Arla Økodag 2018

The family and I visited a local farm to take part in Økodag, or organic day in English. It was arranged by Arla, the major dairy company here in Denmark. It's a huge event that happens every year all over Denmark and is especially popular with families.

Økodag gives the public an opportunity to visit their local farmers and learn more about organic milk production. Admittedly I was totally ignorant about organic farming practices. I find organic produce too harsh on the budget most of the time.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm of organic food, I thought it would be a good day out for the family. The daughter gets to see cows for the first time and the husband and I learn something new. Another big bonus - the event is free to attend and you receive some freebies (Arla dairy products, recipes and a cute metal spoon for the kids). Win-win!

After checking on the Økodag website for a farm nearby, after a short treck from the makeshift car park (a very muddy field!), the pungent smell of cows assaulted my nostrils and I knew we were at the right place - Debelgaard near Lindknud. The loud moo-ing also confirmed it.

Our first stop was to visit the older calves. My daughter seemed pleased to see them and attempted to feed them some grass. She often tries to feed the dog his food, whether he wants to be fed or not!

My daughter looking at the calves.

Next we picked up some freebies and entered a large shed where the cows resided. Each enclosure had its own purpose. For example, new mothers were placed together to rest, sick cows were in an enclosure of their own. Then there was the milking station, which we queued for with the masses to have a gander at cows being milked organically.

As I stated, I was ignorant when it came to this process. I assumed the cows would be lined up and milked at the same time with pumps on their udders, like I've seen before on TV and in photos. That's not the case with organic milk farming at this farm.

One by one cows entered a small enclosure coaxed by food. A door closed behind them and they were washed then milked by machine. Afterwards they could take their treat and a door in front of them opened so they could go about their merry way. I thought to myself that it seemed a better method than packing loads of cows into a small space, confining them to the pumps.

We headed outside, took some yoghurt and cheese for the little one, then bought frankfurter sausages with bread for lunch.

My daughter smiling at the farm's Great Dane.
No, that's not a cow! That's the farm's resident Great Dane that happens to be white with black patches. I found it hilarious that she resembles a cow, living on a cow farm. My daughter was so happy to pet her.
We found another shed full of calves! They were the younger ones and so adorable. There was an opportunity for kids to pet a calf, but the queue was way too long so we weren't able to. Maybe next year.

Calves resting in hay.

The big event that everyone was waiting for was the 'cow dancing', or releasing of the cows into the field. It signifies the coming of Spring and the cows receive a much-deserved break. Why is it called cow dancing? Because some of the cows are so happy to be outside, that they buck, or 'dance' as they run out. It seemed the little one enjoyed this part of the day the most, as most children do I suspect!

My husband informed me that there was a breach and that some cows ended up in the wrong field. All was fine, the farmers were onto it promptly. It definitely wasn't like the running of the bulls in Spain.

Cows released into the field as a crowd watches on.
This photo was taken when all the cows were out.
Once the cows had their freedom and everyone had enjoyed themselves, we slowly walked back to the main farm area. A lot of people were leaving after the releasing of the cows and the little one became grumpy and was due a nap, so we headed home.

I enjoyed my time at Debelgaard. My husband liked it and though our daughter was grouchy in the end, I think she enjoyed the day. We hope to visit again on the next Økodag in 2019.

For more information on Økodag, be sure to visit the Økodag website.

I was not sponsored by Arla to write this post, I just thought it would be useful for those considering taking part in future Økodag events!

No comments