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Butter, Buttercups, Brown Cows: Grass Farming

It was finally warm enough on Mother’s Day to put the tomatoes out, and besides one strange frost since then, it has been getting steadily warmer. The girls and Spencer played in the pasture near our trailer on Mother’s Day, while I talked with my mom on the phone. The grass is tall and lush, as it should be, and perfect for making deer beds and rabbit trails –or in this case, a “bear den”. They have been on a bear kick ever since I let them watch a couple videos of baby bears at a zoo.
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Wednesday we took a trip into Lancaster County to go to Groff’s Plant Farm, a lovely nursery with some native plants we needed to pick up for the farmers (Black eyed Susans, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, and Purple Coneflower). After that, we stopped by an Amish farm in the area that we had read sells raw dairy products and other tasty stuff like sprouted spelt bread, kimchi, ginger ale, and various other homemade goodies. It was all a little pricey for folks living on $400 a month (before bills…) BUT we splurged and bought some raw, cultured, salted butter (and some buttermilk). Now, most everyone has had salted butter. And some people buy the expensive cultured butter from a Co-Op, because it has a nice sweet taste and is supposed to be easier to digest. And some people even buy the expensive pasture raised butter from a Co-Op that is nice and yellow. . .I would just like to say, that none of that butter comes anywhere near–ANYWHERE NEAR!!!–this stuff.
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The farmer is our age (and has three kids just about our kids ages), and only sells to people who join his “buyers club”, which is only $35 a year to join. He was nice and chatted with us for a while, letting the girls see the baby turkeys he had just got in, and stopping to speak to an older lady who stopped by (in a buggy) asking about kefir grains. Across the street you could see some of his dairy herd grazing on a hillside. The grass was tall and the cows looked well; he said he milks mostly Jerseys, some Brown Swiss, and just a few Holsteins. All his dairy products are raw and grass fed, and he doesn’t use antibiotics or other drugs on his cows.
The butter: sweet, sweet and just barely salted, with that hint of cultured cream to it. And yellow as the sun. It is like eating unadulterated Spring. We don’t even put it on anything yet, we just take tiny scoops of it here and there like its some sort of naughty candy. Except that is wont rot your teeth like candy, and because it’s raw it still has all its enzymes and nutrients in place and is easy to digest–and because it is from %100 grass fed cows, it has plenty of Omega-3’s and wont give you a heart attack! So it’s good candy. As long as you don’t eat an entire tub by yourself. That would be wrong. Tempting maybe, but wrong 😉

It was exciting. Here is something that people will line up to buy once they taste it, I thought to myself, and something that I would love to try making.
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The girls brought me this bouquet of flowers; I don’t know what the pinkish ones are, but the red is one of my new nasturtiums, and the yellow are buttercups. I had never seen buttercups before, but now I know why they are called that. They have a shiny, oily-looking petal that reminds one of the sheen of butter. But they are not a good plant to have much of in your pasture, as they can cause blisters on the mouths of livestock that eat them, and can cause miscarriage in livestock. Luckily there aren’t too many here, just enough to be pretty. I have seen whole (mismanaged) pastures on nearby properties that are covered with them.

Ok, that’s enough for today. You probably never want to hear the word “butter” again. Sorry–it was so good I kind of went gaga writing about it. But man, it tastes soooo. . .alright. No more. It’s time for me to catch the dozen stinkbugs flying over my head and bumping into the bedroom light like little drunken pilots, and then to sleep!

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8 thoughts on “Butter, Buttercups, Brown Cows: Grass Farming

  1. That all sounds so lovely! I am going to go buy the closest butter I can find at the co-op. It won’t be as good. 🙂 Beautiful pictures as usual. I miss the little ones so much!

    • We were thinking today that we would really like to come back to CA and be able to provide that kind of thing for anyone in the family who wanted some. We’ll see what happens–I still think it’s prettier on the east coast!

      p.s. that butter was super expensive along with being super tasty. $14 for 1 pound! Worth it, but I’d rather be selling it than buying it 🙂

      • Well, you should definitely come back to California and make butter like that. I’ll be your first and most loyal customer. 🙂

  2. My dearest and first granddaughter, sending belated birthday wishes to you. Butter on fresh hot bread(of any sort) is heavenly. It is a treat in itself. Noticing Chub’s hair is getting lighter and lighter. Glad you are enjoying your farming experience in a nice setting and in the nice state of Maryland.

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