I attended another CRAFT meeting this month, this time in Cornwall Bridge at Local Farm. Local Farm is a small raw milk dairy. Debra currently has about 10 cows, mostly Old World Jerseys which are 5 to 10 inches shorter than Standard Jerseys.
Debra explained to us her rotational grazing techniques, which have allowed the pasture land to flourish since she first began to farm here. Moving the cows from pasture to pasture at just the right times allows the grasses to grow and mature at a rate that improves the pasture land and provides optimal grazing for her cows.
When we went into the pasture, the cows came up to see who we were. They were very friendly, and enjoyed being scratched and petted. Debra raises her cows to be familiar with human contact. One of her passions is providing families with the traditional “family milking cow.” The smaller size of the Old World Jersey makes it ideal for a familycow. They eat less than the standard cow, and also produce less milk.
Debra usually uses a small milking machine to milk her cows one at a time, but for this occasion, she showed us how to milk a cow by hand. Debra has been familiar with dairy cows all her life. Her father worked for the well known Hoarde’s Dairyman publication. Debra worked for awhile on her aunt and uncle’s dairy farm as a young adult. She has a great love and appreciation for dairy cows.
Debra patiently and thoroughly answered all of our questions, and gave us a great tour. We ended the afternoon by eating our potluck meal in the door of the barn. Although it was raining lightly out, it was a beautiful fall day. All of these CRAFT meetings that I attend are in the Western part of Connecticut, and I am struck every time by the beauty of this part of the state. Not only do I love these meetings because I get to see other farms and learn new things, but I also get to explore this beautiful part of the state.