Our pastures have turned brown during the month of July. We’ve only had a few scattered showers all month except for the last weekend of July. The inch of rainfall should help the pastures grow a little again. We’ve still been feeding the cows stored dry hay. We need a good week of a slow steady rain to get the grass growing again.
All of our calves are weaned now and out eating the pastures down by the creek. The creek has kept the grass there is still growing a little. They also drink the leftover whey from cheese making which keeps them growing. We will keep them here at the farm until around Christmas. That’s when we bring the yearlings home from our heifer farm and haul the calves over there to grow until next year.
This first week of August is our local 4-H dairy show. Our two youngest children (the only ones in 4-H anymore) are exhibiting their animals. Austin is taking his eight-year-old Brown Swiss, Iris. Vannika is showing Sweet Dreams, her yearling Milking Shorthorn. Due to our grazing practices, our cows usually don’t match the size of prize-winning cows, but we view it as a fun week to spend time with some of our neighbor farming families.
We have to plan our schedule for cheese making around the dairy show, so we are glad to be only making twice a week now. Our cheese cellars are also filling up, so we have to be a little more strategic to get enough shelf space to fit each new batch. It is always a challenge to project what we will need sixty days in advance.
Dave and Terry spent the last week of July attending the American Cheese Society annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa. They learned new ideas for food safety and how to implement those strategies. The FDA held a panel on new regulations and how they will affect our family business. They gained technical information that will improve our aging rooms. The true highlight was meeting other cheese makers from all over the US, and hearing their stories and experiences. The Festival of Cheese Saturday night gave everyone a chance to taste the Award winning cheeses, plus all of the other 1606 entries in the Contest. They returned home late the night of August 1st, which is why our newsletter was a little late this month so that we could include some updates from their trip.
We cut open a new batch of our Alpha and Omega mid-July, which we tried to store in a different manner. It didn’t turn out quite the way we expected. This batch is a lot more buttery and creamy, but less crumbly than usual. We still think it tastes great! It even helped a local restaurant win an award at the Golden Basket competition at Boalsburg Farmers’ market.
Well, that’s all the updates for this month. Would you like to get these newsletters every month via email along with our monthly cheese inventory? you can sign up for our monthly updates via the form at the bottom of our How to Purchase page. Thank you to all of you who support our family farm and allow us to keep making great products.