How I went to dinner and came home with a cow

moooooo

I’m not exactly sure how it happened. I got all dressed up to go to dinner, an al fresco barbeque at Rebecca’s, and before the day is over I milked a sheep, witnessed a magical – if ever so mildly yucky – moment of piglets being born – the piglets were cute and pink and spotted and got big floppy ears, but before all that they were wet and mucous-y and bloody and stuff. Eh.

And to top it all off properly, we came home with a cow. Ok, not a whole cow. Honestly. We just became a part owner of one. And now we get two gallons of her milk weekly – unpasteurized, non-homogenized, raw milk, just the way the gods intended.

What to do with raw milk? The possibilities are endless. I’m thinking homemade butter, crème fraiche, clotted cream, et cetera et cetera. I’ll try it all, I think, and will tell you all about it. Meanwhile, I’ll just introduce you to Nutmeg, our gorgeous Normande cow in the picture above. And you can read about Bob and Jean of Deep Roots Ranch who graciously allowed us to co-own Nutmeg. You can also check out our friend Rebecca’s blog, whose sheep farm and budding Basque-style sheep-cheese making operation is the genesis of all this. When her cheese making is fully underway I’ll tell you more about it, I promise.

Right, and you can also read all about cow sharing and how to get your own supply of real milk. And now that you’re done with the Harry Potter book you might even have time to re-read that Michael Pollan’s Op-Ed piece in the NYT about the very important Farm Food Bill that will affect us all. (Thanks to Diane who reminded me of this important issue recently.)

Now back to my usual frivolity. With my city girl cred receding rapidly, I came home and decided to order some shoes. And what did I buy? A pair of cute rainboots from Tar-jay so next time I go visit Nutmeg and the piggies and the sheeps I would have something to wear. Oy.

I. Need. Help.

P.S. If you’re going to Blogher, be sure to say hi and help me in person.
P.P.S. If you’ve got a great clotted cream recipe, that’ll be a great help too. My first clotted cream attempted failed rather miserably. Recipe, anyone?

P.P.P.S. More pictures of Nutmeg and the farm where she lives….

Nutmeg at sunset, with Bob and his son Phil trying to coax her back to the barn.

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Here’s the farm where she lives.


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34 Responses to “How I went to dinner and came home with a cow

  • Myrtille said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 1:39am
  • Marion FITZ said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 2:03am

    Pim
    if you want to try a few fast, simple homemade creamy cheeses, go to Ellen Baker & Freddy Menge’s 173 Alta, La Selva Beach, 12:30, 7/28. They’ll be having a small tour of their 3/4 acre organic country style backyard. Wear your new boots!

  • Robert Noles said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 3:29am

    Pim,
    Great post today. Finally a suggestion for getting raw milk to make cheese and other goodies. I’ve posted a site I visit and his method for making clotted cream. Hope this is helpful.
    http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Clotted_Cream.html

  • veron said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 7:13am

    Hello NUtmeg. She is so cute. We just learned how to make cream to butter and butter back to cream again in a Harold McGee lecture…the butter tasted soooooooo good!

  • Ginger said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 8:06am

    So jealous! I have a pig (in a co-owned sort of way), her name is Pancetta, but we will be eating her this fall. A sustainably raised milk cow is next on the list. Oh the cheeses in your future! So jealous! Of course I love Nutmeg’s name, being named after a spice myself!

  • sam said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 8:08am

    Oh no! it failed. Guess you are not driving up to Redwood city with a pot for me in your car as I demanded after all. Let’s talk more about recipes. But although she’s a beautiful cow, she’s not making jersey milk, right? Maybe it needs to be Jersey for the high fat content?
    There is a picture of my pathetic first attempt at making clotted cream at the end of this post:
    http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/2007/04/traditional-english-sunday-roast.html
    It made about 2 tablespoons only, but it tasted kinda sorta on the way to be clotted cream.
    Good luck at Blogher!

  • Zee said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 8:40am

    Two gallons weekly? Wow, that’s a lot of milk! 🙂 Congrats on your new cow!

  • PlazaJen said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 8:55am

    I lurve cows. We had some Jerseys near our land, and once in a while I’d see them up close, and loved those moments. They have an odd peace about them. Bonus on the fresh milk, too. I can’t wait to watch your concoctions appear!

  • Mary said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 9:22am

    I am not a jealous person, but I am completely envious of your cow acquisition. I think you should make mozzarella. It’s not hard. Oh, and don’t forget yogurt, that’s even easier.

  • radish said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 9:29am

    this super cool – i have been wanting to part-own a cow and am not sure how to do it. do you take part in the feeding cost structure of it? your cow looks awesome and happy – she’s clearly being fed all the good things and sees sky daily!

  • Sandy said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 9:42am

    Do you have to pick the milk up every week or is it delivered to you?
    When I was growing up, I drank nothing but raw milk. This was in New Jersey, at a time when the state was still largely agricultural and Walker-Gordon (the raw milk dairy farm) was in full swing, decades before the farmland was “developed” for condos.
    There is no question that the milk tastes better. Pasteurization has been, in general, on a large scale, a great public health success, but something has been lost. If you have access to safely produced raw milk, you are very lucky.

  • Amy said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 9:46am

    I’ve never had fresh milk before but it sounds absolutely divine! The resulting butter and creme fraiche will undoubtedly be wonderful.

  • nicole said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 9:58am

    your cow is so pretty — really! my brother is a big proponent of raw milk; when he lived in dc, he would trade with a farm each week for a big jar of unpasteurized milk, which was the only milk he used. i think he mostly just drank it or used it in his cereal, and always raved about it. i’m curious to hear about the things you’ll make with it, and if they taste much better than store-bought items.

  • miz_dj said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 10:19am

    simply lovely!

  • sam said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 10:24am

    the joy of baking recipe is not right – and it’s for Devonshire cream. Clotted cream is not from Devon, it’s Cornish. The other recipe looks more like the kind of thing I did but is not the exact same one. I will hunt out the one I found later for you but i am sure you just came across the same thing when you researched it. I found some old Cornish website somewhere ads far as I remember. Will try and find later. Must work now but I just had to come take another look at your beautiful cow.

  • sam said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 10:33am

    oops – i misread – the joy of baking does have a recipe – but i read the one about whipping marscapone at first which isnt right at all of course 😉

  • Juls said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 11:14am

    Great wellies, Pim. You can wear those to Glastonbury next year when you’re over researching clotted cream in the West Country…

  • Stephen said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 12:30pm

    That’s so great. I want to adopt a cow! I wonder if you can co-own chickens too for fresh eggs?

  • umami said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 2:01pm

    How cool to have milk from your own cow. Nutmeg is beautiful, her ears are so cute and fuzzy.

  • B said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 2:52pm

    Pim
    Make home-made paneer and/or yogurt or lassis! In India I’m sure the milk was unpasteurized, and I’ve never had such delicious dairy products as I did there.
    Clotted cream is divine. mmmm, scones….
    B
    http://www.handtomouthkitchen.wordpress.com
    Hand to Mouth
    Making Stock of the Situation
    a blog for penniless gourmets

  • Barbara said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 10:37pm

    Ah, now, Pim. I think I like you even better as you evolve into a semi-country-girl. Not that I didn’t like you as a city gal–but I cannot help but really love a woman who goes on about how cute piglets are, and yet who still eats pork and relishes it.
    Nutmeg is lovely–and I look forward to hearing more about your rural adventures as well as your dairying.
    Keep up the great work–and pet that pretty cow for me next time you see her. (I love cows, btw–and am ever so sad that I do not have room in my backyard for one.)

  • Barbara said:
    July 26th, 2007 at 10:38pm

    Ah, now, Pim. I think I like you even better as you evolve into a semi-country-girl. Not that I didn’t like you as a city gal–but I cannot help but really love a woman who goes on about how cute piglets are, and yet who still eats pork and relishes it.
    Nutmeg is lovely–and I look forward to hearing more about your rural adventures as well as your dairying.
    Keep up the great work–and pet that pretty cow for me next time you see her. (I love cows, btw–and am ever so sad that I do not have room in my backyard for one.)

  • junglegirl said:
    July 27th, 2007 at 1:20am

    Nutmeg is sooo beautiful! What about trying those white milk candy chews that are so popular in Japan? I never tried them because milk doesn’t like me much, but those candies did look so good ~ I think there are Indian versions too.

  • Jeremy said:
    July 27th, 2007 at 3:25am

    http://drinc.ucdavis.edu/hman2.htm
    Clotted cream recipe!
    Mooo!

  • french tart said:
    July 27th, 2007 at 4:17am

    this is quite possibly the nicest most feel-good article i’ve read all week! i love it! and of course, terribly terribly jealous that you get all kinds of milk every week, and the possibilities for using that milk are endless.

  • Nerissa said:
    July 28th, 2007 at 2:27am

    How cool is that? Now I wish I had my own cow. But where would I find mine in the wild west coast of Canada. Oh well. One can dream.

  • Nerissa said:
    July 28th, 2007 at 2:27am

    How cool is that? Now I wish I had my own cow. But where would I find mine in the wild west coast of Canada. Oh well. One can dream.

  • Annemarie said:
    July 31st, 2007 at 2:04am

    I’ve just started reading the Michael Pollan book (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and this morning reached the part where he bought his own cow (though sadly I think his is lined up for the slaughter) – reading your post is perfectly timed. I love the sound of your day out!

  • foodette said:
    July 31st, 2007 at 12:23pm

    You should know this post started a week-long internet study for me on Raw Milk. After reading many sites (including all those you linked to), and talking to a nutritionist, I bought my first bottle of raw milk yesterday. I am lucky to live in CA, which means Whole Foods can legally sell me raw milk. It tastes great, and I am so happy knowing I am contributing to the happy lifestyle of a cow. Thank you so much for this post – I learned so much in the last week!

  • Tana said:
    August 5th, 2007 at 8:07pm

    Pim:
    Kept seeing incoming links from here, and just wanted to amend the one that goes directly to my introduction to Jean Harrah and Bob Thorson at Deep Roots Ranch. Not sure your blog takes HTML in comments, so here is the whole thing:
    http://smallfarms.typepad.com/small_farms/2006/06/deep_roots_ranc.html
    (Your link was to the #more jump.)
    Nutmeg is such a beautiful cow, and she is making a lot of families in the area quite happy. Her butter’s pretty wonderful, too: Jean has gifted me on occasion with some. It makes me sad that my very-slender stepdaughter walked in tonight with some fake butter stuff from Land O’ Lakes, thinking that real butter is “bad” for her. Well, a little education at a time.

  • Jonas said:
    August 5th, 2007 at 8:18pm

    Is that a rainbow shooting out Nutmeg’s ass? Rocking cool.

  • Pim said:
    August 6th, 2007 at 10:31am

    Myrtille, thanks for the recipe.
    Marion, I wish I could make it but I was already spoken for that day. Let me know next time there’s something like this please.
    Robert, thanks for the link. I’ll give it a spin.
    veron, don’t you just love Harold. He rocks.
    Genger, I just love that you named your pig Pancetta. How brilliant! You really should do the cow share next. It’s been great.
    Sam, sweetie, you might just get something soon,
    Zee, yes that’s a lot of milk but I’ve got grand plans with them!
    PlazaJen, soon, soon.
    Mary, it’s ok, I bet green looks pretty good on you.
    radish, the cost varies depending on the agreement you have with the farm who shares the cow with you. You’ll just have to ask them. Usually they ask you to pay a nomimal fee to sign up, and then you pay weekly or monthly for the upkeep of the cow etc. It’s hard to pin down a formula as everyone does it differently.
    Sandy, I have to pick up milk every week. It’s a 15-20 minutes drive so it’s not so bad. Plus I get Hector’s famous breakfast burrito on the way there.
    Amy, it’s been great for us – not sure my waist line would say the same thing in a couple months from now.
    Nicole, Nutmeg te dit merci – she’s French you know. 😉 It really does taste better and my dairy products, buttermilk, butter, creme fraiche, ice cream, etc etc, have been better too. I’ll write about them all soon.
    miz_dj, thanks.
    Juls, yep, just because my wellies are actually useful doesn’t mean they can’t be cute too!
    Stephen, ask a farm near you, you never know. Be sure to tell them if you want white or dark meat at the end too. Ha.
    umami, she’s super cute.
    B, ooooh, I hadn’t thought of making paneer, I might just have to try. Do you have a recipe?
    Barbara, I have having a great time with all my rural adventures. Come visit and you can meet Nutmeg yourself.
    junglegirl, candy! Why didn’t I think of that. Recipe?
    Jermey, moooo you too. (That means thank you by the way.)
    french tart, no worries, green looks great on you too.
    Nerissa, there are no cows there?
    Annemarie, we’ll use Nutmeg’s meet too when she’s done with milk.
    foodette, have you written about your week long study yet? I haven’t seen it on your blog.
    Tana, thanks for the link.
    Jonas, oh you’re funny, and right!

  • sarah said:
    August 7th, 2007 at 3:43pm

    Your post brings up some interesting points–as does today’s Washington Post column (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/03/AR2007080301646.html)
    about how maybe unpasteurized milk isn’t necessarily that much “cleaner” when you consider that raw milk comes from humanely-treated cows (like Nutmeg).

  • sarah said:
    August 8th, 2007 at 2:49pm

    oops, I meant pasteurized. sorry

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