Friday, January 29, 2010

Febuary Milk

Dear All Raw Milk Fans,
Just a reminder that next week is the beginning of February and pre-payments for milk are due. The cows are on their way to their new home today. Lord bless them and keep them safe. The moving truck is on its way this weekend, and we are moving into the house. That is the news from symphony farm where all the farmers rule at pub trivia, the animals are 100% pregnant, and all the children are a glimmer in our eye!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beef Shares Explanandum

For people who are new to beef shares, this is your crash course. Essentially a beef share is an animal sales transaction. Customers are buying a live animal off of us( the farmers). Animals can be rather expensive, hard to handle and not everyone is cut out for raising their own food, nor does everyone have land and acreage to do it. We sell a live animal certificate of ownership to four parties, constituting four shares. We (the farmers) take the money and manage the grazing, and care of the animal.  The owners of the animals are able to decide when and how to have their animal processed. Control over the timing of slaughter, the slaughter environment and meat custom cutting creates the highest possible quality product for the owners. It allows the owners to specify cuts they would like to receive, and access to all the products a cows has to offer: organ meats, bones, tails ect..
 There is an economic benefit for the farmer. Owners are asked to place deposits on animals early in the season to help cover the cost of operating. This is a wonderful injection of money into the cash flow of the farm, especially in the spring when the farm isn't grossing a whole lot of sales. Farmer has just shilled out an entire winters worth of feed, which ain't cheep, and gardens are not turning off product!The deposits are a welcome site.

     Pre-payment also allows farmer to purchase what is referred to as feeder stock for the owners. These are animals that are raised to a year in age and will be ready to slaughter with in eight months. Purchasing feeder stock in the spring alleviates the need to produce winter feed for an entire herd of cows. Summer time is spent focusing on grazing,  not on hay making and mechanical harvest. Eliminating winter feed as an expense drops the total gross expenses, and therefore drops the overall cost. This allows us to make a healthy profit per head, and provide excellent quality product, and charge reasonable price for the owners. In early fall, the animals are usually at optimum weight and they can be harvested and distributed to the owners. After the slaughter cutting and wrapping, we charge a shipping and handling fee to the owners and collect the rest of the value of the animal. Owners get product that has been running around all summer, eating as much grass as that little bovine could, breathing fresh air, fertilizing the earth, sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere, and becoming juicy steaks, roast, and burger. We welcome the participation of making "Food: by the farmer, for the people"

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Tour through Milking.

I thought it would be nice to provide this online tour of milking and give people better idea with what goes on with the cows at milking time.
     As you can see in the provided photos we dip our cows teats with a cleaning and sanitizing solution. The solution is a hydrogen peroxide based product available from any commercial dairy supplier. The solution leaves little residue and eliminates any bacteria on the milking teat itself.
The second step uses an electric vacuum driven stainless steel milking pail to do the milking for us! This comes complete with a machine or claw that is attached to the teats by suction. Back in the day of our great grandparents, farmers milked with open pails by hand. This allowed for flakes of manure, hair, dirt, hay or anything else from the milking environment to get into the milk. The closed systems provide us with an easy way to make clean milk. When the machine is removed we dip the teats again with the sanitizing solution to insure no bacteria invade the teats post milking.
     After the milking is complete we take it outside and run it through a filter strainer. This filters out any micro particles in the milk. Finally, the stainless steel caldron is pack in snow and ice to facilitate crash cooling, dropping the milk to below 40 degrees with in the hour. Prior to industrial cooling, freon and bulk tanks, our great grandparents cooled the milk with clean spring water that was piped into a small house with a concrete trough.
     We then pack up all the equipment and head to Gary's milk house to wash and sanitize all the equipment with water that approaches 200 degrees, and some good old fashioned FS 100 chlorox sanitizer.