Saturday, April 25, 2009

Open Access at Windsor Dairy

In a recent post exploring raw milk, I concluded that because the alleged benefits and safety of raw milk are directly dependent on the living and cleanliness standards of each dairy, one could not safely drink raw milk without seeing first hand the dairy from which the milk is purchased.

This gives me a good reason for a field trip. Bonus - my son is currently going through the obligatory animal obsession phase, so he will probably enjoy it too.

Windsor Dairy is the best known dairy in this area offering raw milk shares*, and conveniently, they also feel pretty strongly that consumers should check out their cows. They require every prospective milk share purchaser to tour the dairy on one of their two weekly tours. So we went, the whole family in tow.

I had no idea what to expect. Having spent my whole life in the suburbs, I'm not even sure that milk comes from cows; I've never seen a live chicken, and I've certainly never seen a baby goat lying asleep with his head nuzzled in the crook of his front leg.

I think I was expecting a big field filled with cows next to an industrial-style milking building, but what I saw was completely surprising.

The farm was like a cross between a petting zoo and a bustling animal city: a city with a downtown (the farmhouse, the shop, the milking building, the chicken coops, the "maternity ward" for young cows and goats and their mothers), a diverse population (cows, chickens, goats, a dog, a horse and a few sheep), rush hour (free range chickens EVERYWHERE), and the burbs (200 acres of pasture just starting to green up).

I was stunned at the perfect balance of manic activity with the easy, timeless pace of nature. The frantic pace of the chickens. (they are so weird that they deserve a post of their own). The heart wrenching cuteness of the kids bumping into each other for access to the trough of hay. The black lab chasing terrified chickens. And all the while, the cows just hanging out watching everything, lazily chewing, chewing, chewing their cud.

In the coming weeks, I'll do a few more posts, one on chickens, just because they're so fun, and the other on the point of my visit - the cows. But before getting into detail, I'll say that the whole place was wonderful, interesting, natural, clean and totally open. It was much more than I'd been hoping to see.

One final note - one of the chicken coops has apparently been taken over by a very exclusive club. See the rules below...

*Colorado is one of many states that prohibits the sale of raw milk. To get around this, raw milk dairies sell shares of cows ... you buy part of a cow for a one-time fee, and then pay a monthly boarding and milking fee to get your milk.

1 Responses (Leave a Comment):

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that chickens could read, who would have thought? (see "rules in the chicken coop" )

Love the pictures!!!!