Vacation month – February 2017

We are still waiting for our first significant snowfall. We had a little over an inch the other week, but it only lasted about four hours until the sun came out and melted it all. Our thermometer read sixty degrees this week, so we are wondering if Punxsutawney Phil is a little wrong this year. It looks like we might get some snow tonight, and then warmer weather for the weekend.

We will stop milking the last group of cows this weekend, to start their month’s sabbatical. All our milk customers have been buying extra milk to freeze enough to make it until March. Unless we end up selling a few of the cows due later in April and May, we will have 70 new baby cows born this spring. The first calves are due the second week of March. However, just like humans, sometimes they choose to come early or late.

While we take a vacation from milking, it’s time to plan our new cheesemaking year. We look at our sales and inventory changes over the past year. Using that data, we see what we need to make more of and what we need to make less often. We also go over our recipes to see how we can improve each step of the way.

While attending a meeting between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture sanitarians, Food and Drug Administration inspectors, and the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild last fall, we learned that the Pennsylvania code of regulations regarding raw milk cheese is much more restrictive than the federal code. We were told that raw milk cheese is legal after aging 60 days at not less than 35°F. The Pennsylvania regulations includes only hard cheeses as defined as less than 39% moisture and more than 50% milk fat solids. According to those regulations, our Alpha and Omega, Pirate Blue, and Galen’s Good Old cheeses may not be allowed to be sold as younger cheeses in Pennsylvania.

If you enjoy our cheeses, please consider writing a letter to:
Secretary of Agriculture Russel C. Redding
2301 N. Cameron St.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Ask him to change the Milk Sanitation Regulation 59a so we can continue to produce and sell these cheeses.

Because February is our slowest month at the creamery, we decided to offer a Valentine’s Cheese Lover’s Special. Any cheese ordered on Valentines Day and paid at delivery or before shipping will receive a discount off the current price.

We will be attending the PA Garden Show of York on March 3-5. While our cows are taking a vacation, we are also taking a short break from our farmers’ markets. Anthony will not be back at the Juniata Farmers Market in Altoona until the third week of March. Terry will be at Boalsburg Farmers Market this Tuesday, Feb. 14, and then she won’t be back until the second week of March.