This week, if you drove by Cherry Grove on Route 206 you would have gotten quite an eyeful: lean with long, thin legs…big, brown eyes with thick lashes…who are these gorgeous gals hanging out on the farm?
Our dairy herd spent most of the week in the front pastures of the farm. Looking out at them got me to wondering, “does everyone know how great these cows are?” Whether you’re a community member who likes to see the cows nodding their heads at you when you’re stuck in 206 traffic or a frequent visitor to the farm, there’s probably some information about our cows that you don’t know.
Here at Cherry Grove Farm, the cows in our dairy herd are predominantly Jersey Cattle. The Jersey here references Jersey, England, where in 1786 the States of Jersey began a ban on importing any cows to the island of Jersey to protect and promote the growth of a pure Jersey breed. That Jersey breed has now become one of the most coveted dairy breeds in the world.
Jersey cows are often called the “Queen of Breeds” and “naturally produce the highest quality milk for human consumption,” according to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and the American Jersey Cattle Association. More than being delicious and creamy milk (perfect for both drinking and making cheese), Jersey milk is one of the most nutritious cow’s milks available. Jersey milk is 5.5% milk fat, 3.9% protein and 15% milk solids, which makes for ultra creamy milk. For a comparison, Holstein cows’ milk is 3.5% fat, 3.1% protein and 12.2% solids.
The high protein level in Jersey milk is a big help for Sam, our cheese maker. Protein is made up of amino acids, and those acids allow us coagulate the milk and make curds.* The high levels of milk fat and solids in Jersey milk help make those curds extra rich and velvety.
At this point in the spring season, our herd is enjoying sweet grass and the last of the early spring buttercups that inspire our creamy Buttercup Brie. If you want to try the result of their grassy gluttony, stop by to try our Buttercup Brie or fresh cheddar cheese curds– both are young, mild cheeses that aptly exhibit the high quality of Jersey milk. You can pick up any of our cheese at the Farm Store, which is open Thursday through Monday, from 11am to 5pm.
And to see the beauty of the cows, you’re more than welcome to come visit the herd and their playful calves at the farm. We have a daily public milking at 3pm, which all are welcome to attend. In the farm’s Milking Parlour you’ll see Farm Manager Kelly Harding demonstrate how we milk our cow, process the milk and transfer into our cheese room.
* Coming soon: if you’re intrigued by this process and want more information, we’ll also be posting about how milk is transformed into cheese!