California: A farm stay just right for family fun

Children can help out around the farm by feeding animals and collecting eggs for breakfast.
(Feather Down Farm Days)

Families looking to skip the trudge-around-the theme-park summer vacation might be tempted by a farm stay instead.

On April 8, Feather Down Farm Days USA will open its first California farm experience to guests at Chaffin Family Orchards, a fifth-generation family-run farm near Oroville, Calif.


The stay is the first in the state for Feather Down Farm Days USA, which has organized farm stays in Illinois and New York as well as in Europe.

The Chaffin Family Orchard includes 2,000 acres of olive, stone fruit and citrus orchards as well as cattle, goats, sheep and chickens. Children can participate in traditional farm life by tending vegetables, milking cows, collecting eggs and other chores.

Want to just hang out and connect with each other? No problem -- there’s plenty of time to relax, read and play board games.

The farm’s “shabby chic” tent cabins can accommodate six and are outfitted with a double bed, bunk beds and a sleeping cupboard as well as a sink, plates and utensils, a wood-burning cook stove and a flush toilet. There is no electricity -- families are unplugged and unwired -- so candles and lanterns are provided.


The Honesty Shop stocks food and other items for your stay, much of it grown by the farmer or his neighbors. You take what you need, sign for it, then tally the bill and settle it with the farmer.

There is a minimum two-night stay, with rates beginning at $525. Five-night stays begin at $1,075. Rates are per tent per stay and include the use of the farm facilities, education experiences, excursions to a private lake at Table Mountain and make-your-own-pizza nights using the outdoor wood-burning oven.


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