Seventy-five kids and adults from across the Southland streamed into Wednesday morning to experience firsthand the workings of a real farm.
Visitors got to feed cows and calves, spend time in the milking barn, watch the bottling process, and sample cookies and DeJong's famous chocolate milk.
“We have been booked solid on tours for two months,” said guide and family member Dana DeJong. “Every Friday in April and May we have done mostly school tours, and we do other tours on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today was the last one of the season.”
Sean Ferreiro, a Lake Elsinore resident, brought his 4-year-old son, Michael, to the dairy. He said he wanted to provide his boy with some “environmental awareness training, to allow him to have a more organic perspective on life, rather than just asphalt, concrete and time clocks.”
DeJong’s, owned by namesake Henry, has been operating in Wildomar since 1958. The family started out with one cow and seven DeJong kids at this 30-acre location.
The dairy doesn’t deliver milk and doesn’t advertise, but due to word of mouth the place is no hidden secret.
DeJong’s produces 500 gallons of milk a day, with cows giving 8 to 10 gallons from two daily milkings. Milk products the dairy sells include regular, 2 percent, and “the best chocolate milk in the world,” according to 10-year-old Jocelin Forby of Wildomar. She and her friend Madison Buffa were at the dairy Wednesday and have decided they are “telling everybody about it.”
Spencer Harris, 6, was at the farm with his grandmother, Susan Benz, a Wildomar resident and regular DeJong’s customer. Spencer said he likes stopping in “because I can feed the animals and get a 50/50 bar here.”
“I buy all our dairy products here,” Benz added.
An added bonus for Benz on Wednesday: Buy one gallon of milk, get one free.
Henry said DeJong’s small-scale production results in a product not found on big-box grocery shelves.
“(It) is the closest you can get to organic,” he said.