Saturday, January 30, 2010

Holy Cow!

I have a travel log blog (ha!) on our cruise in the que, but I just had to post about this today. This morning Ryan and I took a tour at Superstition Farm. We're really interested in finding out more about our locally grown food, and Superstition Farm is so close we can smell it. No really, we SMELL it.

I follow the Farm on Facebook and Twitter, and decided it was about time I visited the place that Udder Delights comes from. And also? I've never actually met a cow before. They give tours twice on Saturday, so we ran over there this morning at 10am, paid our couple bucks, then were sent in back to meet the 'babies'.

They have an area with 'rescued' animals where you are welcome and encouraged to pet and feed these guys. They have bunnies, chickens (I held one!), goats, a sheep, a tiny donkey, two horses (one is 32 years old. THIRTY TWO! that's unheard of. the other horse was 'rescued' from riding lessons because he kept falling asleep with kids on his back. ha!), and two BABY COWS. Babies! We'll get to them later.

When the tour started, we took a hayride around the farm, and the official farm dog, Toby, jumped right up on the trailer and right into my lap. I think he was tired from Ryan throwing the stick for him so much earlier. When he got tired of me, he moved on to ryan.

We got to see all the cow pens on our tour. The cows are all separated by how pregnant they are (yes, just like humans, milk cows must have babies to produce milk). There's the normal prego areas, the 'vacation' areas (they're due in a few weeks and need a little break), and the maternity area. The maternity area is a little more comfy with a soft bed for them to lay on, and their only job is to become mommy cows. Superstition Farm has about 5 calves born a day, and one was born about an hour before we went through!!

Listen, these cows are treated really well. They are milked two times a day (for which they automatically line up because they're so anxious to get rid of the weight in their udders) and they are bathed two times a day. When they are being milked, their 'homes' are being tended to, including removing manure, which is given to nearby farms to be used. We were really impressed with the fact that Superstition Farm works with local producers to use 'recycled' food for these ladies. They eat the wheat bi-product from a pasta plant on the West side of town mixed with cotton seeds left over from nearby cotton fields. And hay of course.

On to the stars of the show... These two little guys haven't been shipped off to the 'nursery' farm to be bottle fed until they get older because these two are special. This little brown guy is a boy Jersey. Jerseys are smaller and make less milk, BUT the milk they produce is higher in milk fat content. Translation: yummier.

And this little girl, she's here because the owner of Udder Delights thinks her mommy produces the best cream for ice cream. She's a special little girl, and at only a week old she's just getting used to all the attention.

Both these babies are still drinking off the bottle and when they're thirsty, they'll suck on your finger.... or anything else they can find.

If you live in the valley, I cannot more strongly recommend that you visit this amazing little farm. It'll change the way you think about the food you eat, and it'll show you why supporting your local farmers is so important. Oh, and also? Superstition Farm sells cheese (of all sorts), milk, butter and any other thing you can think of right in their store. AND, farm fresh eggs. I can tell you, there's nothing in the world like farm fresh eggs. Oh, and the Farm supports other local guys too. Ryan and I bought a container of Farmer John Milton's salsa and I'm not ashamed to say that we ate that whole freaking thing as soon as we got home, and we're still trying to figure out what the magic ingredient in this stuff is. Salsa crack I tell you...

*Note: if you live in AZ, make sure you buy Shamrock or Lucerene (at Safeway) to ensure your milk is local and fresh. Also, did you know that on average the eggs you buy in the store are already about 30 days old? And they've had the protective layer of 'stuff' removed from the outside to make them look prettier? Buy local. Buy fresh. The end.


Anonymous Shayla said...

We went out to the farm after reading your post- Maddy loved it. Thanks for the idea!

6:43 PM  
Blogger African Kelli said...

Oh my goodness, the baby cows!! Remember when we went to that nativity/Christmas show in college and a cow sucked my thumb and I was wearing your gloves?

1:53 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

Aww... I love the baby cows! My grandparents are retired dairy farmers and my sister and I always begged to go bottle-feed the calves when were visiting. They're so sweet.

4:03 PM  
Blogger indeazgirl said...

Thanks so much for telling me about this place! I'm so excited to come visit!

4:48 PM  
Blogger Mini said...

I had a client who worked at the shamrock milk plant over at the I-17 and I-10 exchange, and he said that the same exact milk goes into the shamrock bottles as the albertsons bottles. literally. just a different label.

7:09 AM  
Blogger atpanda said...

I believe that Min. And in fact, the dairy farmer guy was telling me all the local stores and which brands get the local milk, but I only remembered the Safeway one because that's where I shop.

7:12 AM  

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