"All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow." ~ Grant Wood
Marmie and Me, at Fingerlakes Dexter Creamery.
Did you know the Irish Dexter cattle are a triple-purpose, sustainably-sized breed with exceptionally rich and healthy milk and meat? Like our sheep, being small in size, they have minimal physical impact on their environment, they are able to subsist on grass and provide multiple delicious and healthy products from one cow. They come in black, red and occasionally a dun color and are horned or polled. For more information, click HERE for the American Dexter Cattle Association. We also suggest you visit the Fingerlakes Dexter Creamery site by clicking HERE. We visited two summers while looking for a source for a cow to fit into our farm and family plan. Why so far away from us? The Dexter herds around us are used mainly for only beef, no-one is milking them. This would make for a challenging, poor, and possibly unsafe start. While visiting the Creamery, we met, and I fell in love with, a sweet and beautiful little red cow named "Marmie".
UPDATE! When you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours. - We thought we'd lost Marmie once she came up for sale earlier this year, but lo and behold, a wonderful Mother's Day and birthday gift to me, I learned she will be joining our family after all! So exciting! NOTE: Marmie will be arriving sometime Friday, June 19th!!
We went and visited Marmie on Sunday, May 24 and had a wonderful day. We rubbed, brushed and I kissed Marmie! After a milking tryout, we placed a deposit on her and hope to bring her home in a few weeks. She is due to freshen the end of August, so the sooner we can carefully "moo"ve her the better. I can hardly wait to see her knee deep in our grass, or to have her delicious, healthy natural milk to drink and make butter, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream and more with! We are so looking forward to getting away from the basically, well, poisonous milk sold in grocery stores. Although most of the time we do buy milk from a local dairy that does not use hormones or other chemicals with their cows, and the cows are lucky to get outside on some grass, the milk is still pasteurized. We can get "cream line" milk there, too, so one toxicity treatment - homogenization- is taken out of the process. The cheeses made at Fingerlakes Dexter Creamery, found at kefircheese.com, are unbelievably delicious! Read on for more info about Dexters and producing your own milk.
Dexters tend to be so gentle, they often will become surrogate Moms for other calves, accepting and feeding as many as four calves. This would enable us, if we wished, to grow larger steak by putting a contemporary breed calf on the the cow for her to raise. But, we likely won't. Smaller portions are the trend, anyway! As far as milk, Dexters produce a LOT for their size, rivaling some contemporary dairy breed. They are far more efficient to keep for milk, because they eat far less than contemporary dairy cattle. A Dexter is far more productive, also, because her average lifespan is about 18 years, some longer. Compare this to about 8 to 10 for your high average Holstein. A cow, specifically the Dexter, fits into our sustainable agricultural practices to benefit our other animals, our land and ourselves. She and her calf or calves will follow in order through our rotational pasturing system, providing an additional type of fertilizer, a different form of grazing and will aid in the natural control of internal parasites by adding another level of life-cycle interruption. The sheep will graze first, the cows 2nd and the hens and broilers last. Being last, the poultry will consume parasite eggs and larvae, and spread the manure as they scratch and forage.
What a Dexter cow thinks of store milk...
We are eager to replace store milk with our own fresh for many reasons - reduce the risk of heart disease which homogenized milk can cause, reduce the potential intake of unknown hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified sources (corn, soy, etc.). We will reduce our own carbon footprint further by removing ourselves from involvement in the carbon fuels used for planting and harvesting the grains and products used for feed for conventional dairy farms, transporting the raw milk, the energy used to process the milk into various products we will otherwise now produce ourselves; the carbon fuels used to transport those products to the stores where we currently acquire them. Additionally, virtually all milk and milk products sold in standard grocery stores is supplied in plastic containers, jugs, or plastic coated cartons. We will be eliminating our consumption of plastics chemicals leaching into our milk products
The Irish Dexter, being a multi-purpose breed, we will eventually have our own milk, butter, yogurt and cheese, as well as our own beef, and lets not forget, ICECREAM! Here is an article about the Dexter Cow.
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The Bradt Family
450 Long Road,
East Berne, NY 12059 (518) 872-9081