Moooooooooove Over Traditional Camping, time for something different!
Each May my family and I pack up our car with our tents, sleeping bags and gear and head out of our busy Los Angeles life for a weekend of relaxing camping. I’m not talking about your usual camping in the woods, secluded from other people, braving the elements with only what we can carry in our packs. Where we go there are no mosquitos, bears or snakes, oh no! But there are COWS, happy cows who graze every day in lush pastures.
One weekend a year for the past 4 years, the family owned Organic Pastures Dairy (who is celebrating their fifteenth year anniversary!) opens up their fields for a customer appreciation weekend of camping, games, family fun and all the raw milk you can drink (and if you’re my family, it’s a lot!) This year there were 400 people, but you’d never know it, there’s so much space. It’s a two-day event that my family is already looking forward to for next year and we just left!
This year we arrived about 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. It was a perfect, warm afternoon. We picked our site towards the end of the field and started to set up our tents and shade tent as we waited for our friends to arrive. The kids almost immediately took off to the hay maze (next year they will learn to put up the tent… next year) and as their friends arrived they took off as well. The environment is one where the kids are free to run around as they want in the kid zone, or the fields, it’s a time where they get to explore and enjoy the openness of the fields.
After a brief welcome from the owners under a huge tent (filled with lots of seating, a toddlers play area, arts & crafts, refreshments and even a charging station for your phone) we headed back to our area for a relaxing drink and catch up with our friends. The rest of the afternoon was filled with a tractor ride and tour of the farm, a milk chugging contest, a friendly game of Dunk the Dairyman, and my favorite… actually getting to milk a cow named Moolary (she was really adorable!)
VIDEO: Camping with the Cows 2015
After a delicious catered dinner everyone gathered around on blankets and camping chairs under the stars for a movie in the field. We watched A Bug’s Life on a huge outdoor screen with cookies and milk. The kids snuggled in as the temperatures dropped to a lovely cool evening and once the movie was done, some went off to bed and some stayed up for s’mores around the bonfires (you just cannot have camping of any kind without s’mores!) We had a friend with a guitar playing in our group around the bonfire and an evening of fun.
On Sunday morning my kids and I awoke really early. They went off playing as the sunrise overtook the fields. A bit later as more of the campers awoke everyone walked, jogged or rode the tractor to the site where Organic Pastures Dairy just broke ground for a new milk parlor that will open later this year. The owners made a beautiful and emotional talk about their passion for sharing great health and a wonderful product with everyone gathered around. Owners Mark (a former paramedic) and his wife Blaine (a former nurse) spoke of the nutrition, safety and comfort of their customers AND their cows. Their milk goes through third party triple testing and can land in stores and farmer’s markets within 24 hours. They also sell other products like cheese, butter (to die for!), cream and kefir.
After, we headed back to our campsite and started to pack up our site. We played a bit more and reluctantly got back in the car for our drive home. Before heading on the road we stopped at their little store and filled up our cooler with milk, butter and cheese so we could make the coming week a bit more delicious. We headed back home complaining that we only got to spend one night there at that peaceful, fun farm, but knowing our next trip back would only be a year away. Moooooooooo!