Just yesterday, my family and I went to visit a new-to-me dairy farm in Bolton, Connecticut.
I first heard about this farm from one of our readers (thanks Mia!) and then heard about it again when the Lutz Children’s Museum held a fundraising event there a few weeks ago.
So, on this beautiful Monday (when we were actually completely out of milk at our house) it seemed like the perfect time to head to a dairy farm.
As you can see from the picture above, the name of the farm is Fish Family Farm and, just like the name implies, it is owned by the Fish family.
It took us about 25 minutes to get there from West Hartford. Prior to hearing about this farm, I had never heard of Bolton, Connecticut. I really had no idea where it was located. So, in case you are in the same boat as me, Bolton is located off 384 near Manchester. Here is a little map with Bolton marked by the pin drop.
The farm itself was very easy to find. We just plugged the address into our GPS and were led straight there. No issues. Here is the sign you will see at the entrance to the farm.
The drive up is very pretty with rolling hills, wandering cows, and a little duck pond. The farm isn’t very large. So don’t expect your visit to be an all day outing, but there is plenty to keep the wee ones busy for an hour or so.
When you arrive, just head all the way down the road til you reach the retail store and you can park right in front.
We went inside the retail store first to find out all the details on what to do at the farm.
We were there on a Monday which is the day that they process and bottle the milk for the week. Right when you walk in the store there is a big glass wall where you can see the bottling being done. We learned from the person who was running the store (who is the eldest Fish grandson) that Mr. Fish (his grandfather) was the one doing all the bottling.
The dairy store is pretty small inside, but they have lots of goodies available for purchase. You can obviously get a variety of dairy products straight from the Fish Family Farm cows including: regular milk, chocolate milk, heavy cream, cheese, and ice cream. They also sell eggs produced by chickens on the farm and they offer some products from other local farms including honey from a farm in Tolland and sauces and condiments from the Country Butcher which is also based out of Tolland.
The milk is sold by the half gallon and comes in glass containers. At first I thought the prices were ridiculously high ($5/half gallon) but then I found out that there is a $2 bottle deposit (FYI, the website lists the bottle deposit as $1.50, but it is currently $2). So, basically, the milk is $3/half gallon,which is much more reasonable (I guess I could have just read the sign!) Later, as we were sitting outside the store, we saw lots of people pull up, carry their old bottles inside and walk out with their fresh milk. Also, make sure you bring cash with you, all purchases are CASH ONLY.
There is also ice cream for sale. You can either order a cup or a cone or buy a pint to take home. The nice person helping us with our ice cream selection told me they were making a coffee ice cream with heath bar, I wanted that kind very badly, but it wasn’t for sale quite yet. Below is a chalkboard listing of their current flavors. The website has a listing of flavors too, but it is not 100% accurate. Also, they will be changing out to their fall flavors soon which will include the coffee ice cream plus other fun flavors like apple pie and pumpkin.
After watching the milk being bottled and scouting out the store, we were ready to go check out some cows, or “moo moo’s” as the twins like to call them. Before heading out, I got the scoop on the cow situation. There are over 70 cows on the property, including 24 that were currently being milked and 7 that were calves. The calves were located in the barn which is to your left as you head out of the store and there were some cows in the field behind the barn as well.
We headed out the door and to the barn. It had that good old cow farm smell 🙂
There is a sign in the store stating that kids should not be sent into the barn unsupervised. That is an important point. While the kids can certainly go into the barn and explore it and the rest of the farm, you do want to keep a close eye on them.
Inside the barn we found the calves and what we are assuming is the mama.
After saying hi to the calves and mamma cow, we went out back to see the cows in the field. Now, the only rule that Mr. Fish in the retail store mentioned to us was, do not cross any fences or gates. Other than that, it was ok to explore on our own.
There were about a dozen cows out back. Bruiser was very comfortable feeding grass to the cows, Sparkles on the other hand was totally freaked out by the Moo Moos.
After visiting with the cows, we took a peek at the chicken coop which is located on the other side of the retail store.
Then took a break on the swing.
Then we went to the fields across from the retail store to see the geese and did a little more wandering around the property. Pretty soon the kids had done enough running around and had worked up an appetite. I had brought lunch for them and we found a picnic bench under a nice shady tree where they could sit and eat.
Before we sat down, though, we wanted to get washed up after all the animal petting we performed earlier. I was happy to find out that they did have a public restroom available. It was located right inside the barn and was surprisingly clean.
Just go through this door on the side of the barn.
I just have to share a few pictures of Bruiser eating. How can eating a giant bowl of green peas make one kid so happy?
First up, everyone got ice cream and enjoyed it out on the store’s front porch. They even had a little picnic table for the kids.
The kids got the “kid scoop” and I got the “one scoop”. They looked about the same size to me. Next time I might ask that the kids get a much smaller “scoop” of ice cream. They couldn’t eat it all and just made a huge mess. But it was a tasty mess for sure.
Before we left, we bought a few half gallons of milk for home. Milk out of a glass bottle. Yum!
Fish Family Farm
20 Dimock Lane, Bolton, Connecticut
Get directions here:
- Closed on Sundays
- Milking hours are Mondays 6-8am and 4-6pm
- Store hours (and self guided barn tour hours) are 8am – 8pm
- Ice cream counter hours are 11am – 8pm
Hints & Tips:
- The restroom is located in the barn. Just access it through the door on the side of the barn (no baby changing table)
- You could probably manuever around the property with a jogging stroller if you needed too. I carried baby girl in a baby bjorn for our trip and the twins walked on their own.
- Bring CASH. No credit cards or checks are accepted.
- Bring lunch for the kids and enjoy it on one of the outdoor picnic tables.
- If you want to watch the milk being bottled, go on a Monday.
- If you want to watch the cows being milked, go super early or in the evening.
- I would suggest the kids wear long pants if at all possible. To access the field behind the barn, there is some very tall grass the kids could easily find themselves walking through.
- The retail store has milk, heavy cream, ice cream, cheese, eggs, honey and other goodies available for sale.
Coming up: Check back in on Thursday for details on Shawna’s outing to support car seat safety week.
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