Spring started out slow for us this year, with only half as many calves born in March as last year. As slow as March seemed to be last month, April was our crazy busy month this spring. We just had our sixtieth calf born on Saturday so we only have around fifteen cows left to calve. The little girl born on Saturday was only our twentieth heifer calf, so we have a lot of little bulls running around in the calf shed. During the first two weeks of April, we were busy dealing with so many calves and trying to make cheese twice a week that we decided to switch to once a day milking for the rest of the month until the grass started growing. We’ve needed rain to help the grass start growing, so we are happy with the last few rainy days!
We are planning to milk twice a day during the month of May while we ship our excess milk to Maryland and Virginia Co-op during our cows’ peak milk production. Last year we had to make cheese four or five times a week just to keep up with the amount of milk that the cows were giving in May and then we had to ship milk in July. This year we want to be able to make the higher quality July milk into cheese and send the extra May milk to the co-op.
We have been making cheese about twice a week all month. We are trying a new storage method for our feta style to hopefully keep the wheels from getting misshapen. For the first time since 2014, we finally made a new batch of Wild Mt. Mushroom cheese – our morel mushroom and herb flavored cheese. We just made the batch at the end of April, so it will be aged sixty days just in time for July 4th.
May is the month of opening farmers markets. Boalsburg Farmers Market moves outside this Tuesday and the Juniata Farmers Market is every Friday inside the Stational Mall in Altoona. Huntingdon Farmers Market starts this Thursday. Ligonier Country Market is our busiest farmers market which is every Saturday morning all summer long starting on May 21st. We are also planning on attending a few special events this month: The Downtown Night Market is this Friday evening, May 6. We will also be attending the Festa NIC Local Food Showcase at the Pleasant Gap Fire Company Carnival Ground on Sunday, May 22.
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