Did you know cows are fantastic converters? It’s true! Feed them well, keep them happy, and they will produce a delicious, creamy, nutritious, white substance commonly known as milk! Not to mention all the yummy things we can make from milk like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. All of which we make in the cheese plant!
Growing up, we always drank thick, unpasteurized milk, so to this day “store bought” milk just tastes wrong. Though the bacteria’s in raw milk may cause tummy issues for those not accustomed to it, farm kids grow up having a big ‘ol glass with their meat and potatoes every night! I guess that’s how we became “milk snobs”.
Appel Farms is a 3rd generation, family run farm.This means ever since my Pake (Grandpa) purchased the farm in the mid 60’s, the family has been very hands on in making sure our herd is provided for in the best possibly way. We’ve always made it a point to go above and beyond state requirements so the next generation has a strong foundation to grow from. This starts with a very clean, comfortable environment. The milk cows are housed in a large, open air barn which is cleaned constantly. Our family/employees spend lots of time cleaning feed alleys, scrubbing down equipment, and making sure the bedding is fresh and clean. Just how the cows like it!
Our herd is fed a mixture of corn and grass, (which we grow ourselves) along with grain from the Midwest, and hay from the warmer (less rainy) areas of our state. This diet is personally designed for them by a professional nutritionist…I don’t know about you, but I would love to have a professional nutritionist design every meal for me! By closely monitoring their diets and giving them consistently high quality feed, we are able to ensure our milk (and the products we make from it) are an equally high quality. You get out what you put in!
The cows are milked 3 times a day, everyday. Besides contributing to top milk production, this also keeps the cows more comfortable in their down time. Our milk is then transferred into HUGE cooling tanks where it awaits to either be turned into one of our artisan cheeses or to be picked up by a milk distributor.
Long story short , the better we take care of our cows the more they produce higher yields of top quality milk. Not to brag on my Dad and his crew (okay maybe a little…proud daughter moment!), but we yearly win awards for top notch milk quality! Cleanliness, consistency, and closely monitoring their diets and activity make for some very content cows. Happy cows make happy farmers. 🙂