Monday, January 9, 2012

Pens to Pasture ~ Dreamfarm

Do you peruse the newsletter delivered with your weekly CSA share or subscribe to the e-mail list of your favorite farmers at your local market? I do, and I savor them. So many of my friends and family also love the stories their farmers seemed like a good time to share these stories more widely. And the added bonus is a focus on the wonderful folks who produce the food we enjoy, all with a literary lens. At Pens to Pastures: Fodder from the Field we celebrate the agricultural life, the hard work of farmers and the grace and openness with which they share it all through writing. Dig in, enjoy and be sure to share the writings of your farmers by sending an e-mail here.

Diana Murphy & Family 
Cross Plains, WI

Ok, ok. I admit that this week's Pens to Pasture post is totally cheating. As regular readers know, Dreamfarm is where I spent my first months in Madison, lending a hand to Diana's amazing cheesemaking skills, helping with animal chores and forking a lot of manure out of the barn. As the calendar ticks on to mid-January, it's been months since I've visited Diana and her family, the pregnant goats, the remaining chickens or the now-bare apple trees we harvested for cider. To say the least, I am farmsick! I miss the people, animals, sights and even smells of this particular farm.

Dreamfarm is a beautiful (truly, a dream farm) family farm about 15 miles west of Madison run by Diana Murphy and her wonderful family. Primarily, Diana raises dairy goats to produce a few varieties of exceptionally delicious cheeses that are sold through a CSA, one farmers' market and a few retail outlets. As if raising goats and making farmstead cheese doesn't make for a full day, the farm also includes a wonderful cast of characters like the pastured hogs, heritage Jacob Sheep, the new Nigerian Dwarf goats, a few steer on their own pasture, a few hundred laying hens, dogs and cats. To say the least, the season I spent there was by far my favorite farming season ever!

This fall we created a Dreamfarm Blog to serve as an online weekly newsletter for CSA members, and we even got around to posting a few pieces. Well, to comfort my farmsick heart, I just had to tage a gander at the blog to revisit some warm memories, and figured there is no better time to share. The last CSA newsletter was all the way back in October, but sets a nice stage for the stillness of winter (sans snow, as we don't have any on the ground here yet!). Below is a tiny blurb from the last newsletter, just click your way along to find the rest.


The Season's End
It's hard to believe it's the end of the season, but the evidence is all around! Milk production is slowing dramatically as the goats enter the breeding season. Although there is less milk, it is higher in protein and butterfat and yields more cheese than in the summer. Love is in the air as the bucks and does mingle in the two pastures. The chickens are laying fewer eggs, and getting quirkier by the day. The trees are approaching bare, the days are noticeably shorter and the pigs are almost fat enough to eat. The end of cheese making season approaches at Dreamfarm, and we'd like to extend our enormous gratitute to you for another year of your support. Thank you!

No comments:

Post a Comment