A huge thank you to Liz Yokubison (www.lizyokubison.com),a Park City freelance writer who has written us a wonderful blog post about the Bill White Farms:
My obsession with Bill White Farms started during one of my many drives along Highway 224 in Park City. As a parent of teenagers, I spend countless hours traversing this particular stretch of road chauffeuring my dancer and swimmer to their respective sports. One evening, I noticed that the trees of a neglected piece of property were decorated with a kaleidoscope of colored lights. It was clear that these holiday lights had been hung by professionals, since every branch was fully illuminated. I wondered why, after all these years, someone would make such an investment in this previously ignored section of Park City’s entry corridor.
The answer came a week later in the form of a hand-painted sign, propped up against the side of a ramshackle house. This time my daughter was in the car and she read the writing on the sign in the fading sunlight. We both looked at each other with a big smile – Bill White, a local restauranteur, had purchased the property and was turning it into Bill White Farms. Mystery solved!
Over the next few months I continued to monitor the progress on the property. One day when I was waiting for a table at one of Bill’s restaurants, I asked the hostess about the farm. She told me the plan was grow apples, spices and other produce to act as a source, albeit not a complete one, for the eight Bill White restaurants in Park City. Most exciting of all, the farm would also be home to roosters, chickens and even goats. Seven goats to be exact.
My first reaction was – where would that many goats fit? And then – what if the goats could provide fresh milk and cheese? When I asked the hostess, she informed me that these were “special needs goats,” that were unable produce such products. In fact, Bill had essentially adopted the goats since they needed a place to live and he had space on the farm.
That was just the enticement for me to start my weekly ritual of running from my neighborhood in Sun Peak, along the Millennium Trail, with the sole purpose of scoping out the happenings at the farm. And what I saw was nothing less than inspiring.
In the early weeks of spring, with the requisite Park City dusting of snow, I spotted rows and rows of tulips adjacent to the trail that were planted in, what I assumed to be square planter boxes. Months later, after the tulips had come and gone, these boxes were repurposed into composting bins for the restaurants.
As spring turned to summer, apples were strung up on trellises in an effort to promote cross pollination and tall, sturdy holly hocks were planted next to trail for our enjoyment. And then the goats arrived – seven of the cutest, most inquisitive animals that I’d ever seen. While I was fawning over their adorable faces and snapping countless pictures, my dog was busy running along the fence that protected the chickens and roosters from his earnest barks.
Over the summer and into the fall, I visited the goats weekly and was even was able to reach my arm through the fence to let them nuzzle my hand. One little fella in particular loved to have his head scratched, right between his uneven horns. I’m fairly certain that the No Trespassing signs and the fence that were erected around the perimeter of the farm had nothing to do with my traipsing around in search of a better goat interaction point. My family begs to differ.
A few weeks ago, Joe, who built all of the wooden structures on the property, noticed me loitering along the trail and struck up a conversation. He told me all kinds of juicy insider details about the farm. Like the fact that the hens lay 70 eggs a day and that the plan is to eventually house pigs and turkeys on the property as well.
Best of all, he told me the goats’ names and even part of their lineage. Joe explained that all but one were females and that the sole male goat was named Billy. His twin sister was Bey and their mother was named Renee, the only goat with a red ear tag. The newest addition to the group was Sally, a black and white goat who “summered” in Price Canyon grazing on a different farm and now spent the winters up in Park City. Joe went on to tell me about sisters Olive and Violet, my scratching buddy who I erroneously thought was a boy. Last, but not least was Yoda, whose ears moved every which way, hence the creative name.
Armed with such valuable information, I finished my run and promptly shared all that I had learned with my husband who patiently listened while chuckling the whole time. He suggested that I create a “goat family tree” to display on the fence beside the trail for all to see.
And so the farm continues to be my “happy place” and the goats the highlight of my week. I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated with this new addition to Park City. Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to interview Bill White for a story a few years ago and am aware of how he has shied away from the spotlight for so many years. And what a big step this is for him to do something so public. Maybe it’s because I’m proud to be a Parkite when I see people like him give back to the community so wholeheartedly. Or maybe it’s because my great grandfather Deming had a farm himself, which he loved so much that he died in his chicken coop while feeding his chickens at the ripe old age of 90.
Whatever the reason, I’m thankful to Bill White for creating such a centerpiece in our community and a place for all of us to enjoy.
Liz Yokubison Freelance Writer www.lizyokubison.com