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The other weekend, I took Penelope to visit Kurtz Dairy Farm in Live Oak, Florida. As part of New Leaf Market’s Annual Farm Tour.
I have been buying Kurtz raw milk for years, so I was thrilled to finally be able to go and see everything myself.
Kurt’s Dairy has been in business over 20 years and they farm the right way. The cows are pastured and very well treated.
He has Jersey cows. He used to have Holstein cows (bred to be huge and big milk producers) when he farmed in a more industrialized way. Now with his Jersey cows, they hardly ever get sick, have miscarriages or still births and just over all are more healthy and fertile.
Penelope really enjoyed seeing all the cows up close and personal!
I went with a friend of mine, and we were all taken on a hay ride to visit all the different pastures and groups of cows. He keeps a couple of separate groups, ones that are ready to breed and ones that are too young or are nursing young.
This Mama was pre.gn.ant!
And this Mama was about to give birth! He said you can tell by looking at her utters. They get very swollen with milk right before birth, and they lose their mucus plug right before labor begins as well.
Since I am such a birth junkie (I am a retired Doula and Birthing From Within Mentor), I thought all of this was super fascinating. He said they all eat their placentas after birth (just like me!). And that he lets the calf nurse for 3 months before weaning her and then bottle feeding her. I wish he would let them nurse longer, some local farms will let them nurse for 6 months or longer. But 3 months is a huge improvement from industrialized dairy farms where they take the newborn away directly after birth and never the two shall meet again.
This is the pump room. He said likes to keep them as relaxed as possible and doesn’t let anyone in to watch or talk while they are pumping, to let them pump in peace. They get more milk when the cows are relaxed. Which cracked me up because I remember trying to figure out a way to pump that was the most relaxing, so I could max out my supply.
The pump. I wonder if the cows hate pumping as much as I did at first? Or if like me, they just got used to it and it became a normal and enjoyable part of life? They all seemed pretty happy to me!
Have you met the cows and farmer who work hard to give you milk? Do you even know where your milk comes from?
Have you ever heard of anyone drinking raw milk?
Or on Facebook!