Finding Comfort in Farm Cuddles at Greenlands Farm

by | Jan 26, 2023

#EscapeWithNCAg is a year-long series that will focus on agritourism across North Carolina. Many farms, wineries and other agricultural businesses in our state offer events such as tours, yoga, educational classes, pick-your-own events and festivals, to entertain the public and teach them about our state’s number one industry. Each Thursday, we will feature a new site for you to visit with friends or family. Stay tuned and learn how to escape the stresses of life by diving into agriculture! 

In the heart of Brunswick County, dwells a place where peace and comfort can be found. Three generational and women-owned, Greenlands Farm has been centered around agritourism for many years and, today, offers events that are both educational and therapeutic for visitors, including community farm days, farm yoga and animal cuddling.

Throughout the years, farming has been not only a way of life but a source of comfort for the Kelley family. In fact, when times got tough financially or economically, agritourism is what kept the farm afloat and kept the family doing what they love most. “We are caretakers of the land and farm animals as well as small-farm producers with a wealth of knowledge from growing, harvesting, canning, baking, animal husbandry and more,” said Maud Kelley, current owner and operator of Greenlands Farms. “This farm has always been a safe space in the hearts of our family. We feel that our love of nature, agriculture and creation shine through all of the programs and events we offer on the farm today.”

In 2012, the very first event they offered on the farm were tours. These educational tours still take place today and can even encompass a petting farm where a group can experience life on the farm and how to care for a variety of farm animals. Greenlands Farm is home to a mini cow, a herd of Nigerian goats, pigs, horses and a variety of birds.

One of the most popular events offered at Greenlands Farms, in addition to farm yoga, is animal cuddling! Animal cuddling was established in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the entire world was in need of a little peace and love. “The animal cuddling that we offer is a one-on-one private experience with just you and our mini-cow Elsie,” Maud said. “It’s kind of like a private therapy session where all you have to do is love on our sweet cow and relax.”

Elsie is an A-2 producing dairy cow, meaning that often times individuals who cannot normally consume dairy can enjoy her milk without getting sick. In the fall of 2019, Elsie was purchased as a calf and has been a source of comfort and pride for the farm ever since. She loves being led out to the large pasture where she knows she will receive endless cuddles from people across the state. “It really does take the edge off a stressful day,” Maud said.

Not only was cow cuddling appealing to Maud, who cuddles her animals all the time, but the event fit perfectly with their already existing therapeutic programs on the farm and offered the public a sense of relief and relaxation. Animal cuddling sessions last for one-hour and cost $75.

In addition to cow cuddling, Greenlands Farms offers a variety of other events throughout the year, like offsite educational presentations and wine/garden tours. They even have a beautiful barn style venue on site that the public can reserve for special events or weddings! All events must be scheduled in advance through the Greenlands Farm website.

They also have a roadside market/farm stand that is open most Saturdays in the fall and winter as well as most Fridays and Saturdays in the spring and summer where they sell local products made/grown on the farm.

Although her life of farming, agritourism and homeschooling can be hectic, Maud wouldn’t trade anything for the pride that she feels when people come to visit the farm. “It’s so refreshing to stop the forward motion of our lives to share, educate and watch people around us enjoy our home and lifestyle,” she said. “I have always loved this farm and it’s great to see the passion for agriculture that we have start to burst forth in others.” Be sure to check out the Greenlands Farm website and schedule an animal cuddling session or other event at their farm today!