As a cheese maker, a mom, a consumer and a 2015 Illinois Farm Family City Mom, I was delighted to be invited to tour the Dean Foods and one of their suppliers, Lindale Holesteins’, a local, family owned Dairy Farm.
The Lindale Farm is located about an hour and a half from my home outside Chicago. It is amazing how quickly city life and strip malls are replaced by rolling fields and livestock. The farm is beautiful and looks just like you wish all farms would look. There is no sign of factory farming here. The animals are in open air pens with plenty of room to move around and bedding deep enough to lose little boy blue. The animals are let out to pasture twice a day, and they looked pretty content cozying up to each other. Children and dogs are running around and most of the family is involved in the operation. There is also a veterinarian on staff that manages the feed and health of the animals.
The actual milking takes place twice a day and it takes 3 1/2 hours each time. That is 7 hours a day, 365 days a year. What a responsibility! Although they have state of the art milking equipment, it is still a hands on operation. The cows are led into the milking parlour. Their udders are cleaned by hand and they are then hooked up to the pump. Once the flow subsides, the pump automatically disconnects from the udders and the cows are sent back out of the parlour. The milk is stored in tanks and never touches human hands or the air. Once it gets to Dean’s, it will be pasteurized.
This visit to a family owned dairy farm was wonderful. The animals are treated well and the family takes pride in providing our community clean, safe milk.
Bread and Homemade Butter
The kids were a little stir crazy after two half days at school this week. One was sick so we couldn’t really leave the house and their making forts out of my furniture was starting to get on my nerves. So, I decided to come up with a kitchen project for the 3 of us to do while the little one gorged on Pedialyte popsicles and watched TV in the guestroom all day. I always have stacks of recipes, notes and cookbooks lying around. The note about making butter had been waiting for me for weeks, but I never had time to do it. Today, we had nothing but time and since I have been prepping all week to teach a cheese making class, I just happened to have 2 pints of heavy cream.So, the kids rallied and washed their hands. We poured the cream into my KitchenAid and measured the salt. Unfortunately, I started the mixer a little too high and suddenly everyone in a four County radius ended up splattered with cream. The kids thought that was hilarious. I kind of did, too.
- Kneading the Butter
After about 5 minutes of mixing, I lost my sous chefs. They went back to ransacking my house while I waited for my cream to stop looking like whipped cream. Had it not been for the salt, I might have stopped the mixer and grabbed a spoon. I love whipped cream. But, I was committed to this little project even if my helpers were not. After about 10 more minutes the cream broke and suddenly I had beautiful yellow butter sloshing around in buttermilk. My 8 year old decided she had to see that I actually made butter so she came back and helped me knead the butter to release the rest of the liquid. We cannot wait to make buttermilk pancakes tomorrow.