Saturday, July 11, 2009
Where Our Milk Comes From
For the last two years, we've been buying Calder Dairy milk. I'm lactose intolerant so I've never tried the milk but Geoff tells me it tastes great. Calder Farm is a family owned and operated farm in Carleton, which is located about an hour south of Ann Arbor. The farm has a relatively small herd (110 milk cows) of Holstein, Brown Swiss, and Jersey cows. Artificial hormones are not given to the cows to enhance their milk production. I've always wanted to meet the cows who produce the milk that Caroline drinks everyday so this afternoon, Caroline and I drove out to Carleton with our friends Katherine and Julia. I had never been to a dairy farm so I wasn't sure what to expect. We arrived at 3:00 pm, just in time for Caroline to have a chance to help give a bottle of milk to a 7-day old calf. We spent the next hour walking around the property (and eating ice cream from the on-site ice cream parlor) and at 4:00 pm, we watched the cows being milked in the milking parlor. The farm has a small milking parlor with only 8 electronic milking machines. It takes about an hour and a half for all 110 cows to be milked. The milk is stored in a refrigerated tank and then taken to Calder Dairy in Lincoln to be pasteurized in small batches and bottled in recyclable glass bottles. After watching so many documentaries exposing the underbelly of the conventional and industrial food system, I was heartened by our visit to this farm where cows are treated with respect and where the employees seem to take pride in their work.