Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wright Dairy Farm

While I was out of town this past weekend at a family reunion in Glencoe Alabama, I decided to make the best of it and go somewhere I have been wanting to take the kids. With gas prices being what they are though, it is not a trip I don't think I would have made had I not been in the area. We headed over to Alexandria, Alabama to the Wright Dairy Farm (about 20 minutes from where I was). Conveniently located in Calhoun County on U.S. 431 north of Anniston, it is the only dairy family in Alabama who milks the cows, bottles the milk and sells it to you right on the farm. We arrived and wanted to see cows. That is what there is to see at a dairy farm, right? The lady in the store told us that they were just about to finish up milking and to head next door. We did, I pushed the kids inside the opened door. At first I didn't see any cows. Then, in the distance of about 20 feet I saw about 5-6 cows with hoses hooked to utters. Or really, that was what we assumed. This was the best view we had....

We were a bit disappointed. I especially, after I had talked it up to the kids on the ride over. I had also hoped for someone that worked there to tell the kids about the milking process, but the two men that were there didn't seem as though they wanted to be bothered with city folk. Perhaps it was Sledge's fault. She was almost in tears at the stench in the milking building. Let's face it, cows poop. That's really all they do other than eat and provide food. I kept asking Sledge to suck it up and try and learn something , but at this point her hand was over her nose, her eyes watering, she burst out, "I gotta get outta here!!!" and ran out of the building. I hope that isn't a glimpse into her future parenting skills. I hope her future husband will be a good diaper changer, but by nature (and great dramatic skill) men are usually not.

And so, we looked around for some cows who utters were not hooked up to a milking device. We headed left. We found a pasture that only had babies in it. Baby cows. They were so cute.
After much oohing and ahhing, we then ventured inside a barn. At first we thought there wasn't anything inside, but then, I caught a glimpse of something small and black in the corner of a stall. A newborn baby. Fresh. He still had his "sea legs". Umbilical cord still attached. He did nothing more than stand there looking helpless, as he was alone. "You know why he is alone in here don't you?" my mom asked the kids. "At the dairy farm they take the calves away from the mom's so that the mom's will still produce for the farmer. Besides that, this one is a boy. Only female calves give milk." I hadn't given it much thought. I don't even know if it's factual. But I did know that my heart broke right into a million pieces and splintered like the shavings at my feet. "Awww! That is so so sad!" I said aloud. Something motherly deep inside me then blurted out a "moooo". (I never claimed to be normal). And it was then the little black calf perked up and hollered back, "mooo" and then, stumbling clumsily over to me and put his head between the stall railings to get a look.

He thought I was momma.
I reached through the stall and began to pat his head. His huge eyes looked deeply into mine, I am sure he wondered, "Are you my momma", just like that little story book goes. Again, I mooed, again he answered.
(Dullbert, do not comment)

I began to pat his side. He was solid muscle, not an ounce of baby fat on him. He suddenly hopped straight up into the air and because he was not yet used to landing, or even walking for that matter, he collapsed onto his knees. He got up and again came to the fence, peering out at us.

Again, I gave him a pat and once again he tried to run around, all the while attempting to jump into the air and again falling to the ground. (speaking of running-what a run-on sentence!).

This went on for sometime. My parents, my kids and my cousin kept asking me to "Come on!" but I just was enjoying the little guys company as much as he seemed to enjoy mine. Every so often he would walk over to the device that held milk and suckle from it, only to return for more

He was just precious. If I could've loaded him into my parents car I would have. But he was not so lucky-and on this occasion my husband was. I didn't come home with yet another animal.
Finally, I was torn away from my little friend and went inside the gift shop. In the gift shop one can find all kinds of treats made My kids wanted ice-cream. There was about 20 flavors to choose from. My kids each chose to get chocolate cups. And the cups were pretty large.

(Could there be a dirtier kid?)

The gift shop also stocks a variety of fine Amish products, including jams, jellies, preserves, relishes, candies, fudge, and syrup, among others. They also carry old-fashioned creamy butter and cheese straight from the heart of the Amish farm communities of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and other farming states. Yes. I did say CHEESE. And you know that is exactly what I focused in on when I walked in. Just look at this.

Do you see that selection? It might not surprise you to know I bought some. I had a hard time deciding which flavor. Finally I decided on Havarti and and Baby Swiss. My cousin B-art got cheese curds. I had never tried that. It sounded disgusting, but really any cheese I would try once. Just the word curds turns my stomach. My dad got something that he readily hid from my view and never showed me again. Can you believe that? When we returned to my cousins house we broke out the cheese (with exception of my dad). The curds were white. They tasted like mozzarella. I began cutting off pieces of of my two blocks. Y-U-M! I will be going back anytime I am in the area to stock up on more.

My cousin bought a huge amount of butter. It looked to be about 3 pounds. Unless you are Paula Deen I do not know what one does with a few pounds of butter, but I will bet it is good tasting butter. I will have to ask him his intentions with that much butter. I am very curious.
Getting back to the milk, which is the big draw for the farm. You might ask, What makes Wright Dairy milk different from the milk you buy in the grocery store? Only milk from the cows on Canebrake Farm at Wright Dairy is bottled and sold there. Of all of the other milk sold in Alabama, only about 20% is produced in Alabama. The other 80% is trucked in from other states, sometimes as far away as New Mexico or Wisconsin. So it is fresh. Very fresh. Wright Dairy cows are never given the growth hormone rBST, or any other artificial means of producing more milk. The cows are primarily grass-fed, and supplemented with some grain. Grass-fed cows are also cleaner, healthier, and happier, and the farm claims that it is much more environment-friendly than the typical feedlot-type dairy. The milk is pasteurized in a low-temperature batch pasteurizer and then cooled to 40 degrees or lower before it is bottled, to protect the flavor. This is different from the large industry standard of high temperature short time (HTST) or ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurization. Wright Dairy milk is not homogenized. Many people who think they are "lactose-intolerant" are really "homogenized milk-intolerant." Wright Dairy whole milk and buttermilk have nothing added, because nothing has been taken out.
So by now, you might be craving a large glass of milk, or perhaps a big hunk of cheese-even a bowl of ice-cream, "Where might I find this dairy farm of goodness?", you might ask. Well the information is all below. My only advice, I would call before arriving and ask if they can provide a personal tour of the farm (they do not give tours to groups any longer) if you plan to take the kids for a look at a real working farm. I think it would be a more informative experience if that were the case. But if you are wanting to go for nothing more than stocking your refrigerator with dairy goodness, This is the place to come. Wright Dairy Farm, where the cream always rises to the top!


The cows are milked daily around 3-4 p.m.
241 Cane Creek Farm RoadAlexandria, Alabama 36250
Phone (256) 820-1020
Located on U.S. Highway 431 between Anniston and Gadsden.
Open Monday -- Friday 9-6 CDT (summer)Open Monday -- Friday 9–5 CST (winter)Open Saturday -- 8 a.m.–5 p.m.Closed on Sundays, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day
NOW OPEN: Wright Dairy in Birmingham!
Wright Dairy Ice Cream & Natural Foods, LLC R>5037 Highway 280, Suite 101
Birmingham, AL 35242
wdicnf@yahoo.com Carla Manning, Owner
Located on Highway 280 in the Inverness area
Hand-dipped Wright Dairy Ice Cream and other Wright Dairy products
For store hours & more information about the Birmingham location,
visit http://www.wrightdairyicecream.com/


Snark Meister said...

Ooohhhh...cheese curds... *slaps self mentally and wipes the drool off the keyboard* Kinda reminds me of the time that I spent with my grandparents and my little cousin Tyler at the Tillamook cheese Factory. I was introduced to cheese curds there and dang, they are good!

frannie said...

so what were their prices like?

I hate milk with a blinding passion. (seriously-- I just used the word "hate" about milk--It's that bad.)

but I love me some smoked gouda! I hardly ever purchase any. I am too cheap!! I splurged the other day. I had eaten two small slivers and the dog grabbed it and chewed the whole wheel up.

I swear I almost killed him.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the lesson in cow milkin-I recently told ADHD that I was limiting him to one gallon per week- because it's $4 a gallon now- Just like gas! What is this world comin to?

Leigh said...

Snark-they were good. Again, I just wish they werent called curds. Eww.

Frannie- I too HATE milk. I do not drink it and haven't drank it for years (since young childhood. Disgusting. But give me some cheese....and the cheese prices I found to be very reasonable. It was based on pound. I also did not look at the milk prices. I know the gallon of chocolate was $5.?? and 'regular milk" was cheaper.
I too would be soooo mad abou tthat. My dog did the same thing to me with my Amish havariti about a month ago. I had it out, came back and there was only the wrapper. I was M-A-D!

Drama-Everything is so expensive. It really is worrisome. I don't doubt you limiting it. I think I am going to start rashioning ours out to our kids too.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Leigh, I found you through the Nester's blog & thought I'd drop you a note. I'm in B'ham too, so it's always nice to come across another blogger from our city. I'm fairly new here (2 1/2 years) via Atlanta, but love it here.

What a nice outing for your kids to Wright's Dairy. You do great photography too. come by & visit me sometime!


Lindsey said...

That is very near me. We may have to check it out this summer. Great pics and adorable kiddos!

Snark Meister said...

Yeah...it's one of those things where the thing needs a name that will do it justice instead of "curds". Tyler wanted NOTHING to do with something called curds.

"J" said...

The little black baby is so cute! I would have wanted to take him home too!!! Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww =)

I hate milk but love cheese and ice cream! Yeah I know I'm weird! HA! =)

Mrs. Jules said...

Fabulous post! Wish I was there. Put me on a deserted island with cheese and milk. Yum!

Dullbert said...

can we get just a snip-it of the speech you made to "talk it up" to the kids on the ride over.

Susie Harris said...

I have always wanted to milk a cow1 weird.... I know. Anyway, love your photos that you take! Wish you lived closer. Susie H

Keetha said...

Dairy Farms - - - NOW you're talkin' MY language!!!! Mooooooo (I am a Wisconian, ya know!!!)

Keetha said...

PS - - - there is NOTHING like fresh warm curds, and that is simply ALL they COULD be called - - - and YUM.

nancygrayce said...

Poor little baby cow! I love havarti cheese! I love cheese in general! Looks like a good time!

Welcome to Our Lives... said...

What a fun day and the adorable calves!!

Trina said...

Very cool! And that poor little momma-less calf, aww!

We might have to check this out one weekend. I love all things dairy! :)