Here are excerpts from a fascinating post on the GrassHappens blog titled “A farmer wears many hats”:
“As a farmer I have worn many hats, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. I have just returned from a three month stay at Glencolton Farms, the home and farm of Michael Schmidt, a prominent figure in the national and North American raw milk debate. My intention for heading up there was to learn about dairy farming….”
“….From five to eight in the morning the barn crew caters to the needs and whims of our cows. Olga needs a bit more straw in her bed since she is a messy cow, Liova likes a good scratch at the base of her horns before I sweep, and Lola always goes first into the parlor. The barn is set up in what is called “tie stall and gutter” configuration, this means that the cows that are being milked are chained to their stall where they are fed. The cows have plenty of space to move and lie down and they have four hours each day to be outside in the barn yard, but the rest of the day they are held in their tie stalls….”
“….Hat #2: The hair-net. Usually after barn and breakfast I head down to the cheese house. The cheese house is located right next to the milking parlor and the milk comes in from the parlor after the cows are milked and is stored in a bulk tank, which you can see behind us. The cheese house must be kept extremely clean, that means when I first step inside the entrance-way and before going through the plastic curtain, I change my boots, my shirt, put on an apron, a hair net and the quintessential beard net (which is terribly uncomfortable I would like to add). Here Felicity and I are bottling milk, we bottle the raw milk into one and two liter bottles that have been sterilized in our industrial dishwasher. The bottles are stored in the walk in cooler in those wooden boxes you can see. We are in the process of bottling about 720 liters, or about 190 gallons of milk.
Other weekly activities in the cheese house include: making cheese, quark, cultured milk and lots of dish washing. We make many different types of cheese, though the selection varies from week to week, mostly we make soft cheese, Mountain Swiss basement cured cheese, Feta cheese, Camembert and quark. Quark is a soft spreadable cheese, similar to cream cheese, but it has more cultured tang to it. We also make a low temperature yogurt that we call culture milk. Milk used for yogurt is usually heated to 180 F (milk is usually pasteurized at 161 F) and then the culture is added and it is incubated at roughly 110 F for six to eight hours. Our culture milk is kept raw, the culture is added to the warm milk after milking, then it is bottled and put in a baking proofer which is set to approximately 125 F. It cultures there for almost 24 hours. Because of the lower temperatures the culture milk keeps the qualities of raw milk and is much less acidic than conventional yogurt….”