Gather and Feast Farm in La Center features more than the average cow. Instead, the bovines are extra hairy, photogenic and have big personalities that have garnered any number of fans in the area.
The Scottish Highland cows, also known as coos in the old Scottish language, at Mark Lopez’s farm have become popular on social media and in-person, so much so that Lopez reimagined their original job.
“All the animals on the farm, we want them to have at least two jobs,” Lopez said. “The chickens give us eggs and they give us fertilizer. … With the cows, their job was going to be the lawn mowers, the manure makers, and then we were going to raise their offspring for beef.
Since having Scottish Highland coos, they’ve got so much personality, and they are such a big attraction on the farm here, that we’ve decided that Instagram is a much better job for them than beef.”
Chewy and Rosie, the two senior Highlands at Lopez’s farm, have provided a few offspring over the years that Lopez has sold to other farms for their own breeding programs.
“Everybody just seems to love the Highland coos here, from folks that are familiar with them and others that are just like, ‘Wow, what are those?” Lopez said while feeding one of his cows Chewy an apple. “I mean especially this guy. He’s just so handsome and has that humongous head on him.”
Lopez added that Chewy has become popular among people familiar with Highland cows who are in awe of his build.
Anytime the cows make an appearance on Gather and Feast Farms’ social media pages, Lopez said the post’s views fly through the charts and “people share it like crazy.”
People are invited to visit the farm and take self-guided tours of the grounds by following a map located at the farm stand, Lopez added.
The Highland cows enjoy roughly six acres of land that they mow and fertilize. Joining Chewy and Rosie are two “youngins.” Lopez intends to breed Coco, a mix of a black and blonde Highland, with Chewy when the time is right. The second “youngin,” an offspring of Chewy and Rosie, will ultimately be sold for breeding.
Lopez hosts events at Gather and Feast Farm, as well, which are another way for people to enjoy the Highland coos and build a closer farm-to-table connection, he said.
He can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and by calling 360-768-3323.
Lopez encourages area residents with pumpkins, no matter what time of year, to bring them to the farm as they provide a food source for his pigs, chickens and cows.
He said they love to eat up the pumpkins, even through January.
Lopez added that he makes judgment-free social media posts into January as sort of a last call for anyone with pumpkins.
Gather and Feast Farm is open from 12 noon to 6 p.m. daily at their farm stand, 2706 NE 369th St. in La Center. People can also see the Highland cows on the farm’s Instagram and Facebook pages and online at gatherandfeastfarm.com.