April showers? ….well we got them in the end. Several weeks without rain was causing us some alarm and we were concerned we may have had to bring the cows back inside as they were running out of grass and it wasn’t growing back. But crisis over, the weather seems to be making up for it now. Our four new Friesian cows from Kirkham Organic farm have settled in nicely, we’ve called them Lisa, Lottie, Clara & Lyra. They’ve joined the rest of the milking herd who are spending all day outside on fresh pasture. Lyra and Clara calved a week ago, which brings the total number of cows we’re milking to 13. Both produced daughters who will grow up to be replacement milking cows. Having two cows calf at the same time during the spring is not something we’ve gone through before. When the cows first go out to pasture around this time of year, while the conditions are at their best for nutrient-rich grass growth, the milk yield from each individual goes through the roof! It’s called the spring flush and as the nature of our business requires us to have a consistent amount of milk week in week out to meet our direct sales, ideally we try not to get our cows’ in-calf ready for spring. We would rather they calf at times of the year when the conditions dictate that milk yields will be lower, so that a new face in the parlour can boost the overall output when the rest of the herd may be producing a bit less and so that it keeps a steady and consistent quantity in the tank.
This all means we’re absolutely flooded with milk at the moment. But we can’t really complain… is better to have too much than not enough! And after a very barren winter compounded by the loss of two cows who tested positive for TB, the contrast between then and now is stark. Just as we must make do (and would never buy in milk) when times are hard, we must get creative and find ways to use up the milk during this glut. We’ll be able to make ice cream every week, we’ll be returning to the farmer’s market on Saturday’s, the calves are being fed as much milk as they can manage, Lyra and Clara’s calves will stay with their mothers a lot longer than usual, and you can rest assured should anyone like to increase their dairy orders, we can gladly accommodate any additions you may require.
Thank you for all the feedback (and the repeat orders) on the new vanilla ice cream we made last month. We were very happy with the final batches, and with the response we received to the ice cream made using cream and water. Now that we’re in the spring flush and have loadsamilk!, we will return to making ice cream using recipes that require milk and cream. By Friday this week we should have Fior di Latte and Stracciatella ice creams available, and we anticipate they’ll be a new flavour ready each week while we go through the spring flush. Please keep an eye on the frozen goods link below over the coming weeks to see which of the other flavours come back in stock. While it’s unlikely we’ll be using the cream-based recipe again any time soon, having the knowledge that we can make ice cream without milk will hopefully mean ice cream production is more of a year round thing. Once the cow’s yields drop again next winter and there’s no excess milk, we should still be able to have a steady flow of ice cream accumulating in the freezers made from excess cream, and not have to go several months without ice cream as was the case this winter.