A Visit to Homeland Creamery
It’s summer, and what better time to explore the many local attractions around the Triad? Recently, my 3-year-old daughter, Lily, and I accompanied our playgroup to Homeland Creamery for a dairy farm tour.
Located in Julian in southeast Guilford County, Homeland Creamery is a family-owned and operated dairy farm run by Chris and Jayne Bowman and David and Terry Bowman. They are the sixth generation of farmers on the same homestead who have operated the dairy since the 1930s, and they conduct private group tours of the farm from March through mid-November. Tours are held Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. by reservation only. They last about one hour, are educationally based and appropriate for all ages. There is also a shaded area with tables so your group can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after your tour.
Our group arrived at Homeland Creamery and checked in at the store, which is open daily to the public. We were greeted by two Border collies, Belle and Jip, as well as a few barn cats. All of the children in our group were under 5 years old, so they were immediately excited by the sight of all the animals, including several roosters, turkeys and a calf.
We began our tour with a hayride through the dairy farm, and the kids were able to see some of the more than 300 Holstein cows they own (as well as one lazy llama). Our tour guide, Diana, told us all about their farm and how it works. She explained that all of their cows are females and that they cannot produce milk until they give birth to a calf. I learned the difference between a cow’s udder and a teat (I’m a city girl and did not realize there was a difference). The most noteworthy fact was that Homeland Creamery’s cows are pasture-fed and only eat corn, hay and mixed feed grown right on their own farmland. They do not use any artificial hormones or antibiotics. The cows are healthy, and the milk is all-natural and fresh.
After about a 20-minute hayride, we came back to the dairy, and the kids all had a chance to feed a 3-week-old calf. Each child took a turn holding the bottle for her to feed. Next, they each hand-milked the “simulated cow.” Then we went into the milk parlor for a look at how they actually milk all the cows using automatic and computerized milking machines. They pasteurize their milk the old-fashioned way, using vats for a creamier, richer taste, and they process and bottle it right on the farm, giving them complete control over its quality.
Homeland Creamery supplies our local area with milk products including whole, low-fat, skim and chocolate milk; buttermilk; ice cream; half-and-half; heavy cream; and homemade butter eggnog (during the holiday season). In addition to milk products, the farm also offers Ward’s Sausage, hamburger, free-range eggs, corn meal and Tennessee cheeses. All of these products can be bought in their store or found at several retail stores across the state. A complete list of retailers is available on their Web site.
At the end of our tour, we each received a small cup of Homeland Creamery’s vanilla ice cream, by far Lily’s favorite part of the day! This was some of the richest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever tasted.
After our trip to Homeland Creamery, my daughter gained a better understanding of how milk gets from the cow to the grocery store, and this city girl learned a lot as well.
If You Go
6506 Bowman Dairy Road, Julian
Tours are $6 per person for ages 2 and up.
Store is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 1-6 p.m. Extended summer hours are until 9 p.m. on Friday-Sunday. Tours by reservation only, Monday-Friday at 10 a.m.