November might be popularly known for its stachy health awareness month, but there’s another Moovember I can get by: a visit to the dairy farm.
The fine folks at Avalon Dairy invited our family for a visit to the EcoDairy Farm in Abbotsford last weekend and we just had to milk the opportunity to do so. We love farms and animals, and are huge fans of Avalon Dairy products. [P.S. Their incredible seasonal eggnog is available now. Go get some.]
Have you ever heard of food traceability? At a time when awareness of how and where our food is produced has taken center stage, it’s become a growing feature among items available in the market, reassuring consumers of their quality. Avalon is at its forefront in the dairy industry and is the home of BC’s first traceable milk—Avalon milk can be traced back to the EcoDairy Farm and its partners. How amazing is that?
Now which cows gave us the fatty whole milk we just enjoyed for breakfast? Hmm…
These mostly-Holsteins, part-Holstein crossbreed and Jersey Girl cows are fed a well-balanced diet, 85% of which is grown right in their farm. It is a healthy blend of food with Vitamins A, D, and omegas. This makes them belch 25% less, too. TMI, I know, but it’s good information. That’s less methane (a greenhouse gas) going to the environment. Hurray.
They get prime accommodations with a free stall system, designed with the shape and movement of cows in mind, providing optimum comfort. A stall is cushioned with a Pasture Mat made of recycled car tires and a waterproof jelly-filled mattress cover, a combination that is soft for cows and at the same time improves their circulation, giving them a better resting time. They need the extra help because these ladies can get as heavy has 1500lbs when they’re fully grown. Imagine that weight without extra support. Ouch.
Cows get milked whenever they wish. They can access this robotic milking machine individually when they are ready. They get cleaned, given a treat, examined for diseases, and then milked. If there’s any indication that they are unwell, the machine sends a text message to the stall manager about their condition and their milk is discarded and never reaches the clean batch. If the cow comes back for milking less than eight hours since its last milk-in, the robot knows to just give it a treat and lead it back out. Sorry, that’s too soon. It’s an impressive machine that does a lot of things, even detecting udders by laser!
Families and groups alike will have a great visit to EcoDairy. You can even host parties at a separate area in the second floor where kids can play at the a-Moo-sing Moozanine area. This is where we had the reception for our tour group.
The Interactive Discovery Centre outside the dairy area is a lot of fun, too. You can try your hand at milking an udder (without harming a real cow) and you can even try the brush that cows enjoy using for neck and side rubs. There are several little activities here that the whole family will enjoy. Go ahead and weigh yourself and a few family members to see if you can weigh as much as a cow!
Huge thanks to our tour partners and sponsors :
Avalon Dairy – hands down the best milk in town. I use their products for everything—creamiest caramels, dreamy buttercream, baking, etc.
EcoDairy – Fantastic dairy farm. Need I say more?
Jilly V’s Their nutrition-packed Jumpstarter combination contains organic yogurt, oats, organic chia and low sugar fruit compote.
Taves Farm for their fresh produce. We took home some peppers and tomatoes to go with some pasta—really good.
Tracycakes Bakery Cafe Tasty baked goods. Be sure to check out their two (adorable) locations.
Nature’s Pickin’s – A gem of a grocery store that we visit whenever we’re in Abbotsford.
P.S. You might find goats on the roof of the petting zoo adjacent to the dairy farm while you’re at the parking lot. No biggie.