Dairy Days

We've been talking a lot lately about where our food comes from. We don't drink a lot of cows milk, as I like to mix it up with nut and coconut milks. But my kids do love cheese, yogurt, and ice cream! We went on an adventure to Great Brook Farm in Carlisle to explore their "smart barn."

Observing the animals at Great Brook Farm

Observing the animals at Great Brook Farm

The "robot" that milks the cows -- each cow has a chip that tells the computer the size and shape of her utters, and the robot arm hooks up and milks each cow for 6 minutes, 3-4 times each day. 

The "robot" that milks the cows -- each cow has a chip that tells the computer the size and shape of her utters, and the robot arm hooks up and milks each cow for 6 minutes, 3-4 times each day. 

Inside of the "Smart Barn"

Inside of the "Smart Barn"

The milk storage - it is picked up every-other day by the Family Cooperative and sold to a larger processing plant. 

The milk storage - it is picked up every-other day by the Family Cooperative and sold to a larger processing plant. 

The baby cows live outside in individual pens.

The baby cows live outside in individual pens.

Great Brook is a small New England farm; it was neat to see the robot milking and their Smart Barn up close. The more we know about where our food comes from, the better choices we can make!

The next day, we went to Appleton Farms in Ipswich (Read more about Ipswich in our "Getaway" post!). It's the oldest continuously working farm in America. They have a huge CSA program, a large dairy cow operation, and a beautiful country store with their own milk and lots of local products. We were too late for the farm tour, but they have lots of family programs and cooking workshops that we will go back to check out. In the store, we bought some local honey and a cheese making kit! We made mozzarella the following afternoon - all it takes with the kit is a gallon of whole milk. 

 

 

Making cheese balls and logs - it became more solid and formed after the ice bath!

Making cheese balls and logs - it became more solid and formed after the ice bath!

Our conversations about cows, milk, cheese, and dairy reminded us of a stop we made last year at Stonyfield Farms in Londonderry, NH. While they no longer allow factory tours, we enjoyed their store/Visitor's Center and peeking inside of the large windows at the factory. We love their yogurt and we stocked up on flavors that are hard to find at our local Whole Foods. It's worth checking out if you're on Interstate 93, on the way to or from New Hampshire!

Later, we got to practice milking cows at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence.

As luck would have it, later on in the summer we were on vacation in the midwest and learned about a working dairy farm. We went for a tour and learned how milk was pasteurized and made into cheese.

milk processing .jpg

Sometimes, the best connections are spontaneous! 


Explore More... 

Head to Drumlin Farm's Dairy Day this Saturday, June 11!