Last summer, I had the opportunity to spend some time in Kansas City. Aside from spending time becoming acquainted with a great guy, I made myself useful and photographed Food Now—a fun, festive foodie event held in the city’s West Bottoms. Turns out, one of my images from that evening now graces the cover of Edible Kansas City. On the back cover is a Food Now photograph, advertising this year’s event.
A big shout out and thank you to Tamara at EdibleKC for making this happen!
Anyone who drives between Indianapolis and Chicago should know well the billboards advertising Fair Oaks Dairy Farm that sideline I-65. I’ve personally driven past the exit for Fair Oaks Farms a countless number of times, always with a thought in my mind to stop and visit. Two weekends ago, I finally made good on that thought.
Located in northwest Indiana, this dairy farm is the “largest agritourism destination in America.” Large doesn’t even begin to describe Fair Oaks Farm. And “agritourism” is somewhat a misnomer, too. In reality, the farm is a massive cow-themed amusement park focused on enticing families (and, more importantly, their kids) to dairy heaven.
There is plenty that could be said of this expansive enterprise, but several resources (see “Further Reading” below) give fair account of what you might expect to see—and feel—if you were to visit Fair Oaks Farm. For now, I’ll simply allow my images give you a visual sneak peak.
Have you visited Fair Oaks Farm? Share your experience in the comments.
- For a take on this King of Agritourism, check out Roadside America’s review.
- To understand the economic value of farms like Fair Oaks, read this 2012 article by the American Enterprise Institute.
- To read how Fair Oaks Farm compares to a small Vermont dairy farm, read Barry Estabrook’s comments from The Atlantic.
Cows enter the milking rotunda, are hooked up to a milking machine, and take a circular ride. The milking machine automatically falls off the udder when there is no more milk. At the end of the “ride,” cows enter back into the barn.
Behind the main Visitor’s Center at Fair Oaks Farm is a well-manicured “amusement park” arena, complete with games, gardens, and go-karts. On the right, a large cow welcomes visitors to the “Birthing Barn.”
A baby (female) heifer sits in her shelter outside the main barns at Fair Oaks Farm in Northwest, Indiana. The baby cows stay in these pens for two years after which they are brought in with the larger herd and bred.
More games and kid-friendly attractions fill the Visitor’s Center at Fair Oaks Farm. Kid-centric media (playing on large screens on the milk carton in back) inform kids why drinking milk is important.