A Day on the Farm (Jordandal Farm, that is)
I can’t believe a full week has passed since REAP’s Day on the Farm… wow, how time flies in this busy summer season!
On Sunday, 20 June 2010 my friend and co-worker Elyse (pictured below) and I went to Jordandal Farm to work at REAP Food Group’s first Day on the Farm fundraiser. Both of us work for REAP’s Farm to School program as nutrition educators and general farm to school handy ladies. I coordinated activities for the kids’ tent and in return for our labor we got to spend one glorious afternoon playing on a really cool WI farm.
This was my first trip to Jordandal Farm, though I have eaten quite a few of their delicious meat products. In my mind Jordandal is synonymous with really amazing thick cut bacon, best served at brunch. Their name graces the menus of many restaurants that I absolutely adore. Most importantly, I know Jordandal treats the animals that eventually become my food very well, raising them on pasture and giving them a good life. Last Sunday I got to see for myself exactly how good a life.
It was the perfect weather, sunny and hot, blue skied with fluffy white clouds. Elyse and I rode on winding state highways and meandering back roads lined with oodles of wild flowers. Roadside wildflowers are one of my favorite things in life. A month ago, when Emily and I went up to Door County, the roads were surrounded by bright yellow flowers, with bright orange lilies and occasional bursts of white. Now there were lots of purples and blues interspersed by white queen anne’s lace. It’s another gorgeous reminder of the changing seasons, another reason to look forward to what lies ahead while enjoying what is currently here. There’s always something new and exciting.
The time we spent on the farm was a blur of face painting, vermicompost demos (kids can never get enough of worms!), hula hooping, and painting rocks. Toward the end of the day, as kids started to be packed up into cars for the drive back home, Elyse and I took some time to explore. We met big brown cows, some up on a hill and some coming in for water. We swooned over a baby calf, just 5 days old, with the biggest eyes I have ever seen. We saw hogs and chickens, and lots of green green pasture. We sampled cheese and ate a delicious meal, prepared by chefs from the Madison Club. All in all, it was a fantastic day. Here are some highlights:
Carefully painting cheeks with farm themes (with some exceptions, including a much coveted rendition of Justin Bieber. It’s a good thing the little gal was already wearing a shirt with his picture on it, since neither Elyse nor myself had any idea what he looked like.)
The rock painting station.
Cheese, glorious cheese, made out of milk from Jordandal dairy cows.
The aforementioned Dairy Cows.
Where cheese comes from:
I love the little cow you can see peeking through the crowd.
The baby calf! Just 5 days old! Mama cow was watching us very closely, but was OK with us giving her little boy some love.
He was soft and warm and very sleepy after a big meal. I have to say though… 5 days?!? Calves are massive! Well done mama cow!
They are also cute like little fawns…
We also saw chickens, who actually made me kind of angry. I know in my mind that chickens are extremely hierarchical, and that they can be totally awful when they maintain their structure. I didn’t quite realize how nasty though until I saw some poor little chickens missing nearly all of their feathers, since they fellow fowls had literally pecked them off (now we know where the phrase “pecking order” comes from.) Boo! Seeing those poor featherless chicks try to groom the dozen or so plumes they had left nearly broke my heart. Ironically enough, they were much MUCH bigger than the other chicks in the pen. Some of my chicken romanticism definitely wore off on this trip.
All in all though, it was a wonderful day! I was so hot and tired by the end that I didn’t retain nearly as much detail as I wanted to… I hope I made up for it with pictures. I can’t wait for the next day I get to spend on a farm!
What about you? When were you last on a farm? Have any favorite places? Stories to share? I’d love to hear them!