Thursday, June 10, 2010

[苗栗縣] - 飛牛牧場 - Miaoli County - Nature's Farm aka "Flying Cow Ranch"

 In the USA, when you think of "farm", you certainly do not think too much in the way of entertainment, let alone a relaxing family getaway coupled with an educational experience. As progressive (or regressive) as the idea of picking your own fruit and berries from the source has become, certain American farms that do offer their resources for educational field trips, are by appointment only and limited to schools for the most part. So what is the public to do?

In Taiwan, the idea of a nature farm is pretty much like going to a theme park. In Miaoli county 苗栗縣, the most famous attraction is Nature's Farm 飛牛牧場 which translates to Flying Cow Ranch. It's a 2+ hour drive southwest of Taipei, past Hsinchu county and on the way you'll pass by Guansi rest stop.

A GPS coupled with printed directions certainly come in handy getting over here. Once you pass the sign, drive up the road. 

And you're almost near the entrance once you see the lovely flying cow logo statue to the right.

Park the car and get your bearings. Pick up a few maps as this place is quite big. Hungry? There's the Red Barn restaurant.

 Your admission ticket includes a coupon that you can redeem for a cup of fresh milk or yogurt drink, all made on the premise of course and all natural.

The milk is so tasty (ditto for the yogurt drink) it's not funny. If this stuff tastes amazing, I can only imagine what fresh Hokkaido milk tastes like...

Oh yes, the Red Barn restaurant. Miso hungry. Time to get some grub.
 A very relaxed yet modern decor. The menu is more western slanted, but they say the best dish to get here is the hotpot.

Yup, got your typical veggie fixin's here and some animal protein essentials. At least three to four kinds of leafy greens, corn on the cob, slices of pork belly, enoki mushrooms, shrimp. There was more but I can't remember now.

Oh yes the signature hot pot broth of MILK. As strange as it sounds, it's actually milk mixed in with some sort of base broth. Once you put the ingredients in there, the whole thing flows together. It's actually quite good and a lot healthier than some greasy numbing spice thing that will blow your o-ring out.

OK everyone got a dessert. Check this out, they say it's a Japanese invention. Hmmm it looks like a brown egg in shell. But what's that tube inside? What's that toothpick for?? Oh man, you prick a hole and this milk tea latte flavored pudding oozes out.

For most of us, it looks rather gross. One can only imagine the filthy thoughts going on in your mind if you are seeing and eating something like this for the first time. Is it an egg? Is it a balloon or a condom?? What's that twirly looking discharge?? But the taste and texture is quite unbelievable and delicious! At some point the pudding oozes out very very slow, so you can either take matters into your own hands by poking more holes, or just puncture the whole thing together (but the taste and texture will be different if you do that).

After lunch, a nice stroll down the hill to see the rest of the farm. Unfortunately it was raining during our visit.

Get up close and personal with the sheep and goats! No pellet food for sale here, just little packets of grass

Sure you can pay NT$10 for a small pack of grass, but look around on the ground, lots of grass near the fences (dropped by other visitors), so go cheap on this.

Check the schedule near the sheep petting section for demos on milking a cow

 as well as feeding times for calfs. Watch these little fellas finish drinking a whole bottle of mama's milk within mere seconds!

Then up the hill is where you can see the mountain goats (don't get too close, they'll get into fights and scare you), and at the top is the bunny hutch. A favorite for the kids.

They will be so happy to see you. Even more so if you pay NT$10 to feed them some yam leaves!

Keep your eyes out on the funny bunny. The one on the left looks like a puppy with long ears.

 Or this dude who looks like a Panda.

Back to the gift and snack shop, you'll find more milk based goods. Like their signature Flying Cow milk pudding.

 Or the less popular red bean matcha yogurt.
 Liked that funky egg shaped pudding that oozed out like bodily fluid or discharged? Take it home with ya!

The milk ice cream has got to be amazing...

And there's a non food gift shop nearby too.

 Highly recommend for those visiting Miaoli County.


飛牛牧場 - Nature's Farm
苗栗縣通霄鎮166號 (Miaoli county, Tung Xiao Jun #166)