Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Dairy Adventure

My husband and I are quite familiar with the stretch of Highway 65 from Indianapolis to Chicago. We used to drive it all the time in order to see each other over the weekend when we were in a long distance relationship. When it was only one of us in the car, we'd be in a beeline to get to the other; high efficiency travel. Now that we are married, though, and most likely traveling together, we've allowed ourselves to take in the surroundings.

And we found FairOaks Farm, right off Highway 65, in the middle of are we there yet Indiana. 

As you pull in, the sign reads "FairOaks Farms : A DAIRY ADVENTURE". You understand why we had to try this place!
The "Udder Heights" Climbing Wall
The facility operates on a HUGE dairy farm. A dairy museum tour is available for a small fee; there are milk, cheese, and cow themed playgrounds (Including the Dairy Air jumping pillow and String Cheese Maze). The actual cheese making is visible through glass walls of the gift shop and restaurant during week days. Oooh the restaurant; farm fresh ice-cream, cheese samples, and simple, homemade (down to the cheese and bread itself) grilled cheese sandwhiches. Heaven on earth.

After eating, we picked up some smoked gouda...

Not a whole $500 dollar wheel though. Just a wedge for us.

The real adventure of FairOaks Farms, is the birthing barn; where cows go to give birth. There are two stalls full of hay, and one-way glass on one side to allow the audience to watch. On the path to the barn is this stoplight : 
It's a (83lb.) Girl!
Nope, Hooves, and Head! Illuminated to let the crowd know when to come inside and watch a baby cow pushed out by her mother. Sorry I didn't get a "Head" photo...we wanted to watch! The poor cow mother made me both proud and horrified to death as a fellow female. However, as the cow babies are born every 30min to an hour (they must have so many cows!), it made me feel amazed watching such and important part of the lifecycle. It was my first live birth experience of any kind.

Any combination of dairy and adventure is bound to be a positive experience, but FairOaks Farm was a real treat...especially in the middle of a multi-hour drive. The food is phenomenal, the education is experiential not cheesy (haha, okay it is cheesy in a literal way), and the setting is really very beautiful.

FairOaks Farm Cheeses
Lesson from FairOaks Farms...if you see something intriguing from the road...STOP! You might get eat fresh farm foods!...or see cow innards.

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