As your children are gobbling up their scrambled eggs or chugging their milk, they may not think twice about how their food goes from farm to table. But with a little help from Primrose Farm, they can learn about the process while being a part of it.
Primrose Drop-In Programs give guests a behind-the-scenes experience of farm life circa 1930, as they help milk, groom and feed the farm animals. Offered five days a week through November, the Drop-In Programs welcome all ages to step back in time on this living history farm in St. Charles.
“Participating in Drop-In Programs allows guests to learn first-hand where their food comes from,” said Alison Jones, Manager of Farm Programs and Interpretive Services. “It also provides a unique experience to learn how to care for and interact with the farm animals that call Primrose home.”
Teach your child how milk is produced through Hands-on Milking at 10am every Wednesday and Saturday. A staff member leads the group through the milking process and then turns it over to guests to milk 6-year-old Peanut – the only Jersey cow out of the seven who has had a calf this year, so therefore, is the only one producing milk.
“We’ve had children as young at two years old milk Peanut,” Jones said. “It’s fun to see the excitement on their faces after they’ve been trying and then milk finally comes out.”
Peanut will produce about 3 gallons a day, one gallon of which is given to her calf Ruthie, and at times the milk will be saved for other demonstrations such as butter making. But since Primrose is certified as an education-only dairy farm, the milk is not for human consumption.
Similar to milk, the egg is another staple that children may take for granted. At 11am every Wednesday and Saturday, you can show your farmer-in-training where eggs come from during the Chicken and Egg program. Guests can meet and pet the farm’s Columbian Wyandotte chickens, collect eggs straight from their nest and even take a handful home.
Expect to be greeted by about 80 clucking black and white feathered friends as you enter the chicken coop. But don’t worry, this flock is harmless.
“The chickens are really friendly and don’t bite,” Jones said. “Many times I’ll pick up one of the chickens for the children to pet prior to going into the chicken coop, so they can see first-hand their friendly demeanor.”
On a much larger scale, get up close and personal with the Belgian Draft horses Bob and Doc during Hold Your Horses at 2pm the first and third Saturday of every month. Be prepared to stand in awe at the magnitude of these gentle giants that weigh around 2,000 pounds and stand more than 7 feet high with their head raised.
Learn proper grooming techniques and equine care practices including how to care for their hooves and teeth, and then work a brush through the blonde mane and tail of these two powerful yet mild-mannered horses.
The fee for Hands-on Milking, Chicken and Egg and Hold Your Horses is $5 for residents and $8 for nonresidents.
Feeding opportunities abound on the farm as well. Grab a feeding stick to Feed the Chickens at 10am every Tuesday and Thursday, or Feed the Goats at 1pm every Monday and Wednesday. This fee is only $2 for residents and $4 for nonresidents.
Or maximize your time during Feed the Animals at 2pm every second and fourth Saturday of the month, when you’ll provide meals for the cows, chickens, sheep and goats, while learning about their nutritional needs. The fee for this program is $5 for residents and $8 for nonresidents.
Primrose is located at 5N726 Crane Road in St. Charles. Register on site 15 minutes before your program begins. For more information, visit primrosefarmpark.com or contact Alison Jones at 630-513-4374.