At 4 p.m. on the dot, 135 cows plod in single file toward the milking parlor at The Brick, Bill Dix and Stacy Hall’s 300-acre farm in Southeast Ohio’s Meigs County. The animals queue up five abreast in a holding pen that resembles a large picnic shelter. They wait patiently, snuffling softly, their big, long-lashed eyes registering nothing but calm.
A floppy-hatted farmhand, petite and tough as nails, guides the cows into the parlor, affixes the vacuum milking equipment, and speaks gently to them as they milk and munch the handful of grain they regard as a treat. Ten minutes later, they’re moving back down the fenced lane toward an open paddock. This scene will repeat at sunup tomorrow, twice a day, 365 days a year. This is the rhythm of a dairy farm.
I witnessed this scene recently on a visit to the Brick and Snowville Creamery (which produces the milk that we pour on cereal and that I use for homemade yogurt, along with the cream that I use for homemade butter).
The full story about this group of dedicated farmers and local food advocates appears in the summer issue of Edible Ohio Valley magazine. You can read The Tao of Dairy online here. And check out this older post about Why Local Food Matters.