Organic Dairy Farming 101

I spent the past week at חלב עם הרוח (Chalav Im HaRuach – Milk with the farm), which is an organic dairy farm in the Jezreel Vally in Northern Israel, near Yodfat.  I milked goats for the first time, moved rocks, built a floor, tended the garden, fed the animals, and met some amazing people.  The farm was built over the past sixteen years by the family and volunteers, gathering small stones from the hillside and turning them into an amazing place to just “be”.

There are about 150 goats which require milking twice a day, several cows, some sheep, guard geese (don’t cross them, trust me), several loud roosters, and a pack of dogs to keep everyone in order.  It was my first time learning how to interact with all of these animals and it’s amazing how much life they each have.

This was my first step in learning how cheese is made.  The goats actually smell a little bit like goat cheese and the fresh yogurts, cheeses and milk was amazing.  The goats are completely free range and they seem happy and content providing creamy goodness for their owners.  Like a dog coming back to it’s owners, they know to come back to the farm around 4pm everyday for milking.  They stare with this cockeyed smile while waiting to push and shove to be first in line for milking.  Maybe it’s the fact they also receive food, but I think they look forward to the experience.

Pictures will be forthcoming when I get back to my computer, but for now just imagine a peaceful place without the roar of traffic where life stops for the gong of a bell and there is more cheesy goodness than you could every possibly imagine.

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