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Acres Wild

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Acres Wild is a 22 acre, family-run organic cheese making farm and farm stay in Coonoor, which is a small hill station in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu. Coonoor is about 20 km from Ooty (Udhagamandalam).

The goal at Acres Wild farm is to shape an eco-friendly, holistic and self-sustaining life style, grow their own food organically and share this experience with visitors to the farm stay.  Here, they use no chemicals, strive to increase bio-diversity and keep tillage to a minimum.

All in all, they offer you a quaint and serene getaway from the hustle & bustle of city life.
Restaurant, Refrigerator, Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee / Tea Maker, Microwave, Hair Dryer, TV, DVD Player, Kitchenette
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The Stay
There are three cottages in the farm stay

Colby Cottage
Colby Cottage has a studio-style interior with double bed, dining area, kitchenette and attached toilet/bath. It also has a front covered porch.The cottage is made of adobe bricks that are made in the farm. The room is equipped with 2 single beds/ a double bed, writing desk & dining table with chairs. It has an attached toilet/shower with solar water heating. You have a view of the valley and the hill range across with pristine forest and some tea estates from Colby Cottage. In the foreground you can see the roof of the farmhouse and in the left is the lower part of the Cheesemaking Cottage.

Cheddar House
Cheddar House is a 2-bedroom farmstay guest cottage. The styling is unique with touches of the classic Indo-British architecture that is a characteristic of the Nilgiris. They are made with eco-friendly adobe bricks made in the farm. The full-length front porch overlooks the valley with the plains of Mettapalyam far below. It has a stunning view of the valley and the plains. The room is equipped with wooden floors, 2 single beds/ a double bed, cupboard, writing desk and chair. It has an attached toilet/shower with solar water heating. It is also equipped with a fridge, electric kettle, induction heater, aqua-guard, toaster, sandwich-toastie-cum-grill and basic utensils.

Haloumi House
Haloumi House is a 2 bedroom cottage with a living / dining room and a kitchen. It is located at the top of the property and looks down into the Plains of Mettapalayam. There is a toilet attached to each bedroom. Solar water heating ensures a continuous supply of hot water.
There are various activities conducted at the Farm stay. Each part of the practical activities will be explained with suitable lectures. Some basic lectures may be doled out on the state of the world, loss of biodiversity, soil rejuvenation and resource depletion.

Cheese making course
Cheese making Courses are available only to guests who are staying in the farm stay. They offer a basic 2 day cheese making course. Guests have to inform them at the time of booking the farm stay room if interested in taking a course as prior arrangements have to be made.

From collecting milk from the cows to pressing the cheese and adding flavours. Explanation of the basic cheese making process, Pasteurizing, adding culture, rennet, ripening the curd, draining curd and pressing the cheese are taught. Explanation on maturing hard cheeses & the difference between different types of cheeses is also explained.

Bread Making
Participate in making breads that is made daily for the farm (hosts) and the farmstay guests.

Making Soap
Help in making soap from scratch by the cold process. These soaps are gentle on the skin quite unlike the ones that are normally available in the market. The finished soaps are intended for use. You can also buy the finished soaps if they fit your fancy.

Making Jam
Most of the food items served there are made or grown locally. So jams is one activity that allows uses the local seasonal fruits either from the farm or from the area. You can help with this activity as and when it is being done. There is no fees for participating in making jams.

Milking & Bathing the cows

Something the kids love and is great fun to try. The milking timings are 8:30 am in the morning and 4:30pm in the evening everyday.

Feeding farm animals
Preparing dry feed for ducks, geese, hens and fish. Cutting shrubs to feed the goats.

Preparing raised beds for growing vegetables
Method of preparing a raised bed for growing vegetables. Reasons for doing this. Intercropping of different types of vegetables to manage soil health.

Planting vegetables & trees
You are welcome to help in planting vegetables and saplings or in picking what is growing in the vegetable patch. If you wish, the veggies that you picked can be cooked for the meal that day.

There is a simple fishing tackle with which you can do some angling in the pond. There are 3 types of major carps to catch. You can toss them back if you are not interested in eating them or if they are too small to eat.

Short trek for Birdwatching
This trip can serve as a break from the other activities and also as a chance to observe birds, flora and fauna. Spotting and Identifying different types of birds. Reading up on them in the course notes and taking photos of them.
Farm animals get priority at Acres Wild. Good cheese needs good milk and for that they grow meadow and Napier grass for the cows. Azolla is a water fern that is a supplement feed. It is grown in shallow ponds.

Wild life
Bison are regulars but since August 2006, a family of elephants comes up annually in summer from lower down the hill, mainly for water. Other wild life are wild boar, snakes, panther, wild cat, porcupine, deer and wild rabbits.

Ducks and geese enrich the pond eco-system. Their excreta is excellent for the fish. They have introduced about 6000 carp fingerlings - Catla, Rohu and Mrigal. Guinea just have a good time.

They grow their own food, organically. They grow all the herbs for the cheese. They have maize, oats, wheat and a Gobar gas plant for self sufficiency.

Acres Wild Gourmet cheese is part of Coonoor history now. Making gourmet or artisan cheese from the milk of the hybrid Jersey and Holstein cows is a key activity at the farm. Gourmet or artisan cheeses are handmade natural-rind cheeses, the outcome of months of painstaking care and nurturing. Each of these cheeses has an independent flavor, and unlike processed cheeses  carries the flavors of their natural habitat. All the cheeses are made of microbial rennet and therefore 100% vegetarian.
Getting there
From Coonoor Bus stand
Go to Coonoor Bus Stand which is located near the main market in lower Coonoor.

Go past Bus Stand on Barlows road that goes to the Taj Hotel. About 100m after the bus stand there is a fork in the road on the right with a sign 'Kanni Mariamman Kovil Street'. Go down that right fork.

Follow the road for about a kilometer (past a temple and a small bridge) till you come to a 3-pronged fork in the road and take the extreme left fork. There is small yellow sign board there that says 'Acres Wild Farm'.

Keep following that road till you see another yellow signboard that says 'Acres Wild Farm' and turn right there.

You are in Acres Wild Farm now.
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