Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How fresh is your milk?

I've never been a milk drinker. In fact, I cannot remember a time in my life when I actively pursued consuming milk. This didn't preclude me from milk duty yesterday, when I was asked to travel two miles east to the local dairy to pick up milk for my kitchen. The entire ten minute experience was a trip. The dairy, Zimmerman Farms, is run by a Mennonite family that seems to run just about everything in Rutledge, Missouri. To be sure, the Zimmerman family is more than one family 'unit', but the name labels the local grocery/hardware store/cafe as well as most of the local businesses that come to help with the more laborious tasks in the ecovillage, like removing buildings from the earth.

You know you've entered rural America when milk is purchased on the honor system. While I did encounter one of the younger Zimmerman sons at the farm, it was of no relevance to my extraction of milk. As I entered the farm, I was welcomed by a several baby goats massaging each other and stretching out their legs in a small open-air enclosure. Just across the road from the dairy building is a line of cow dormitories, small A-frame enclosures each with a fenced-in porch, and a single calf inhabitant. As they age, it seems, they roam in what appeared to be a pasture down hill from the dairy.

Entering the dairy buildling, there's an enormous metal tank, a disheveled desk, and a sink. The system could not be more simple. You place you cash on the desk ($2.50/gallon), fill your own container with milk directly from the tank, and leave. Milk for all!

More posts to follow soon! I've got some great pictures of progress on the home and arbor construction.

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