FOR SALE, FROM OUR COWS!
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MEET OUR COWS
We have eight cows at Healing Ponds Farm, and they know their names. You’ll notice many of them have names from India: a part of the world we love to travel.
MILKING & MOTHERING
Ananda (our first, a Jersey) and Gangi (half-Jersey, our breeding heifer) both come trotting when we call them. And both are classed as A1/A2 – we just had them tested.
Here’s how that works: by plucking a hair from a cow’s tail and evaluating the follicle, you can determine whether she’s A1, A2 or a combination of both. Cows that are classed as A2, like the oldest species of traditional dairy animals (goats, yaks, camels), produce a milk that’s easier for people to digest.
When bred to an A2 bull, there’s a 50/50 chance an A1/A2 cow will bear an A2 calf. Which is why we recently ordered semen from an A2 bull (the formidable “Beledene Dukes Landy of Sedalia” of Mountain Run Farm in Sedalia, VA), who descends from a family of grass-fed, A2 dairy cows in New Zealand. (We’re looking forward to meeting the babies!)
Moonie, our nurse cow, is an A1 Jersey, so we don’t milk her. Her job, rather, is to feed our baby bulls. She gave birth to a calf of her own January 2012, though, which means her surrogate sons are now weaned.
As for the other babies – the ones that are born here at Healing Ponds Farm – they simply stay with their mothers: fed and raised by mom.
THE BEEF BRIGADE
Lakshman and Rama are Jerseys too, baby bulls we’re raising for beef.
Nandi is a baby Shorthorn, also destined for the table. He’s the pretty one. We brought him home only 6 hours old, and learned very quickly how hard a baby bull can butt the bottle for more milk! Thankfully, we had Moonie to take over feeding him. (She didn’t seem to mind.)
Then there are the Brown Swiss twins we just acquired: Sophie and Grayson. Because they’re sister/ brother twins, there’s over a 90% chance they won’t be able to reproduce. So, they’re for beef instead.
All of our cows are fed exclusively on Jersey milk and grass; beef is very tasty when raised this way. Ours will be ready for butcher next spring. We’re taking reservations now, though, so if you’re interested, please speak up!
HEALTHY PASTURE, HEALTHY COWS
Our cows grass-fed year-round. We never use anything non-organic on their pasture. Rather, we lime and mineralize with glacier rock dust, encourage a variety of grasses and herbs to coexist, and spray periodically with a mixture of milk molasses and sea salt. This improves the quality of the pasture and ups the brix count.
While we do have a few different breeds in our herd, you might have noticed they’re mostly Jerseys. A heritage breed, Jerseys are smaller than your average cow, weighing only eight to twelve hundred pounds. (Most other breeds are at least twice as heavy.)
Originally from the Channel Island of Jersey, they’ve been around since at least the 1700s. Since the 1800s, they’ve lived in America too. But they’re also related to cattle from Guernsey, Normandy and Brittany, which suggests an older story; the common grandparents of the cattle in all these places seem to have come from the Middle East, taking a slow path across Europe and settling into various regions along the way.
Jerseys produce less milk than a modern breed (say, a Holstein), but it’s creamier, which makes it taste richer. It has lots of minerals and trace elements, it’s higher in calcium and protein, it’s even richer in color – altogether a tastier, more nutritious (some say superior) milk.
Want a taste? Pop over to our milk page for details.