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Dakin Dairy Farm
Dakin Dairy Farm
Our “Trip on a Tank” this month took us down to Myakka City to visit the Dakin Dairy Farm.
This locally-owned, fully operational dairy farm is a great place to spend a fun and educational day with the family. Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive activities, and they will learn something in the process!
Our day began with an old fashioned hayride through the farm. The kids loved seeing the birthing area and the “nursery” area for the newborn calves. We also enjoyed seeing the fields of fresh grass and the huge mounds of pickled grass and other food sources that make up a nutritious diet for the farm’s 1,400 cows.
At the end of the hayride, Farmer Dwayne took us down to the barn where the goats, pigs, turkeys, and guinea hens are housed. It was here that we had the unique pleasure of watching the piglets race. Three-year-old Haylee picked the green pig (of course the pig was actually pink, but he had a big green spot on his back to identify him), and was thrilled when he pulled out the win.
After the pig race, we pulled out the giant milk bottles and the kids got to feed some of the baby calves. Fourteen-year-old David was allowed to go into the pen and lead the calves over to the fence to be fed. He thought that was really great until they emptied the bottles and started looking to him to give them more milk. One of the calves gave his arm a big, slobbery “kiss” which didn’t impress him very much!
Next, we enjoyed a walking tour of the barns and the milk bottling facility. The freestyle barns house hundreds of cows, several of whom came over to the fence to greet us as we arrived. Just around the corner from the freestyle barn is the milking barn, where each cow is milked by machine three times a day after being cleaned with high-pressure revolving shower heads. Once the milking is complete (it takes about 5 minutes), the cows are weighed and returned to the barn or the pasture.
Just inside the building next to the milking area, we watched the pasteurization, homogenization, and bottling process through large picture windows. Then a short video about the pasteurization process completed the tour.
A picnic lunch of hot dogs and s’mores cooked over a fire pit followed. Then the kids spent some time playing in the hay mazes, playground, and sand pile while mom and dad relaxed in the shaded courtyard area. The ten-foot-high sand pile was a hit with nine-year-old Daniel who filled his hair and clothes with sand by repeatedly rolling down the hill as fast as he could!
Finally, a trip to the Farm Market for some farm-fresh chocolate milk and ice cream concluded our fun and exciting day on the farm. Everyone knows that milk comes from cows. But if you’ve ever wondered how exactly the milk gets from the cows to your refrigerator, you’ll love finding out first-hand at the Dakin Dairy Farm.
Come “support your local farmer” and enjoy a 45 minute most informative tour of our dairy. Watch the cows being milked, and follow the milk trail into the Milk Plant where you will see the process of pasteurization and the bottling of our own “Farm Fresh” milk. You may also take a hayride a little deeper into the farm to complete your “farm experience”. It’s a really awesome tour with top shelf tour guides. Visit www.dakindairyfarms.com for more information.
Did you know...
Dairy Fun Facts and Trivia
Things to do while at the farm
Did you know...
that milk from a fresh grass diet contains CLA’s - nature’s own cancer inhibitor, enhanced levels of “healthy fats,” natural digestive benefits, the best source of natural beta-carotene AND a naturally fresh sweet taste?
The Dakin family has been milking cows in Manatee County, Florida since 1973. Cameron, Farren and Jerry Dakin own the three remaining dairy farms in the County, and are amongst the fewer than 150 dairies remaining in Florida.
In 2008 the Dakins designed and added a farm tour path, a farm fun play area under our incredibly gorgeous oak hammock, and a milk bottling facility which opened in March of 2009. Dakin Dairy Farms is the only milk bottler in Florida that can offer the rare treat of experiencing fresh milk 100% produced and bottled right on the farm.
Gulf Coast Family Publications - Encouraging families along the Gulf Coast in Pinellas County