Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and MooBerry Winery is possibly one of my favourite places to visit on Vancouver Island. With toddler in tow, we headed up for a morning of fun. It's always nice to take off my "veterinarian's hat" for a few minutes and just enjoy being around animals.
I've always felt that knowing where one's food actually comes from is so important. I buy local if I can and try to support small businesses. The dairy industry has taken some big hits recently and criticism for animal abuse. Little Qualicum Cheeseworks is a SPCA certified farm. So what does that mean exactly? Well, they have to meet some pretty high standards as well as pass on-site inspections.
Check out the BC SPCA's website for a list of SPCA certified farms.
Something pretty special recently happened at the farm. They installed a state of the art robotic milking machine! Robotic milking machines have been around for a while, but you don't see them very often on small scale operations. So what the heck is a robotic milking machine?! Well to put it simply, it allows the cows to milk themselves when they feel full! Many also have the technology to monitor the cows of mastitis (infection of the mammary gland). All of which equal improved animal welfare.
You can really get up close and personal with these girls. They are some happy cows! It's been shown through numerous published scientific studies that happy cows produce more milk. Seems like a win win to me.
Now we certainly can't forget about the cheese. At Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, they produce the cheese on site. You can also sample any of the cheeses before you buy. Be warned though, you may want to buy them all!
Now for the wine connoisseurs out there, don't forget to check out their fruit wines. Apple is my absolute favourite in the summer months. The neat thing is, their flavours change with each batch they make, so they are different all the time. Construction is currently underway for an outdoor patio for their new cafe! (I literally cannot wait)!
Next time you are in the Qualicum area stop by and check out the farm. See what happy cows look like, and use it as a fabulous learning experience for your kids!
*Haven Veterinary Services provides small animal mobile veterinary services in Nanaimo, Lantzville, Nanoose and Ladysmith.*