Monday, December 3, 2012

Planning a Visit to Trader's Point Creamery

There are so many little gems around Indiana to explore (some of my favorites are listed at my Indiana Adventures page). But I think that one of the most unique spots has to be Traders Point Creamery on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Despite organic food being all the rage these days, this is one of the nation's only all-organic dairy farms.

Tucked away on a twisty, curvy road, you'd never realize you're just about 15 minutes from the heart of downtown. A visit to Traders Point Creamery lets you teach your kids about farming, where their food comes from, and the beauty of how Mother Nature provides for us, all in an accessible and affordable way.

Here are my suggestions for a fun day at the farm:

1.) Take a self-guided walking tour. While more formal tours are offered, if you're bringing the kids, I suggest moving at your own pace. Upon arrival, just check in at the small store. Cost is $2 per person and they'll provide you with a marked map. It's essentially a 1.5 mile loop around the farm, although you can walk less if the little legs you're bringing with you aren't up to the task. You can walk the grounds anytime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Insider Tip: Bring your baby carrier (like this Ergobaby carrier I've donated to the Passports with Purpose fundraiser) and leave your stroller at home. The farm is much more manageable on foot than on wheels.

Insider Tip: Let the kids guide you with the map! (We had to steer these two in the right direction, but it was fun to let them think they were navigating...)

Insider Tip: Warn kids about the electric fences. The cows are free to roam the fields, but they are surrounded by a single electric wire fence. No one wants to end the trip early with a shock!

2.) Eat at The Loft. While you can find their products on the shelves of health food stores across the country (including many Whole Foods), in recent years the Creamery has expanded the operations to include a restaurant called The Loft.

The menu is full of options where most of the ingredients are either produced or grown on the farm.  And unlike some farm-to-table restaurants which can be a tad fancy, The Loft is very family-friendly and you'll feel comfortable dining there with kids of all ages. Their children's menu is healthy but fun.

The water comes in adorable mason jars.

3.) Pack a cooler. My friend who joined us was so smart to suggest we bring coolers to keep our purchases cold on the way home. Because this is a perfect time to stock up on their yogurt, cheeses and chocolate milk!

4.) End your visit with ice cream! Everyone's had a fun day already. But take it up a notch with some of their amazing ice cream. I'd share a photo, but I was too busy devouring it to stop and take a picture. (You understand, right?)

Insider tip: Order it in a cone. With a hint of cinnamon sugar, I thought the cone was just as delicious as the ice cream.

Suggested Itinerary:

Because they milk the cows at 4 p.m. daily (and you can watch!), visitors must clear off the paths around 3 p.m. So the staff at the Creamery suggested this as an ideal schedule for an afternoon at the Creamery:

2 p.m.: Arrive and spend an hour walking the grounds.
3 p.m.: Visit the Dairy Barn inside The Loft for ice cream.
4 p.m.: Watch the cows being milked.
Then you could either stay for an early dinner at The Loft or pick up some of their yummy products at the store and head home.

If you have little ones that typically nap in the afternoon like I do, then by all means visit in the morning. We missed out on the milking, but still had fun.

Christmas on the Farm:

Traders Point Creamery holds a lot of seasonal events (like an Oktoberfest in the fall and a weekly farmer's market in the summer). December 15 marks the 5th annual Christmas on the Farm. If you visit then, there will be sleigh rides, time with Old St. Nick, crafts, and hot chocolate made with the chocolate milk produced at the Creamery.

This post is a part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippy Cups / Walking on Travels and Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

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