So today’s trip was to the dairy farm:
we got in the bus
to go to the farm
to meet the man
who owns the cows
who give the milk
that makes the cheese…
Then there was the farm. More round things.
In addition to a persimmon tree, they had 200 cows, about half of which are giving milk at any time while the others are either growing up or getting ready to give birth. This farm had only Friesians, which came from Canada and the U.S. The farmer belonged to a dairy co-op of 11 farms and was very near his cheese factory, convenient for making that 2 hour deadline to deliver the milk. The other restriction on milking for Parmigiano-Reggiano is that the actual milking must be completed within four hours, start to finish (this farm managed it in one and a half hours, twice a day).
Hmm… these remind me of something I’ve seen lately… cylindrical, straw-coloured, stacked to the ceiling… The Parmigiano-Reggiano consortium obliges its dairy farms to produce – on-site – at least 50% of the feed for their cattle; this farm produces 90% of its feed. No animal products can be included in the diet of the dairy cattle, and no silage or wet grass, all to preserve the safety of the cheese, the reliability of the ripening process, and the purity of the flavour.