hope she succeeds and we have more cheese to try when we return!

Healthy and decadent Goat's Milk Soap from Háafell!
Healthy and decadent Goat's Milk Soap from Háafell!

Háafell Goat Farm is open for visits during the summer months. I recommend verifying with Háafell's Facebook page before visiting. We had a wonderful time at Háafell Goat Farm and look forward to returning again to learn more and experience new products Jóhanna has crafted! Additionally, we would love to pick up more Icelandic treasures to bring home! What a splendid adventure!

Holding one of the babies at Háafell Goat Farm in West Iceland
Holding one of the babies at Háafell Goat Farm in West Iceland


Savoring Iceland, Learning History, Exploring the Maker Spirit and Loving Goats at Haafell Goat Farm in West Iceland


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