woodside farm creamery tour

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This past Sunday (July 18th) was National Ice Cream Day, the only day of the year that Woodside Farm Creamery in Hockessin, DE opens its doors for tours of its dairy operation. Woodside supplies our favorite ice cream parlor in Wilmington, Sweet Lucy's among many others, so the kids were raring to go.
The farm has been run by the Mitchell family for over 200 years. The main house oozes old-fashioned charm. I find myself engaging in 1940's farm life fantasies involving chicken coops, baking pies, canning and sewing play clothes out of calico for a passel of barefoot children. But I digress. I'm sure it's a boatload of backbreaking work running a dairy farm with no time for baking pies or crafting.
Emma did some sketching of the animals.
The milk for the operation is supplied by 30 jersey cows. Jerseys give the creamiest milk. These little guys are the calves.
The milking process was intriguing to the children. It takes about 6 minutes to milk a cow using the milking apparatus. Each Jersey cow gives 20or 30lbs of milk a day which sounds like a lot to me, but apparently is about half of what Holsteins give.
The farm doesn't advertise itself as being organic, but it uses a number of sustainable practices. The cow manure is composted in this 5000 gallon drum and used to fertilize the orchard, alfalfa, clover, & rye grass. To keep the flies down, special tiny wasps are introduced as a form of biocontrol. The wasps attack the fly pupae and are supposedly not very noticeable to humans or livestock.
Best of all, this past year the farm installed a huge array of solar panels to run its refrigeration. There they are in the distance. CMI Solar Electric did the installation. They also do residential work. Another fantasy of mine is to cover the whole south side of our roof with solar panels. Someday...
The ice cream machine. Not as big as I was expecting, but it does the job apparently.
Oh the flavor choices! "Dirt" (has gummi worms in it), Bacon (?), Black Raspberry (had it- mmmmm), Birthday Cake, and the list goes on.
The most popular flavor is vanilla- by far, they say. Even with all those choices, that's what the kids want- with sprinkles of course.

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