Sustainable Farmers – Stewards of the Land . Chapter 12

SINGING HILLS GOAT DAIRY, NERSTRAND, MINNESOTA.   Lynne & Kate have lots of baby goats (kids).   They leap and bound over the grassy hills that surround their dairy farm.    The goats have a free wheelin happy life here.  Lynne & Kate love their goats and have found goats and cheesemaking are the best fit for them out of all the farm endeavors.  One of their little goats hurt her leg this spring, she was put in a cast and has recovered.  Lynne & Kate give every and each goat special care.

For milking, the Mom goats are brought into the milking room which is adjacent to the goat yard & pastures.  They come willingly since they know there are treats to be had in the milking stand.   Lynne fills the feeder with one of their favorite blends; then the milking begins.

A hand pump is used.   See the cute goat faces!  While they are calm and contented, Kate takes the opportunity to check each goat for good health and clips nails.  These girls are ready for milking no doubt.

Later, the milk is cured in a stainless steel cheese vat until it’s ready.  Here you see the cured milk being scooped out and poured into cheese cloth bags.  These bags are hung longer to cure and form.   The resulting fresh, untreated, artisan goat cheese can be found at a variety of Farmer’s Markets including Mill City.  Singing Hills has a hard time keeping up with the demand for their special cheeses.  Watch for yogurt too.

There are also pigs at Singing Hills.  About 10 piglets come in the Spring and are spoken for by late Fall.  These little piglets become big pigs by then.

FERNDALE MARKET AND TURKEY FARM, CANNON FALLS, MINNESOTA.  The Peterson family has run this turkey farm for 70 years beginning with Gramma FERN & Grampa, DALE.  Hence the name – FERNDALE.

Their family has continued a sustainable approach all of these years.   This is the original corn crib.   John, Grandson of Dale, helps run the place.  He really knows turkeys.  John holds a Tom, or male turkey.

The turkeys have access to feeders, water, shade and grassy forage at all times.  Because there are no antiobiotics used, their staff is very careful and wise to keep visitors out of the turkey area.  Not only are “strangers” scary to the birds but visitors can carry disease in unknowingly.  The turkeys have the best possible life they can with acres of grassy pasture which are rotated for fresh grounds.  My visit was on a hot day.  There were some 100+ days this summer which is when John got the water out and showered the turkeys.  Heat is life threatening for birds.

Ferndale Market is just off the road and at the entrance to the farm.  Organic and sustainable, local products are offered here.  You can see the more about Ferndale Market and the turkeys on their website.

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