we decided to make use of the rental car still in our possession and take a day-trip someplace. After a little brainstorming, my husband and I landed on a not-too-far-away from the city option, one that we even kind of knew what we were getting ourselves into. Perfect.
Bobolink Dairy Farm is a place I'd already grown quite fond of from my weekly jaunts to the farmers market, buying their delicious wood fired breads and pack-a-punch raw, pastured cheeses. I thought it could only get better - to bask in a little nature and find out exactly how they make their wonderful products and even take some home for myself? Bonus! We *did* have to re-stock the fridge now that we were home, anyway...
Nina, who owns the farm with her husband Jonathan, showed us the lay of the land, along with her daughter and two sweet farm dogs. On almost 185 acres, the meadows and semi-wooded hills which comprise the terrain serve as pasture to their herd of hearty, gorgeous cows. They roam and graze on choice clover and grasses, en plein air as it should be.
It was calving season and we saw numerous young ones, each more curious than the next. I think it was only the noise of my shutter that kept them from coming up to sniff and nuzzle me.
Nina allows her cows to nurse their calves for longer than most dairy farmers, so that they in turn can grow stronger and become the resilient creatures they need to be to live a good, long life. There is the brief misery of finaling weaning them (mama and babe calling to each other for about 48 hours), but life does go on.
The beauty is that at Bobolink, they just let their cows be cows. No physical restriction in feeding, therefore no need to de-horn them (they will become competitive if there is a perceived scarcity/holding); no perversion of diet (i.e. no corn, soy, etc.) so they graze to their hearts' content, as ruminants were born to do. At the milking salon, as it is called, the cows are milked for less than a half-hour a day - done! - to leave them to be the animals they are out on the pasture, with the rest of the herd. This is a model for how raising animals should be (and was, before industrialized food came along). We - of course - want the best we can feed ourselves and our families. Here, the intrinsic nature of these creatures is honored and beautiful food is the result. Seems pretty simple, right?
And then there was the cheese. Such robust and toothsome cheese! We did not bring home nearly enough, let me just say that.
Along with ameraucana eggs, some wild turkey pâté, and of course our cheese, we stocked up on a loaf of Bobolink wood-fired cheese bread and a hefty 4lb partial-wheel of their fantastic Medieval Levain Olive Rye. That is how bread should be.
As the day wore on, we were graced with the sunshine. It was enough to make me linger just a little longer, long enough to discover some neighbor chickens and wildly blooming poppies along the house. The blossoms took my breath away...
We had an immensely good time. Connecting to the earth and where our food comes from is one of my greatest joys, and I hope in sharing it with all of you, you're inspired to plan a trip for yourselves. Be sure to stock up on good eating while you're there. ;)