This delicious collection of Our Favorite Milk, Cream, Yogurt and Cheese Recipes and my visit to a CT dairy farm was sponsored by the dairy farm families of New England. All opinions are 100% mine. #TeamDairyNE #JuneDairyMonth
A few weeks ago, I had the huge pleasure of joining my fellow Team Dairy New England Bloggers on a tour at Freund’s Farm – a wonderful dairy farm and market in East Canaan, Connecticut.
I was amazed to learn about everything that goes into raising dairy cows! From now on – any time I drink a glass of milk, eat a slice of cheese, or make some of our favorite milk, cream, yogurt and cheese recipes – I will think of the hard-working, innovative, and passionate dairy farmers I met earlier this month.
The Freund’s Farm story is quite a remarkable family affair – what started as a corn stand on the side of the road back in 1953, has grown to a popular farm market selling fresh produce and plants, gift items and baked goods, a catering business made with ingredients grown on the farm, a profitable dairy operation (much more on that below), and it is also home to CowPots – biodegradable gardening pots made from composted cow manure from the Freund’s farm.
Rachel Freund, a third-generation dairy farmer gave our group a tour of her family’s farm.
Freund’s Farm is home to 300 cows that produce more than 2,000 gallons of milk every day for consumption and cheese production. The Freund family has invested heavily in the latest dairy farming technology to assist with caring for their cows.
A barn on the property includes five robotic milkers – and the Freunds were the first farm in Connecticut to invest in this technology. Their cows literally line up to be milked when they are ready! When it’s her turn, the cow walks into the stall and is given some grain to eat while the robotic milker washes her udders – then a laser guides the milking cups onto the udders for milking. The robot can detect when the cow’s milk flow slows and it automatically stops milking. The cows then go on their way, resting and feeding some more.
The same barn was built with excellent ventilation to ensure good air quality for the animals, plus water beds and back scratchers are provided for the cows’ comfort.
I know – it almost sounds like a day at the spa for these cows, but making milk is very hard work for these animals. It’s important to treat them well and keep them happy!
And a bit more technology…another robot helps keep the feed neat and tidy in the barn and also within the cows’ reach so they continue to feed. (Feeding is so important to ensure the cow’s active production of milk.)
All of the cows are fitted with electronic collars so the Freunds can monitor their animals’ activity levels, feeding habits, and even when the cows are in heat. This technology also helps the farmers detect illness, so they can help the cows get well sooner.
Expectant cows are housed in a special maternity barn, where they are fed a special diet before they calve. They are free to move around or rest on water beds. Cows who are ready to give birth are also closely monitored with electronic collars so the farmers can watch their health and activity levels, and they are given their own private stall in the barn as they give birth.
Young, baby cows are kept in their own barn on the farm where they stay until they are weaned. Then the babies are sent to another farm in Pennsylvania – and the heifers return to the herd at Freund’s Farm two months before their due date to have their first calf.
The Freund family has a true spirit of innovation – from installing solar panels on their property, to managing the waste from their cows via a ‘digester’ system, as well as their commitment to their local environment and community.
Before our tour ended, we were treated to a wonderful lunch prepared by Theresa Freund, who runs the Freund’s Farm Market and catering business. We were treated to all sorts of wonderful dishes – made with dairy of course – and other vegetables grown on the Freund’s farm. We were also gifted with a copy of The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food From American’s Dairy Farmers* – a wonderful collection of recipes showcasing the taste of dairy including milk, cream, yogurt and cheese. (*affiliate link) Inside, you’ll also read about the lives of hard-working dairy farmers across the country.
To learn more about Freund’s Farm Market, visit them online.
June is National Dairy Month! What better way to celebrate than with a cold glass of milk and some delicious recipes made with milk, cream, yogurt and cheese. Here are some of our favorites: