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milk processing

Posted 10/20/2016 12:21pm by Rebecca Coulter.

     As our family (and workforce :) ) continues to grow, we have tried to make wise decisions about how fast to expand our family's farming operation, and in which directions.  Over the last few years, we have gone from raising meat animals to offering dairy as well.  In 2011 we started making cheese on our farm with purchased Organic milk.  In the spring of 2013 we added a herd of Jersey milk cows, and were able to use our own 100% Grassfed, Certified Organic milk for our cheese.  In 2014 we spent time (lots) doing paperwork and purchasing equipment, and by the end of the summer had all the inspections done, and we could start bottling our Grade A milk, yogurt and kefir.

     We quickly outgrew our 100 gallon pasteurizer, and our 24'x24' processing/cheese room.  Much of this past winter was spent building an addition to double the size of the "processing plant", with most of the work being done by our three sons Jared, Jason and Jacob, who are 21, 19, and 17 years old.  There is seldom any surplus money to hire work done, and the boys learned by experience as they worked.



Here is Jared giving directions as Jason runs the skid loader backhoe to dig the footer trench.  Kinley served in an advisory capacity, with hands in pockets ;).  As usual, there is no time to undertake big projects during the green season, and we ended up racing 'old man winter' trying to get under roof and out of the weather before it got too cold and snowy.

Pouring the footer... now Dad is hands-on!  They used the market tents to cover the trench and ran heaters to warm it so they could lay block for the foundation.  Right after the block went in, the huge snowstorm came, and they had to clear the whole construction site by hand.  Some of the tools didn't reappear until the thaw.

They built the back wall in the nice warm shop, and brought it up on the trailer.

 The back wall is set, and the work crew is well pleased with the day's work.

Putting on the roof went quickly.

Sabrina had a different use in mind for the addition.... for a while, it made a great race course.  You can see the recently purchased preowned 200 gallon vat pasteurizer in the background.

Jared has milk in the cheese vat for a 400 pound batch of cheese.  An Amish fabricator constructed the overhead agitation system so he no longer has to stir it by hand.

 

Now that the production construction is done, our next expansion phase is getting the Grade A bottled products to you!  We are now offering weekly drops to our Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg and Carlisle customers.  Our milk will go from the cow Friday morning, through our pasteurizer and bottler  Friday afternoon, and into your fridge on Saturday!  Day fresh milk will keep 16 days, but what could be better than right from the farm to you?