A visit to Pinkie's Farm
A visit to Pinkie’s dairy farm was a delight! I admit, coming from Switzerland, it was a bit hard to cough up the money to pay for a tour of a dairy farm when you can easily visit one for free in Switzerland. It was even harder for my American husband who grew up milking goats as a chore. But recently a teacher asked my 4-year-old who was born here, where does milk come from? And she answered, “I don’t know.” It got me thinking I should probably take my kids to this dairy farm that I had heard about for some first-hand learning and experience, to show where the UHT milk we buy from the shelf in the supermarket actually comes to be. Well, this visit to the cows at Pinkie’s farm was perfect for that. (And side note, the milk from Pinkie’s is not UHT, but fresh and only pasteurized).
Pinkie’s is a family farm in Lipa, Batangas. It takes about 90 minutes from Manila to get there. It is one of four dairy farms in the province of Batangas. It started in 2009 with 3 cows, and now there are about 130 cows (53 of them being lactating cows, 2 of them bulls, and the rest being young calves who are still growing).
Pinkie’s farm has monthly or bi-monthly open tours on Saturdays where you can bring your family or group and pay 350 pesos each. See their FaceBook page or Instagram page to find out when these are. Or you can schedule a private tour on a different day, but there’s just a minimum cost of 3500 pesos that has to be paid. If you are a group of 10 then, that’s the same as the price for an open tour. Pinkie’s farm also accommodates school and large group field trips. See their website for this. Alternately, you can contact Jessan at 09561042665 for queries.
We booked a private tour for our family of 7 and some friends, that started at 11am. (I think 10am is more ideal to coincide with cow feeding times).
The tour starts at the farmhouse where you get a history of the farm, and a demonstration of how to make pastillas from Pinkie’s fresh milk. The kids loved rolling out the dough and wrapping the pastillas themselves, with the help of the super sweet staff. We also got a taste of Pinkie’s products (which we have had before, and they are delicious). Pinkie’s fresh milk tastes divine, and the kids loved sipping cups of their strawberry yogurt and chocolate milk and sampling their kesong puti.
You then go to the barn, passing pastures of different kinds of grass. You learn a lot on the way, like how 1 cow requires 1 hectare of grass to feed on. Pinkie’s is 23 hectares big, so brings in grass from outside to feed it’s approximately 130 cows. In the learning area, we learned about cows, pregnancy and how milk is produced. Our tour guide, Mike, was great at answering all our further questions. We learned the steps in cow milking- then washed our hands and got to try milking the cows ourselves (after first learning how to tell if the milk is good and not contaminated by mastitis/infection in the udder).
We got to feed grass to the 53 milking cows which was an exciting but intimidating experience for my younger kids--- those cows, whose heads were half the size of our kids, were scrambling for their share of grass!
Then came our favorite part of bottle-feeding the calves who are 2 to about 12 months old. This experience was so endearing for us all, and these “baby cows” stole our hearts. A baby cow drinks 4 liters of milk a day. They guzzled these 2L bottles of milk down in seconds. We also got to feed them grass.
We spent two hours in the tour and came away enamored by cows, and knowing a lot more about where the milk we drink comes from.