Dear Farm Friends,
Happy July! I will be writing my column again the last week of this month, but today I have a letter to share from Samantha, who lives on an organic farm in Maine. — James
How are you doing? Since school got out in June, my sister Natasha and I have been working for our neighbor Bill on his strawberry farm. He is fun to be around and we get to earn a little extra money picking strawberries for him. We are also going to two different farmers markets and just plain working on the farm. We have been doing a lot of cooking and a lot of chores
On our farm we raise 150 milking cows and 30 beef as well as goats, sheep, chickens, llamas, alpacas, turkeys and of course a lot of barn cats! The cows get a supply of water they can drink any time and get corn or grass silage with grain in the morning. The cows are let out to pasture every day after milking. We milk cows twice a day. We also have two bulls and about 40 calves. The calves are fed twice a day. The cows 5 months and younger are fed bottles with milk grain, hay and water. The older calves are fed the same feed as the milking cows. My dad Gregg and his assistant Andrew do most of the fieldwork to harvest the crops for the cows.
I have been milking cows and helping out with the cows lately, along with my dad?s milkers: Tara, Matt, Frank, Danny, and Lisa.
We have about 15 milking goats and two bucks, and about 20 baby goats were born this year. All the goats are fed water, hay, grain and sometimes silage. The baby goats are fed warm milk, water, grain and hay.
We milk the goats twice a day. My mom's main assistant Sarah milks goats every morning except Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Natasha and I milk on those mornings; we also milk most evenings. Each time we milk, we get about five gallons of milk, which our mom Gloria uses to make the best cheese in the world. She makes cheeses like Chevre, Blue cheese, Carfilly and double Gloucester.
Mom sells most of the cheese in her organic natural goods store, along with fresh veggies, milk, bread and of course her famous cinnamon rolls and cookies. The store is open 7 days a week, weekdays 6 to 6 and weekends 8 to 5. Right now Mom is also planting all of her seedlings and veggies. She farms about two acres in veggies and cut flowers.
Natasha and I hope you are having a good summer.
Farm Fact: The amount of milk produced each year by a cow can be increased by a proper diet. Dairy cows usually receive 1 pound of grain for every 4 to 6 pounds of milk. Cows eat a lot of good quality forages to make milk, too. One gallon of milk is equal to 8.6 pounds of milk.