During my Seaside farmer’s market visit, I discovered that the dairy farm, Ocheesee Creamery in Grand Ridge, FL holds regular tours…for freeeeeeee! The hour and a half drive was well worth the journey! The tour was unstructured, but that’s okay. We learned a lot and petting the onedayold baby cow was the cream of the crop!
The cows don’t mind being milked; they gather round the milking station at 4 am waiting for the family farm owners to let them in. They have a lovely snack, get a nice bath and even rub their bums on a gigantic rotating brush.
The 3rd generation owner’s response really resonated with me when a tour attendee commented, “You are in the middle of nowhere!” He replied, “This is the middle of everything for me.” Why has that comment echoed in my head? Is it because the idea of living in the country surrounded by nothing but nature appeals to me? Or maybe because I love animals so much that thoughts of caring for these God-given creatures that provide us with nature’s nutrition and sustain life for 3rd world countries whose sheer survival depends on the milk of a family cow or goat? Perhaps it is just the fact that this man’s devotion to his family and their business is, dare I say, unusual in this day and time in America.
The ginormous cow pattie to the right of the heffer in front must be pointed out because for some reason, poop and poots are funny no matter how old you are.
Since the trend seems to be raw milk these days, I was a bit surprised that they pasteurize their milk. As is typical for a small-scale producer, they use a low-heat pasteurization method. They do not add synthetic vitamins to their skim milk. When the fat is removed, the fat-soluable vitamins are also removed. In commercial milk products, vitamins A and D are re-added. They had a bit of a run-in with the state regulation agency who actually shut them down for a couple of months, as they refused to add manufactured vitamins, but Ocheesee won their case!
I would drink raw milk if I milked the cow myself, but trusting the methods of someone else scares me and it just doesn’t seem worth it.
I bought cheese curds, milk, butter and Amish cheese. Yum! I could have bought more! I bought some mint chocolate chip ice cream for little Drew and it tasted fresh, like the ice milk my Dad use to buy when I was growing up. They held milk tastings of whole and skim milk, which actually tasted the same to me, chocolate milk, cream and yogurt.
We saw the cows, the pastures, the milking station and the small factory. They showed us the pumps and filters and cooling tanks. We weren’t able to see the cows being milked, as it stresses them to have a change in routine. Plus, they ask to be milked at 4 am.
I suppose there are many breeds of milking cows and I wonder if the different breeds produce different flavors of milk. Holsteins are the black and white spotted cows. The cows on this farm are Jersey cows.
I think this was an excellent learning and tasting experience for the little monster and I had a great time! This was a field trip worth while.
Related post: The Udder Truth About Milk
If you feel overwhelmed by all the nutrition advice, calorie recommendations and diet trends, read these: Fact. Not Fad., Let’s Crunch Numbers!, Help Me To Help You!