Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Switch To Local Milk and Garden Update

We recently started buying local milk. We are lucky enough to have a local farm that produces milk from cows who are raised humanely, fed on pasture and grains grown on the same farm, and never receive additional hormones. Homeland Creamery is in Julian, NC and I'm hoping to be able to take a trip out to the farm in the next few months. Cows who are grass-fed are healthier animals and their milk is healthier. Homeland Creamery does use some grain but I am happy that they're on pasture much of the time.



The milk is pasteurized (raw milk is illegal in NC) in such a way as to retain the creaminess of the milk. Since I can't drink milk (due to IBS), I had Jon do a taste test. I had him taste the 2% milk from the store and then the 2% from Homeland Creamery. He knew instantly which was the "new" milk because he said it tasted much creamier. He said the store bought 2% tasted like water in comparison.

There's a small store on the way to preschool that carries Homeland Creamery's milk. It is more expensive then the milk I used to buy at Walmart but only by $1.50 a gallon. That may sound like a lot but when I did the math and realized that our 10 gallons a month would only cost us an extra $15, we decided it was worth it. That's less then it would cost for us to go out to eat. I'm happy to support a local farm that raises their animals humanely, the milk tastes better, and the milk is better for my family.



They also sell homemade butter. We don't go through much butter since Jon and kids mostly just use it on toast so this pound of butter should last a long while.



The last thing I bought was a half gallon of heavy cream. The ice cream recipe I use calls for 1 cup of cream (along with 3 cups of whole milk) so I divided the rest up into freezer containers and now I have 7 cups of cream in the freezer ready for the next batch of ice cream.





I made Jon and the kids some strawberry ice cream over the weekend. Jon said it should be a crime to eat something that good. I used my go-to ice cream recipe and added about 1/2 cup of strawberry jam from last year's strawberries. It's not very often that I get sad about not being able to eat dairy, but I have to admit that I really wanted some of this ice cream.





Now for the garden update...




The seeds I planted a few weeks ago weren't as successful as I had hoped. I had less then 1/2 of my seeds germinate. I spent a few mornings this week getting the garden ready for the second round of seeding.


This lettuce is coming up pretty well. There are bare spots but I'm wondering if maybe I'll try to transplant some of my thinnings in a week or two to help fill in the bare spots.




The sugar snap peas are really starting to grow. I transplanted some of the plants from the other end of the bed to make a more dense patch of peas. The transplants are doing well.




My swiss chard plant that survived the winter is doing really well. I'm going to be harvesting some to add to soup later this week.




So, after I weeded the teeny, tiny weeds that had sprouted everywhere, I put up the garden fence. We have quite a few wild rabbits in the woods behind our house and one groundhog who I assume will be making an appearance again soon. I don't want to risk having my little plants eaten.




I replanted the beds that didn't have much success the first time around. I interplanted some beds. My broccoli beds now have musclun greens and spinach planted with it. My carrot bed has now been seeded with mustard greens (I've never tried them before... that's some of the fun of a garden). I planted spinach around the edge of the kohlrabi bed. I put in lettuce seeds just about anywhere I thought they'd fit. Hopefully these seeds will germinate better and we'll have a full salad bowl in a month or so.



I'm hoping this picture will look much different next month.




This weekend I'm hoping to get back garden ready for planting. I'm going to be buying my tomato plants and putting in seeds for summer veggies soon. Now, as long as Mother Nature cooperates, we'll be eating well this summer.

I've linked this post up with Simple Lives Thursday.

8 comments:

Deb said...

What a lovely garden Becky! I'm sorry the seeds didn't do as well as hoped but I think transplanting the thinnings is a great idea! I love the clean stage of the garden as much as the productive stage. Wonderful job finding the milk! I think it's wonderful and love the lack of growth hormones! And like the commercial almost says "happy cows make good milk"!! Way to go! That ice cream looks soooooo good! Love you, Momma

katiegirl said...

Great job voting with your food dollars! It's great to find a local farm that farms responsibly! That ice cream looks sooo darn good!

The garden is looking good. You've done a lot of work with it! It will be so nice when all of your salad greens are ready for harvest. I am excited to see the updates!

Grammy said...

The ice crean looks really good: The Garden is doing good also. wish I could start a garden that early I have at least a month yet before I can start to plant O well someday Granny

Kelly said...

Buying local is the best way to support farms. I'm sorry that unpasturized milk is illegal in your area. That is a crime in itself. The garden will grow, you have the heart. I neeeeeeeed some of that ice cream. Great job!

~Sara said...

Wow your ice cream looks amazing! We have been purchasing local milk as well. Love my local producers!

Your garden is coming along. I live in Iowa and I am anxious to plant the rest of my garden. Got my peas, lettuce, onions and spinach in a couple weeks ago and all are coming up nicely.

Here's to a good season!

Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal said...

I'll second that - to a good season!

Becky said...

Thanks, Momma :) Yep, these cows are the truly happy cows!

Katie and Kelly.. you're right. We get to "vote" with our money everytime we buy food... so I choose to vote for local food whenever possible. :)

Welcome, Sara and Andrea :) Fingers crossed for lush gardens and baskets of produce!!

Becky said...

Grammy, don't worry... it won't be too long before you can plant your garden. :)

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