We took advantage of a day off of school and brought my boys and their best friends on a long, slow drive from Chicago to this farm in Zionsville, Indiana, just west of Indianapolis. These kids are suburban born and bred, and they are all boys, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of their highlights from our visit to Trader’s Point Creamery, an organic dairy farm in central Indiana, was watching a cow pee- and then poop- just feet away from them.Still, there was more to our day than that.Trader’s Point offers self-guided and guided tours around the farm. We opted for a guided tour that was to culminate in a cow parade as the girls were herded into the milking barn from pasture. But, for the first time in the farm’s five-year history, they skipped the afternoon milking session. It was par for the course on our mishap filled day.We had fun and learned a lot though.This relatively small farm is populated by Swiss Brown cows, not the typical black and white Holsteins one normally associates with a dairy. And though it’s hard to say the cows looked “happy” on the cold, damp gray day we visited, the organic grass-fed diet and drug-free lifestyle they lead in open pastures sounds more pleasant than that of many cows. I mean, would you take your child to a feedlot?
After touring the charming rebuilt 19th century barn, which rents out as party space and hosts a weekly farmer’s market on cold winter weekends, we headed out to walk amongst the chickens and the cows. (My son is pictured feeding one of the calves, who were all sheltered.)We noticed mama cows with horns in the pasture, which confused us. We city slickers thought a cow was either blessed with an udder or a pair of horns. It turns out, though, that most farms simply cut and cauterize horns on their females.Next, we headed to the dairy barn where we learned about the milking process without actually seeing it up close and personal. I’m sure it would have been a thrill for the boys, but we had another thrill awaiting us.After heading to the farm store to taste their delicious vanilla drinkable yogurt, we headed up to the dairy bar and restaurant for fresh ice cream. The boys declared it to be among the best they’ve ever had. And why not? They know exactly where it came from.Before leaving the farm I picked up a couple of bottles of chocolate milk which I stowed in a cooler bag to help it survive the long ride home. (Where, I should add, due to its creamy chocolatey goodness, it did not last long.)In retrospect, this day trip would have made an excellent weekend getaway if we combined it with overnight stay in Indianapolis and a visit to their top-rated children’s museum. It was a bit much for a one day trip.After driving roughly seven hours in one day with four boys, I have a greater appreciation for the Nintendo DS Lite. The boys not only played throughout the drive but the DS’s wireless capabilities brought the boys together to compete and sometimes collaborate as they played. Their screen time was more social than expected.And for more farm fun, read my husband’s take on this trip at The Local Beet. And peek at TravelingMom Mara is digging up.Kim also blogs at Hormone-colored Days.