With so many people concerned about making choices that are environmentally responsible, it seems only natural that dairy farmers would make a shift in the same direction. Bakerview EcoDairy is a dairy that not only takes environmental responsibility to heart, but is also geared to educating consumers about dairy practices. This local gem is located in Abbotsford. Have you been yet?
Bakerview EcoDairy sits in a surprising location. Behind the dairy sits 80 acres of farmland, but across the highway from the dairy sit numerous big box stores. Somehow, that doesn’t detract from the quaint feeling you get when you enter the dairy or the Nutrifoods Market, which sits on the same property and sells the dairy’s products under the Vitala brand name. Nutrifoods has a delicious deli with fresh sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Visitors are invited to enjoy lunch on their peaceful country patio.
Bill Vanderkooi, president of the Bakerview EcoDairy, says he chose the location because he wants to encourage agritourism, and location is vital in bringing in visitors. “My personal commitment is to education and to showcasing the dairy industry,” he says. “I want to promote the industry as a whole. [The EcoDairy is] a farm committed to showcasing technologies and environmental sustainability along with cow comfort and care.” Bill was raised on a local dairy farm and has a Master of Science in Animal Science, specializing in dairy cattle nutrition and physiology.
These Fraser Valley cows, each tagged with their names, are living the modern life, too! Although milking the cows often brings to mind the image of a farmer sitting on a stool while the cow stands idly by during the milking, at Bakerview, the milking is done at a robotic milking station. And, rather than being told when they have to milk, the cows have free access to the station, so they can be milked as they want.
The dairy also includes a self-grooming station for the cows and a mechanical device that brings in bedding for the cows, so they are not disturbed by large-scale equipment moving materials around. What’s more, the floor of the dairy actually has rubber on top of concrete, to cushion the cows as they walk or when they lie down. It all adds up to some happy and content cows.
In addition to being robotic, the EcoDairy is also technologically advanced, with webcams set up so visitors to the website can watch the milking station, the self-grooming station and the feeding lane. Check it out!
One of the best sights at the EcoDairy is the goats on the roof! The goats have access to a green roof, making them a welcoming sight for visitors. They were out last time we visited and we enjoyed watching them eating grass, catching some rays and checking out visitors.
In addition to Nutrifoods Market, which is open daily, visitors can stop by the dairy on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays to take a tour—pre-booked group tours can visit Monday through Saturday, with advanced notice. The dairy includes not only cows but also a petting zoo, featuring miniature ponies, sheep, calves, pigs and goats and a learning centre.
This is a great place to visit with the family. Stop by for a tour, enjoy a drink on the Nutrifoods Market patio and take in this fabulous Fraser Valley agritourism destination!
1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford