Saturday 9 December 2006

Milk in your coffee?

The drive from Springfield to Chicago is a long one - made even longer with two small children in the back. The drive through Indiana was particularly painful because Indiana is particularly boring - to look at from the car I mean. I'm sure it's great when you get to know it.

Obviously we needed to take breaks to give little legs a run and big ears a rest from 'Ten Green Bottles'. But we didn't just want to make a McStop somewhere.

And then, 14 miles before we arrived at it, a huge sign on the side of the freeway advertised Fair Oak Farms. Also on the sign was the promise of gourmet coffee so we decided that was the place for us. Would you believe it? The gourmet coffee being served was Starbucks. But that's not the real reason why Fair Oak Farms gets a mention.

Before discovering the large and mostly empty cafe area and gift shop (I think they get more people in the summer) we went into the Adventure Centre. The lady at the reception desk, after pointing me in the direction of the toilets, told me a little about the experience. Fair Oak Farms is one of the largest dairy farms in the USA. You can go on a tour around the farm and see the cows, taste the milk, watch cheese being made, that sort of thing. But the highlight of the tour is a visit the the Birthing Barn where you can watch a cow being born. Now, not having much bovine knowledge, I enquired (slightly sarcastically) into the chances of seeing a real birth. If I'm paying $7 for the tour I want to see some action! I was stunned to hear that the farm has 30,000 cows. On average 80 are born every day! (I didn't ask how many died every day and what happened to them - 'cos of the kids, you understand).

Unfortunately we only had time for a gourmet coffee and a milkshake, but I can't wait to get back to Indiana one day.

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