Monday, March 09, 2009

A trip to a local dairy

Today we headed up to Lindsay, Ca., to visit a dairy farm and learn about their artisan cheesemaking. Hilarides Dairy is a third-generation family farm. Their award-winning Three Sisters Farmstead Cheese was named for the farmer's three daughters, who do much of the cheesemaking.

Nine thousand cows live on the farm. Four times a day, they make their way into the milking barn, and line up for their turn on the milking merry-go-round. The dairy's two "cow carousels" allow 160 cows to be milked at a time -- 80 on each.


We watched the workers clean the cows' udders and hook them up to the milking hoses. The cows are surprisingly graceful and orderly as they enter and exit the carousel. They seemed almost eager for their turn on the ride!

Lindsay Hilarides, the middle of the Three Sisters, led our tour, walking us through the new "Cheese Theatre," and letting the kids hold the giant, moldy cheese wheels which were aging in a huge refrigeration room upstairs.


The farm is apparently the only dairy in the country to be generating all of its own electricity and biofuel using the manure produced by its cows. The Halirides' fleet of trucks runs on the farm's biofuel. Very cool!


But I think the kids' favorite part was just hanging out with the cows after the tour...


And, of course, I had to bring some of the delicious Serena cheese home to share with hubby. It's an Italian-style hard cheese, somewhat like Parmesan. Yum!


Edited to add: Go check out more fun field trips at Jena's Virtual Field Trip collection!

12 comments:

mandi said...

ok- it's official- i wish we were neighbors!
at first i was a littl grossed out by the 9000 cow thing, but to see how well the looked cared for made me feel better. phew! but getting to see all that cheese is amazing! i bet it was delicious!

btw- thanks for putting pics in that my 2 year old could find entertaining enough to sit quietly next to me- big truck, your littlest boy with his truck, cows...

aswewalk said...

What an awesome trip!! I just love it.

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

What an interesting day - and a delicious one, from the looks of it!

Maureen said...

We're 20 minutes from this dairy and have never gone.....duh!!!

Thanks for inspiring us to take our own 'field trip'.

Kat said...

How cool that they generate all their own electricity. Great trip, thanks for sharing.

Jena said...

Hey, I'm adding this to the Virtual Field Trip right now! Great stuff. Thank you!!

daylightrising said...

AAAAA! I want one of those cows. Little brown Jerseys are my very favorite. My dream is to one day have a little farm, with an alpaca, some chickens and a sweet little brown dairy cow.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

Hi Amanda, thanks for inviting me along. I had a great time. The trip to Starbucks was definitely a highlight! L.O.L.

Iris said...

Poor Cows:(

Iris said...

I guess this means you aren't sick anymore! yay!

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing the experience with us all.

princessmama said...

That's cool they generate their own electricity and fuel!

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