Get a Glimpse into our Dairy Industry at Martinez Dairy
Agrotourism is a very popular trend right now, and I love it! I get excited any time that I can see “behind the scenes” of something. And then add animals into the mix, and I can’t stay away! Martinez Dairy offers tours of their facilities, with an explanation of dairy farming from start to finish. It is a really interesting and informational tour, and there are calves to feed and take pictures with. We really enjoyed our visit, and I am sure you will too.
Martinez Dairy (Vaquería Martinez) is a small, working dairy located in the town of Vega Baja, on the north coast of Puerto Rico. It is a family-run business, on it’s third generation, started around 40 years ago by the grandfather of the 2 brothers who run it today. The farm is about 100 acres of rolling green hills, and they have roughly 100 producing cows. This is a great tour for anyone interested in the industry, or even if you just want to see and feed cows!
Just so you know up-front: This tour is in Spanish. They have future plans for bilingual tours, but they are not quite to that point yet. For now, they will try to work with you if you need English translation.
The tour starts at the covered seating area, where you sign in. This is a small, working farm, and the tours are given by the owners. They started by telling us about their own farm, who they are, the size of their dairy, and their production volume. They went on to talk about the dairy business in Puerto Rico, how many farms there are, how much they all produce, and the names of the milk processors.
They explained that all fresh milk sold in Puerto Rico is produced locally, and that it is more expensive (as compared to the States) because cows in the tropics produce less milk (due to the heat), and the feed for the herd needs to be imported. Those things add up.
After this short, basic introduction, we took a short walk to see some of their calves. They explain why the calves are kept in these special cages and not with their mothers. They explain the care the babies get, the food they eat, their time line. It takes around 2 years before a cow has it’s first baby and starts producing milk!
There are calves of all ages, kept close to home for safety reasons. Once they are old enough, they can go out to pasture to eat fresh grass to their heart’s content. They explained the types of food/grasses they feed the cows, how they keep them healthy and happy, and how cows process their food. They handed out grass for people to feed the young cows that were in this area. You could pet them and take photos. Really cute. The kids loved it.
They talked about the two types of cows they have on their farm, and the differences between them. It is interesting to see how much larger a Holstein is from the little brown Jersey cows. The farm has mostly Holsteins (they produce more milk), but you will see some Jerseys (they produce milk with a higher fat content).
They also explain the process of reproduction. Dairy is big business … nothing is left to chance. Gotta love the big book of available bull semen to can pick from! They explained artificial insemination, and the cycle of pregnancy for the cows to produce milk and continue to produce milk (usually about 1 birth/year for 4-5 years).
They explained the milking process, they have a small, 4-cows-at-a-time machine that milks them. They showed us the process with 2 very eager cows (they get fed while being milked, so they seem to like it!). They also explained what happens to the milk, and its timetable and testing requirements. All along the way, they answered everyone’s questions. I really enjoyed it, and learned a lot. There is a lot involved in your glass of milk!
Afterwards, we went back the covered area where we started and they gave us all a scoop of ice cream! That was a yummy way to enjoy the cows’ work! They also had cheese and butter for sale if you wanted.
The cost is $10 for adults, $7 for kids 3-11 years old.
Tours offered Saturdays and Sundays 10:30am and 2pm, by reservation only.
This tour is appropriate for all ages. There is a little bit of walking involved, in gravel and grass, but it is probably wheelchair accessible.
Allow 1-2 hours for the tour.
You can call or send a text message to 787-598-0274 for more information or to make a reservation.
You can visit their Facebok page for more information, or to message them to make a reservation.
If you need translation to English, you can bring along someone to translate for you. Or let them know in advance when you make your reservation, one of their employees might be able to translate for you.
Take Route 22 to exit 42B, to Route 137 south, then right onto Road 643. Dairy is on the left at the end of their driveway.
We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...
- Martinez Dairy: (18.381660, -66.430800)
PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it!