On Saturday afternoon, I drove over to the large goat dairy where I had toured last year. Landeria Dairy is a grade A dairy in the state of Kansas, one of two. Their cheeses are sold in numerous outlets, and the dairywoman there makes artisanal cheeses, including many French cheeses that she ages in a unique cheese cave carved out of the ground next to her dairy. She is milking 52 goats at present, with hopes to get to 100.
Here is the cheese room:
That's the bulk tank, into which all the milk just milked is fed by the pipes coming through the wall. The milking room is just on the other side of the windows. I wrote about how these goats are milked last year, search for Landeria Dairy. They are milked in groups of twelve.
Here is the big cheese vat, and the objects on top are the harps with which the curds are cut.
When asked what kinds of cultures she used to make the cheeses, the dairywoman danced around the questions and somewhere in the middle, said it "was a theromophilic vat". I understand from talking to a few goat people yesterday that she is very proprietary, and does not like to give out her secrets.
As she is making her living from this dairy, I quite understand, but I also don't think anyone in the crowd of three was planning on starting their own dairies.
Here is her cheese press, all the way from Holland... and those are three sizes of Swiss cheese being pressed. They require frequent turning, so that you literally cannot set your cheeses and go off and leave them. They start at one pressure and then progress, but must be re-dressed between the pressure being changed.
They are then set to age on shelves she had farther along the wall, in big wheels. I had always read about waxing cheese wheels, but she told me that if she were to wax, the mold would not grow to age the cheese the way that it should, so she does not wax her cheeses. Someone asked for how much a large wheel would sell, and the price was phenomenal to me, I could not have afforded it. The cheeses are then put in the cheese cave to age for months.
At present, there is only one employee working there with her, the young woman who did the milking demonstration last year. When we asked about demonstrations this year, we were told the herd was being milked at 8 AM and 8 PM presently, and that it took 3 1/2 hours from start to finish. Cleaning the milking room, running the girls in 12 at a time, cleaning their udders, hooking up the machine, milking them out, running the next group in, then cleanup after all of this, then feeding....
It was no wonder that the dairywoman looked worn out. She had only one tour helper there, a lady I assumed was her mother, who was watching the sample cheeses. As much as I like goats and want to make cheese, this is far, far too hard.
Some of the lovely ladies whose milk is making the cheese. The herd is French Alpine, and she told us they are all the result of one goat she purchased years ago. She did tell us that for a number of years, she milked 25 goats morning and evening by hand.
In the buck barn, well away from the milking parlor. I didn't like the way this guy was smelling me!
Some of the juveniles in the juvenile pasture. I noticed that none of the bucklings were disbudded... we are talking about 60 some kids here. Some doelings were not disbudded either, but when I asked another goat keeper about it, I was told that if the bucklings were being sold for meat, and there were that many goats, it was doubtful if there was time for disbudding, and only likely that herd replacements would be. I DID notice, however, that plenty of the milking does had horns, too.
Sorry for the shadow in the picture.... I just DID NOT THINK about sun angles.
And... to close... along those lines.... the NIKON BROKE AGAIN, the second one. It will no longer open, just as the first one did. I will be making a stop at Best Buy tomorrow night, and this time asking for my money back. It's ridiculous. I know it has been longer than thirty days, but for pete's sake. I'm going back to Canons, they are sturdy and strong and stand up to being shoved in a pocket and pulled out over and over and over! I was warned by a photographer friend that they are not sturdily made and she can now say she told me so!
One more day of farm tour posts... the pictures tomorrow will be good ones, and a good story!
I leave you with one more picture of the beautiful plant farm from Saturday:
Oh my goodness!
I appreciate your comments, and love to read them. I hope you have enjoyed these tours of our local farms. I really, really enjoy seeing what people are doing on their properties, the things they are doing to be sustainable, and learning about new ways to garden and keep animals.