Last week, just before the Wise Traditions conference, we were invited to attend a “glamping” (glamorous camping) trip to Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, California.
Chaffin is a truly sustainable farm, home to 2,000 acres of the oldest olive groves in America. They also grow citrus, stone fruit, and avocado, and rear beef cattle, goats, sheep and chickens.
This was one of the best vacations I've ever had, right up there with my trip to Tuscany to go truffle hunting.
Imagine an expansive ink black night punctuated by millions of stars, meals around a glowing campfire, deep, restful sleep in a cozy, soundless tent. The days were full of farm fun from moving chickens to feeding cattle to picking our own fruit.
That's our tent, and our schedule of activities. We got extra internet time since there were a number of bloggers on the tour.
We stayed in the most amazing tents. When it comes to camping, this is like staying at the Ritz.
This is what the tent looked like:
Hardwood floors, candles everywhere, wood-burning stove, composting toilet, cozy beds with down comforters.
I loved the composting toilet, and the cozy fire in our wood-burning stove.
And sleeping in pitch blackness was heavenly.
Feeding the Beef Cows
We ate pomegranates under the olive trees first thing in the morning before we headed out to feed the cows their hay.
Jenny of Nourished Kitchen joined, along with her husband and son, as did Kristin Canty, director of the film, Farmageddon, Emily of Holistic Squid, and Monica of Real Food Devotee.
That's farm boy Josh standing on top of the bales of hay on the truck, like the king of the world. I can't imagine a better childhood for a boy, can you?
A cow headed over to get some hay. Those are bee hive boxes in the background.
We all got to learn to milk a cow.
My daughter, 5-year-old Kate and 7-year-old Solas (son to Jenny who writes Nourished Kitchen) feeding one of the cows a little organic grain just before milking.
Life on the Farm
That's Farm Manager, Chris Kerston, in the farm office. Whenever I talk to him on the phone, there's always a rooster crowing in the background.
That's his wife, Katie, and their precious little Baby David.
Feeding the chickens, which get moved in a Joel-Salatinesque egg mobile.
This allows them to fertilize the orchards, which means Chaffin doesn't have to spend money on synthetic fertilizer. And this is truly the most sustainable way to run a farm.
Miles and Miles of Mandarins
Picking mandarins. That's Emily of Holistic Squid (on the right) and her sister Ann Marie on the left.
Want to Go Glamping?
If you're looking for the perfect vacation, I can't recommend this “glamping” trip at Chaffin Orchards highly enough. They are taking reservations for the spring. This is the best family vacation money can buy.
Our family will definitely be back!
Actually, we're thinking of planning a Village Green Network tour. I'd like to invite one or two of our bloggers, and maybe do a trip to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico and/or organic wineries in Napa. If you're interested in doing a group trip, please comment below.