By Gretchen Pahia
Summertime is here, and that means vacations and family getaways. One great way to make those special memories is through agritourism – an agriculturally- based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch – and one stand-out location in Arizona to do just that is Fossil Creek Creamery.
Set in the northern town of Strawberry, the Ranch at Fossil Creek and Fossil Creek Creamery is a great spot for visitors. “It’s a fun thing to do,” said owner John Bittner. “We make and sell fudge, cheese, soaps and lotions. People come here for our goat milk products and enjoy the petting zoo and other activities.”
The ranch and creamery are a great stop for both kids and adults. Bittner says that groups come time and time again, wondering what will be in store for their next visit. “We get return visitors and new visitors, and it is always lots of fun,” he continued. “We have been called the ‘Best Summer Day Trip in Arizona.’ Our word-of-mouth business is growing stronger and stronger every year.”
Visitors don’t usually leave the property without a stop at the creamery, for a special treat or memory. “The fudge is our top seller,” said Bittner. “We make chocolate, chocolate and peanut butter, and peanut butter and chocolate with pecans, all delicious and all fresh made using goat’s milk from our very own goats.”
For Bittner and his wife Joyce, the ranch and creamery are definitely home. Having lived in Strawberry for 24 years, there is nowhere the pair would rather be. What began with some llamas and a small operation, has turned into a prime destination in the Rim country, somewhere where tourists and locals can enjoy a piece of Arizona. “We get birthday parties, homeschool kids groups, big tours, you name it. They come and spend time with us,” said Bittner. “We show them everything about the farm and creamery. It’s what we love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
There is no charge to visit the property, but there is a fee for the petting zoo and to tour the creamery. The businesses are open every day from April through October, and most weekends during the winter. The Bittners also bring their goods to farmer’s markets throughout the state – Flagstaff in the summer, Payson on Saturdays in the summer, and downtown Scottsdale in the winter.
For more information on the Ranch at Fossil Creek and Fossil Creek Creamery, check them out online at ranchatfossilcreek.com
Gretchen Pahia has 15 years experience in both media and public relations and is an award-winning television news producer in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Portland. Gretchen is a native to Arizona, born and raised in Phoenix, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University. She lives in the Phoenix metro area with her husband, their two children and their dog.
Find more travel destinations at greenlivingaz.com/travel