Sounds like a pretty nice resort, right? And it is, but only for cows. This is Rogue Creamery's brand new dairy near Grants Pass, Oregon.
From here, the milk goes to the creamery's processing plant near Medford, where it is turned into prize-winning cheeses such as the Rogue River blue that is wrapped and aged in Syrah leaves soaked in Oregon pear brandy.
On Fridays at noon you can tour the dairy, which is airy and spotless, meaning no smell. Notice the chip in each cow's ear in the photo at the top. This logs every step of the procedure, from milking to controlling how much food each gets--gorging is not allowed. Any problems are communicated instantly to the staff via cell phone.
The 120 milkers line up whenever they feel the need for milking, even in the middle of the night. No one stays up to handle this. It's done by two robotic milkers that are so thoughtful they nudge the cows as a calf would, which gets them in a good mood for milking. Named Charlie and Matilda, the robots cost a cool $333,000 each.
And anytime they can rub against vertical yellow brushes for a massage. "You can actually see the cows smile," said tour leader Craig Nelson, standing beside one of the robots. Notice the leg of the cow being milked.
Outside the barn is a broad green pasture where the cows can wander as they please. Water is kept inside to make sure they come back.
These "cheese-making" cows yield milk that is high in butterfat and good protein, Nelson said. The low stress environment--you hear no angry mooing--probably helps too.
At the end of the tour, you can sample what the cows have produced in a shop next to the barn (above). The milk itself is not sold, but you can taste and buy the cheeses or get a grilled cheese sandwich to eat outside in quiet country atmosphere.
The shop (above) also sells Rogue Creamery ice cream by the scoop. There are two flavors, chocolate and milk and honey, so sweet and creamy it could only have been produced with the help of very happy cows.
The main Rogue Creamery Cheese Shop is at 311 Front St. (Highway 99), Central Point, Oregon 97502. Tel: (866) 396-4704 or (541) 665-1155.
The dairy and farm stand are located at 6531 Lower River Rd., Grants Pass, Oregon 97526. Tel: (541) 471-7292. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations aren't necessary for the free tours, which are offered Fridays at noon.