By Guest Blogger Sandy Harper
Did you know that cows do not have upper teeth? How about, that the real meaning of heifer is a cow that has never given birth? This is just the start of the interesting information you and kiddos learn when you take a tour at Homeland Creamery.
The moment we arrived we were greeted by helpful, smiling folks. Depending on your arrival time, you with either start with a farm tour or a hayride. No matter how you start your day, you will leave with increased knowledge and respect for a dairy farm. Moreover, you’ll get a tasty treat at the end!
Our tour guide was the sweet and patient Ms. Ferne. She skillfully was able to keep the attention and interest of all age levels. She was ready with answers for my inquisitive five year old and myself. In addition, she was great at kindly warning kids and parents of things they shouldn’t do, such as touching certain dirty areas.
Our personal tour started with the calf pen. These sweet babes were a favorite of the kids. They were so cute in their over-sized doghouses. Plus, they enjoyed showing off their long tongues as they chewed on anything they could get in their mouths. It reminded me of my eight month old!
From there, we headed over to their simulation cow, which was lovingly named “Miss Betty.” It is a great tool to show how milk is actually obtained. Ms. Ferne showed us the device they attach to utters to milk them without actually having to physically milk each cow. This is a huge time saving device. With hundreds of cows, it would be almost impossible to milk each individual cow by hand.
Next stop on the tour was at the large barn that held a great majority of the cows. They called it the cow spa! Here the cows ate, relaxed and enjoyed the fans and open air breezes. However, beware of the numerous flies in that area. But honestly, did you really expect to not see flies where cows live?!?
The hayride was next on our agenda. You had a choice to sit on hay bales (in the middle) or the benches that lined both sides of the wagon. I was impressed by the smoothness of the ride. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the expert tractor driver that so kindly pulled us along. He also took in consideration the heat and would pause under shady areas periodically. During these pauses Ms. Ferne would talk to us about different aspects of the farm or interesting facts about the cows. We saw and learned about the pregnant cows, the food they grow for the cows and so much more. You have to visit to find out all the other cool facts.
After unloading from the hayride we gathered around the well shaded picnic area. We all received a cup of the Homeland Creamery homemade ice cream. Flavors given vary on the day. From what I tasted and from the comments of others, you cannot go wrong with any of their flavors.
On site is a small shop, where you can get more ice cream by the cup or cone. You can also buy their ice cream by the pint or half gallon. In addition, they sell their milk, cheese, meat from other local farms, t-shirts and cuddly stuffed cows.
Their website gives more information about their farm’s start, natural farm practices, hosting birthday parties and so much more. The cost is $7 (plus tax) per person, above the age of 2. To set up a tour, all you need is to fill-out a quick form on their site. Then someone will call you to set-up a time. They can accommodate small to large group sizes.
Here are a few tips that I personally would like to know ahead of going:
- It is in the middle of farmland, which means not a lot of restaurants, so pack a lunch, drinks and snacks.
- They have a nice shaded picnic area with picnic tables.
- Do not roll in on an empty gas tank, like I did. There was luckily one small gas station a few miles away.
- Wear sunscreen, you’ll find yourself in many sunny spots.
- It is all outdoors, so dress appropriately for the weather.
- They have port-a-johns for restrooms. Though, they were very clean and they have a hand washing station next to them.
- The parking area was small, right in front of their store. Someone there showed us where to park, so that we didn’t block anything.
I think my favorite take away from this trip was learning that the best way to get great milk is by having happy cows. To make happy cows you need to feed them good food and show them love. That makes such simple, heartwarming sense. If you are looking for a fun and educational outing, then Homeland Creamery is a must see!
To see other Day Trip ideas, CLICK HERE!
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