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Retreats & Workshops

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Come learn at the farm!

Discover the Sassafras Farm experience.
All retreats and workshops take place at Sassafras Farm– home of Chickens in the Road–located in the beautiful Appalachian foothills of Roane County, West Virginia, approximately 30 minutes north of Charleston, WV. See 2016 workshop schedule and information below, and email Suzanne at CITRevents@yahoo.com to sign up!

See also: Private Groups & Family Reunions, Corporate Retreats & Company Picnics, and School Groups.

Retreats at the Farm2016 retreats currently OPEN FOR REGISTRATION

Spaces are limited! Sign up to hold yours!

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Taste of Sassafras Farm Workshops

IMG_2139All the fun that can be packed into one day! It is a true “taste of Sassafras Farm” touring you through four popular workshops all in one day. Milk the cow and make mozzarella cheese, grind grain and bake bread, create container candles, and whip up a batch of hot process soap. Yes, you’ll really do all of that in one day–and take it all home along with some great memories! Take-homes include your candle, soap, and bread. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One-day workshop. $125.
Dates:
Saturday, April 23, 2016 (filled)
Saturday, May 14, 2016 (filled)
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016

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Goat Cheese, Soap, Fudge & Ice Cream Workshops

clovermilkstandFrom the barn to the kitchen, this full-day workshop has it all. Learn the basics of selecting and raising dairy goats, along with management, housing, feeding, and milking. Practice hands-on milking a goat then learn how to make your own goat cheese. You’ll also make a batch of goat’s milk soap as you learn the hot process method of soap making, and make your own goat’s milk fudge and ice cream as well as how to make homemade waffle cones, ending your day with your own sweet treat! This day also includes plenty of chances to pet the goats, feed treats, and play with the babies! Take-homes include your own goat’s milk soap. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Breakfast, lunch, and supper are included. One-day workshop. $125.
Dates:
Saturday, April 9, 2016 (filled)
Saturday, April 16, 2016 (filled)
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Saturday, November 19, 2016

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Chicken Processing Workshops

IMG_5327regFrom chick to plate, this full-day workshop has it all. Learn the basics of selecting and brooding chicks, and managing, growing, and housing chickens, along with hands-on poultry processing. Whether you have a small farm or just chickens in your backyard, you’ll gain the experience to provide your own healthy, natural poultry. Included will be slaughtering, scalding, plucking, gutting/cleaning, as well as vacuum packing and pressure canning chicken. Every attendee will leave with their own fully processed bird. We will be processing about 30 chickens on each date. Attendees will also have the opportunity to create a themed craft project of a wooden and wire egg or garden basket. Take-homes include your processed chicken and craft project. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Breakfast, lunch, and supper are included. One-day workshop. $125.
Dates:
Saturday, April 30, 2016 (filled)
Saturday, July 30, 2016

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Hard Cheese Made Easy Workshops

IMG_5757Explore the basic how and why of milk, cultures, rennet, cheese presses (homemade and spring-weighted), as well as resources and education about the basic supplies and equipment to set up a home cheese cave. You will practice hands-on making hard cheese from pot to press along with drying and waxing. Whether you’re thinking of getting your own cow or just want to experience the whole process from barn to kitchen, this retreat is for you. Every attendee will get hands-on practice milking a cow both by hand and by machine and learn to handle fresh milk from filtering to skimming cream. Learn all about handling a cow, breeding, housing, feeding, and managing a calf along with managing a family cow, hands on. Leave with hard cheese demystified and the skills to make your own at home. The cows are waiting for you! 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One-day workshop. $125.
Dates:
Saturday, August 13, 2016

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Celebrate Americana: Art & Baking Workshops

americanaArt in baking meets art on canvas! Artist Kelly Walker of Life of a Daily Painter joins me at the farm to lead painting workshops in which attendees will be guided step-by-step to create primitive style masterpieces, in the Americana theme, on canvas as well as two smaller projects. This is not your average art class. No Experience Required! We’ll provide everything you need: aprons, paint, canvas, brushes, and all other painting supplies. In baking, my Cookies, Cupcakes & Cake Pops retreat goes Americana–learn the fun-filled art of decorating from simple to advanced with cookies, cupcakes, and cake balls, all in summer and patriotic themes. In cookies, learn the different types of royal icing and how to flood, flock, marble, quilt, and brush embroider with icing. In cupcakes, master piping techniques including swirls, ruffles, and rosettes as you practice with a variety of pastry tips. In cake pops, learn the secrets of shaping, dipping, and decorating to create unique treats. Take-homes include your art and baking creations. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. Two-day workshop. $225.
Dates:
Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, June 12, 2016

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Cookies, Cupcakes & Cake Pops Workshops

IMG_6744The fun-filled art of decorating from simple to advanced with cookies, cupcakes, and cake balls. Learn to make your own beautiful, seasonal, and personalized creations using a variety of techniques. In cookies, learn the different types of royal icing and how to flood, flock, marble, quilt, and brush embroider with icing. In cupcakes, master piping techniques including swirls, ruffles, and rosettes as you practice with a variety of pastry tips. In cake pops, learn the secrets of shaping, dipping, and decorating to create unique treats in themes including holidays and animals. Leave with the skills to make gorgeous goodies that look like they came from a bakery! Cookies and cupcakes will be baked ahead so you can decorate all day. Take-homes include your own decorated masterpieces. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One-day workshop. $125.
Dates:
Saturday, July 9, 2016

*****

Soap Making Workshops

homemadesoapCreate your own soaps from scratch using natural ingredients and a variety of methods including cold process, hot process, melt-and-pour glycerin, milk soap, and liquid soap. All five processes will be practiced in class, along with special techniques including swirling and marbling. Learn the basic chemistry of soap, how to use additives and colorants, what is superfatting, and how to calculate safe personalized recipes. You’ll also build your own wood soap mold to take home as well as explore ideas and resources for packaging, gifting, and even selling your creations. Take-homes include some of everything! 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. Two-day workshop. $225.
Dates:
Saturday, July 16 – Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Sassafras Farm Experience

Learn! Find old-time skills and fresh, new methods with in-person mentorship, in-depth and hands-on, at a real working family farm. Take home fun and functional know-how for self-sufficient living and old-fashioned crafting–and take home what you make, too. Every retreat day includes three home-cooked meals from a health department-approved kitchen plus all your instruction, supplies, and take-homes along with an opportunity to milk the cows or goats, visit the chickens, give treats to the animals, and rock on the porch while you watch the calves frolic. All you need to bring is an apron (optional), muck boots (recommended for forays to the barn), and your enthusiasm to learn! Every workshop is HANDS-ON with teacher and milk maid Suzanne McMinn, writer and creator of Chickens in the Road.
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Accommodations are not included. See the Suggested Accommodations page.

Kids are welcome. Sassafras Farm retreats are family-friendly events. School-age children and teens may sign up to attend accompanied by a parent/guardian. (Both children/teens and parents must be paid attendees. Please be a good judge of your child’s maturity, behavior, and interest in the subject matter.)

Location: All workshops take place in the Studio at Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV, about 30 minutes north of Charleston, WV near I-79.

Cost: Cost includes ALL instruction, supplies, three full meals per day plus snacks, and take-homes. One-day retreats are $125 per person. Two-day retreats are $225 per person. A 50 percent downpayment will be required to reserve your place. The remaining balance will be due 30 days before your retreat. If you sign up, please plan to attend. Retreat reservations are nonrefundable. If you can’t attend for some reason, your reservation payment may be applied to another retreat of your choice where there are openings available. (Retreats also make great gifts to friends and family!) And yes, many men attend workshops here!

Sign up! Email Suzanne at CITRevents@yahoo.com with the full name for each attendee to sign up. (You may sign up for a friend if you are coming together.) Payment information will be sent at that time. Directions to the farm and other information will be provided to attendees in advance of the retreat.

Private groups, corporate retreats, and school groups: See information here for Private Groups & Family Reunions or here for Corporate Retreats & Company Picnics or here for School Groups.

Looking forward to seeing you at the farm!

Suzanne McMinn

Email CITRevents@yahoo.com to sign up!
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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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