Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sparkmann's Dairy

Dom and I took advantage of a road trip to Florida to stop by and visit this dairy that I discovered via Whole Foods.  We arrived at milking time (around 5:00) so we watched them milk the cows for awhile.  They did a lot of washing and the whole process seemed very clean. 

We also saw many calves, ranging in age from 1 day to 5-6 weeks.  They were caged but the cages were quite large.  The one thing I didn't like was that the 1-day-old was already in a cage by himself drinking from a large bottle rather than with his mother.  I'd like to know why that is.

S/he was having trouble finding the rubber teat attached to the bottle and the person taking care of the calves was gently and patiently teaching him/her to find it.

They were very open about letting us walk around by ourselves.  The cows all wander around freely, as far as we could tell.  The calves, as mentioned, are penned but I imagine that's for their own protection.  Maybe also to keep them from their mothers, and vice versa.

They don't claim to be organic but they don't give any growth hormones to the cows.  We ended up buying butter, drinkable yogourt, plus bacon and sausage from another nearby farm.  Haven't tried any of it so far.

In an unrelated aside, the softly falling snow outside my window is so beautiful.  Big fat flakes that are starting to accumulate again.  I already went out for a long walk in it.


Kim said...

You should look into grassland dairies for the absolutely healthiest management of cows. Abe Collins in northern Vermont is an expert. Basically, the point is to manage the forage, the grass, in combination with the grazing cows. Data shows that there is less bacteria, fewer flies. Overall much healthier for humans, the animals and the land. That's how it used to be done but petroleum-based agriculture and U.S. policies regarding farm subsidies have nearly destroyed it. Check this out:,9171,1953692-2,00.html

Also, there are videos on the web of Abe talking about the holistic system. They are worth it.

I learned from him that raw milk is actually good!

Janet said...

Thanks, Kim! I think Sparkman's is a step in the right direction, but not quite IT. I'll look into it.