Our annual herd check up – June 2017

Our cows enjoying the full pastureIt’s has been a wet month in Morrison’s Cove so far. The grass is growing quickly, and the cows disappear into it whenever we open a new section for them to eat. It’s almost like they are swimming in grass!

Our annual veterinarian herd check took place this past week. Dr. Kendra Itle took blood samples from every cow on our farm older than two years old. The samples are tested for brucellosis. Dr. Itle also performed a tuberculosis test on each cow. We have to do this every year to sell raw milk and to ensure that all of our milk-producing cows are healthy.

After all of the tests, Dr. Itle checks each cow to make sure she is healthy after calving. Now that we are heading into June, it’s time to start breeding. During the month of June, we breed our cows via artificial insemination. Dave picks out bulls that are good for grazing, as well as having A2A2 genetics and good milk properties for cheesemaking.

We are down to only nine calves drinking milk. We have weaned all the bulls and older heifers off of milk. All of them are out eating grass and drinking the whey leftover from making cheese.

Last week was one of those weeks. On Monday we turned on the vacuum packer to package cheese and it wouldn’t work. Of course, it was a holiday, so we couldn’t call the repair person until Tuesday. After two days on the phone with him (the company is in Harrisburg), we decided it was the control board which they had to ship from California. There was a mix up in shipping and they lost the shipment over the weekend, so we were without a vacuum packer for nine days. We are grateful for Central Penna Scale Co. for tracking down the part and for Country Smokehouse who let us use their vacuum packer so that we would still have cheese to take to market.

While we were waiting for the part to come, we accidentally fried the scale that we use to weigh the wedges for sale. Luckily, we had an ancient one that Dave got from one of his uncles many years ago that we were able to use until the new scale came.

Four Leaf Clover – our matured cheddar – was our most popular cheese in May. Bruschedda is our second best seller at market right now. Everyone loves the pizza flavor that the basil, garlic, and dried tomatoes gives to our cheddar.

Our summer farmers’ market season is here. Boalsburg Farmers’ Market is in the Boalsburg Military Museum parking lot on Tuesday afternoons. Huntington Farmers’ Market is held on Thursdays. Juniata Farmers’ Market is inside the Station Mall in Altoona every Friday. Ligonier Country Market is every Saturday morning.

Well, that’s all the news from our farm and cheese cellar for the month. Would you like to get our 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.

Dave & Terry Rice and family