Benrud, French, Minar and Stelling families
When you make the best butter in America (awarded by the American Cheese Society, 3 years in a row), you must be doing something right! Linden Hills Co-op is proud to carry PastureLand’s butters and cheeses, from Minnesota family farms. Michelle and Roger Benrud, who are members of the PastureLand Co-op, will be our guest speakers at this year’s annual membership meeting October 28! Here’s a little snapshot of life on a PastureLand farm.
Morning at PastureLand
We get up to milk the cows early, before it even starts to get light. Usually it’s pitch black out. There are mornings with a full moon out and you can see so well you don’t need to use headlights to ride out to pasture where the cows have rested overnight.
Other mornings it’s very black, but the stars fill the sky as far as you can see; then there are mornings the bugs are so thick that we should wear goggles.
The dogs come along to help bring in the cows. We call and bark and sing them home for milking. Some of them need extra persuasion to leave the pasture. It can take a half hour to get them back to the barn depending on what paddock we’re coming from and how pokey they are.
When we get near the barn the cows chew their cud and wait their turn to come in to the milking parlor. They have their own pecking order, and the bossy ones are always in first.
Once in the stalls they are content. They stand still, content to let us do the work of milking. When we are finished they head out for new pastures. Often they will stop for a drink of water along the way, and maybe eat a bit of hay.
There are rainy mornings when it’s wet and miserable; there are cold fall mornings when the grass is frozen and the wind about cuts through you. No matter though. This is the rhythm of the farm and we love it.
When finished with morning chores we head in for breakfast. Fresh cold milk on cereal, this is the thing we’d miss most if we ever stopped dairying. We drink about a gallon a day. It’s thick and tastes wonderful after the work outside.
PastureLand Cooperative is a five farm southern Minnesota cooperative of organic grass-based dairy farms. Certified organic and sustainable by MOSES and Food Alliance.