Sunday, March 25, 2012

Road Trip- Bravo Farms Cheese Factory

Cruising along the 99 freeway on our way to get beehives, we took the Merritt Dr. exit for a bite to eat in the small farming community of Traver, California.  

We saw a small and interesting series of buildings from the freeway and wanted to get a closer look.  Man am I glad we did.  We stumbled upon a hidden jewel... the Bravo Farms Cheese Factory and Cafe 99

The cheese aging room and the 99 Cafe are located in adjacent rooms.    Look at all that wonderful aged cheese.  

There's a great view from every window inside.   You can watch the cheesemakers at work.  Below the windows you can see there were many interesting distractions like picture frames made from aged barn wood and wrought iron garden decorations.

Back outside, the entire building facade is decorated in vintage signage and antiques.   From the freeway it resembled a scene from a Disneyland set...  Walking about I felt as though I were walking backwards in time...

The food at the cafe was wonderful.  BBQ!  The decor inside was 50s themed.  The walls were completely covered by replica vintage signage.  Sorry, no pictures from in there.  my fingers were covered in bbq... 

There was a great gift shop and it was bursting with tasty local valley farm products.  Everything from dried fruit and nuts to dates and handicrafts.  Tables of packaged candy framed the center wall.  It was a rainbow of sugar, all kinds.  

I was amazed by what they managed to fit in there. So many neat and unique gift ideas and Bravo Farms packaged cheese...

LOTS of free samples too!

Back outside again and we found a covered wagon.  My hubby is a sucker for a good wagon...  

At the other end of the building we almost ran into this adorable little wagon for the kiddies.  

It still works too.  

We watched a few little ones channel their best John Wayne and Roy Rogers as their parents took turns snapping pictures and popping quarters inside the hungry little machine.  I got tired just watching the tykes...  and they sure were having a blast.

We eventually managed to find this giant atrium courtyard and that was the best part of all, for me.  

You know how I like farm animals... They have LOTS of animals.  It was a veritable petting zoo.

There were pygmy goats and turkeys, and a pair of amazon parrots too.

Then we found an enclosure with two of the cutest mini donkeys, Fiona and Shrek.  
Next to the roadway lies a wonderful little farmer's Market full of local citrus.  

I got my favorite- Cuties... 

while Jerry fell in love with their plumelos.  

They're like giant grapefruit, but much sweeter.

 My favorite "room" in the whole place was the hen house.

You heard me right.

I fell in love with their chicken coop.  I could write a post just about that coop.  It was awesome.  Maybe I will later...
Jerry had a blast climbing up into their AMAZING three story high tree house... That was not for me though, I am afraid of heights.  I kept my feet firmly planted on the ground and took a few pictures...

 We stopped for one last hurrah next to this old milk delivery truck that came from the Owens Valley, where Jerry grew up.  We had a great time, a fun meal, and enough laughs for a week.  All at this little place we'd never seen or heard of before.  If you find yourself on the 99 freeway between Fresno and Bakersfield, consider a pit stop and check out Bravo Farms and Traver, California.

I am linking this post to these fun hops this week-
Kelly Morris' brand new Homesteader Blog Carnival HERE
Tiffany's Garden Life hop at No Ordinary Homestead
and Jill, Kendra, and Amy for The Homestead BARN Hop!


  1. I love the place, they have awesome chipotle cheese! Everyone we are heading bake to Bakersfield from a trip up. Orth (1-2 times a year) we stop there! Oh yes their chicken coop is great! And many things to look at while walking around or just sitting outside!

    1. Oh goodness please forgive the many typos and spelling errors! My phone was auto correcting and causing issues! ;)

    2. You're right it is delicious. I couldn't find a cheese there that I didn't like. It was so much fun just looking at everything. It was almost overwhelming. I know that I missed so many things. I just didn't have enough time to really enjoy it all. Now that I know that it's there, I'll be sure to make more time for my next trip. Have a great week.

  2. How amazing! I carry their business card in my wallet. We live in Texas and have been married for 10 1/2 years. When we were just married for a couple of years, we took probably 2 trips out to CA. As we drove through the valley, we found this place. The Chipolte Cheese was one of our favorites. We also loved the dark chocolate covered almonds. Just thought is was real neat b/c that will always be on our stop should be ever return to that part of the country.

    1. Wow! Isn't it a small world? You'll be happy to know that they are expanding. They told us they are building a new Bravo Farms Cheese Factory and gift shop on the other side of the valley at Kettleman's City on interstate 5 and a steak house too. It's due to open next year. We are excited and anxious to go to the steak house. Their BBQ recipes are fantastic. I hope you two can make it out this way again and enjoy more of that chipotle cheese. Have a great week.

  3. That looks like an awesome place and a fun field trip! Thanks for sharing all the pictures.

    1. Hi Donna,
      It was so much fun. We will be going back...

  4. What a fun place! Thanks for taking us on a tour! :)

    1. You are so welcome Candy. I am glad you stopped by. Have a great week.

  5. It was a nice tour, something for everybody and fun had by all...thank you for taking us along with you, & also for stopping at my place, it's so nice to receive comments and meet new people. Thank you

    1. Thanks Faith. It is great to make new blog friends. Have a great week.

  6. That just looks like too much fun! I do hope you post about the chicken coop!

    1. I am working on it Susie... Thanks for hopping by. Have a GREAT week ahead.

  7. Hi Heidi! This place is like Disneyland for farmgirls ( and boys ) !!!
    So fun... That chicken coop is a hoot... I know you two will come up with something just as creative, if not more so! You are a great team!
    Have a great week... I don't have anything to link up but wanted to stop by and see what you were up too!


My email address is