Myakka City isn’t a typical Florida tourist spot. No theme parks or beachfront here. Located on the Gulf Coast, 20 minutes east of Bradenton, Myakka is what some might call ‘Old Florida.’ But hidden in this close-knit rural community is a place known for its ag-ventures and wholesome fun. Welcome to Dakin Dairy Farms.
“Most people have never visited a real working dairy farm,’ says Karen Dakin, co-owner and matriarch of Dakin Dairy. ‘They can come out here, experience it and learn about where their milk comes from.’
Karen and her husband, Jerry take pride in showing visitors their 350-acre sustainable family farm complete with hayrides, corn mazes, working cows, racing pigs and sure-footed goats that climb trees and love to be fed.
‘We have this incredible goat feeding area with a ramp and a little feeder that you can send up the feed to the top of the ramp and they’ll run up the ramp to get the feed,’ Karen says with a laugh.
Tours of the farm are available from October through April and begin with an old-fashioned hayride.
‘Farmer Duane needs some help starting the tractor,’ Karen cheers to a group of giggling schoolchildren. ‘We’ve got to tell him to mooooove the tractor!’
The idea of opening the barn doors of their dairy operation began when agriculture clubs and other farmers started dropping by, eager to see the family’s success in action. The couple decided to show the public what makes Dakin Dairy so special.
‘We’re sustainable,’ explains Karen. We are as organic as is feasible and possible, which means we recycle and reuse everything we can.'
The cows are fed a diet of fresh cut grass similar to a healthy salad.
‘We are probably 40% grass and the rest is grains, minerals, hay and silages, so it’s just this really awesome blend,’ explains Karen. ‘And you can taste it in the milk.’
And for those who can’t wait to try it, the Dakin country store offers fresh milk to taste or take home.
Whether it’s running through a corn maze, making butter, riding the cow train or enjoying an old-fashioned country picnic, Dakin Dairy Farms is a great way to experience Florida’s rural side.