Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ramona: Oasis Camel Dairy – Far From Ordinary

Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona, California

When you think of a dairy farm, you probably think of cows, but at the Oasis Camel Dairy, you won’t find cows grazing on its 34 sprawling acres. Instead, as the name suggests, this dairy is devoted to camels. Unusual - yes. In fact, it’s the only camel dairy in the United States.

Located in rural Ramona, about forty five minutes northeast of downtown San Diego, the dairy is run by founders Gil and Nancy Riegler, who have worked with camels for more than 20 years. They share their love of these fine animals and work to educate the public about the amazing nature of camels and their milk. Camel’s milk, by the way, reportedly has triple the amount of vitamin C found in cow’s milk and 10 times the amount of antibacterial and antiviral properties found in cow’s milk. In the U.S., however, law forbids the selling of camel milk – only people who own camels can consume the milk. For now, the Rieglers incorporate the milk into other products such as homemade soap, which they sell at the dairy as well as online.

The dairy has been featured on two episodes of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Once a month, the Oasis Camel Dairy opens its gates to visitors from around the world. The next scheduled tour date is Sunday, October 24, 2010. You’ll be able to see the facilities and pastures where the camels live, learn about the friendly creatures, and be close enough to touch the gentle giants. Camel rides are sometimes offered, as well. Tour ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for kids ages 4 to 14 years. Besides camels, the Rieglers have donkeys, sheep, horses, turkeys, exotic birds, cats and dogs.

Oasis Camel Dairy is located between the towns of Ramona and Santa Ysabel on rural Highway 78 in San Diego County. For more information, call 760-787-0983.


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