Peacocks, Goats, and Trains Rule the Roost at Emerald Farm in Greenwood

Trains, goats and peacocks might seem like an unusual combination, but they all co-exist in a symbiotic unity at Emerald Farm in Greenwood.

This 75-acre working dairy and goat farm is owned by Kathryn and Paul Zahn who were looking for "a comfortably special place to raise a family and to welcome friends.  A place that was next to nature." When they stumbled upon Emerald Farm they knew they had found that place.

The couple has raised goats for more than 30 years and the farm is home to about 8 Saanen goats (a type of Swiss dairy goat), two llamas, and 16 peacocks. The Zahn's also take in occasional rescue animals and currently have a lamb, along with ducks, carp and catfish that hang out in the onsite pond.

Kathryn, a former Clemson instructor, decided in 1987 that in addition to her own herb gardens and natural food, she wanted to formulate soap with her goat's milk.

After doing research, she decided to go with a "tried and true formula" from Swiss soap makers that incorporates olive oils that would combine "all the beneficial qualities of the natural ingredients and customized it to our design." So she added a small soap factory to the farm and the soap is now sold in many stores on the east coast, including shops at the Biltmore.

Kathryn is certified in natural health and makes and sells soaps, shampoos and lotions from the milk her goats provide.  Her products are sold via the internet and at the farm.

As the farm grew, smoke houses, hay barns and gardens were added or remodeled to suit the immediate needs of the farm.  Kathryn says she "allowed Paul to pursue his interests" when he converted one of the hay barns on the property to a model railroad clubhouse.

His train layouts began in 1997 and have evolved continuously over time. Members of the club can bring in their own trains and run them anytime.

Also on the farm is a fifty-five year old CSX hydraulic train and a newly restored 1956 Santa Fe train that Paul acquired. Tours are given around the property on a vintage 1957 train.

In the gift and hobby shop on the property you can pick up model train parts and also supplies to make your own wine, cheese, beer and mead. Kathryn includes works of art from local artists in the store along with herbal nutrition and natural foods.

The farm is open to the public and tours are available. The Zahn's encourage visitors to come out and enjoy the farm, and even have a picnic pavilion by the pond available if you want to bring lunch. Group tours, birthday parties and wedding packages are also offered.

The Emerald Farm website is undergoing a makeover so it's best to contact via phone or visit in person.

Emerald Farm is located at 409 Emerald Farm Road in Greenwood. The farm is open Tuesday thru Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guided tours are welcome by appointment. Call (864) 223-2247 for more information.

Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine,Entrepreneur.com, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, See the South, Beckett Media, The Simpsonville Sentinel and many other print and online publications. For clips and examples of her work, please visit her website at www.dragonflyventures.com