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Milk the cows on vacation? Sure, with a stay on a family farm

June 06, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Guests at Feather Down Farm sleep in sturdy tents with wood stoves and lanterns.
Guests at Feather Down Farm sleep in sturdy tents with wood stoves and lanterns. (Feather Down Farms )

Ready for something different on your family vacation this summer? Feather Down Farms offers authentic farm stays where kids and adults can learn about farm life (yes, there are chores to do) while tent-camping at sites in Illinois, New York and Northern California.

In California, Chaffin Family Orchards in the Sacramento Valley will begin accepting guests in mid-August. The farm raises grass-fed cows, lamb and goats. Its orchards produce olives, oranges, lemons, cherries, plums, figs and other produce year round — fresh fruits that guests may eat.

During the stay, family members can tour fields and gardens, get up to milk the cows, learn to prepare and cook meals on an open-fire stove and even take a dip in a private mountain lake. Other locations include Kinnickinnick Farm in Caledonia, Ill., and Stony Creek Farm in New York's Catskill Mountains.

Guests stay in tents that accommodate up to six people (five adults and one child). Unlike a tent you might camp in, these accommodate up to six people (five adults and one child) with wooden floors, real beds and a flush toilet that. But there's no electricity -- just lanterns to keep the pace of life slow. Stays may be as short as two nights or as long as seven, depending on the location and time of year.

When: Reservations are based on availability.

Price: It varies according to season and length of stay. In summer, rates for all locations run from $565 to $615 for two nights and $665 to $715 for three nights. The price includes the tent, farm activities, bed linens, firewood and use of an outside cooker. Meals (prepared with inexpensively priced fresh ingredients bought at the farm store) are extra.

Info: Feather Down Farms, (716) 226-6323

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