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Milking It con nued from page 5


growing in the fi elds. In the summer me, for example, our milk and cheese is more yellow due to high levels of beta-carotene in the grasses. Overall, it is Jersey milk, which you cannot beat for fl avor and richness. We have one milk customer who says ‘Why buy a milkshake when you can drink LOMAH milk?’ That says it all.”


Are you doing anything else that dis nguishes you? “We are the producers of the milk—not merely the cheesemak- ers, so we are in control of the product from start to fi nish. We are also con nually trying new products. This summer we de- buted European-style bu er (cultured) and skyr, low fat milk and racle e (the original fondue cheese). Next will be coulommiers and yogurt and who knows what else.”


It really sounds like you are commi ed to evolving your product line. “Our real tes ng grounds are the farmer’s markets. We change cheeses, increase sharpness and off er cheese with natural rinds— all based on customer feedback. We let them tell us what they want and then we prac ce and get it right and so it goes. Our benchmark cheese is Havar . It is our best seller and probably always will be. Our milk is conducive to an incredible Havar . We did make bleu cheese and had good reviews, but we need to work out some aging space (we do not want bleu cheddar!) and we might get it going again. We plan on entering cheese in the American Cheese Society next summer so stay tuned.”


How have your products been received by customers? “Business is good. We have great customers who believe in what we are doing. If not for them, I do not think we could muster the energy to con nue. As people become more aware of the importance of a healthful diet with sim- ple, wholesome food, I expect our business will grow. People want to know where their food is coming from. If they cannot keep a dairy cow in their backyard to milk twice daily, the next best thing is coming to LOMAH where you can see the cows laying in the green grass and watch them get milked and see the source of their milk and dairy products. People really


8 - NE Connection


want to be in touch with the farm and we provide that along with wonderful milk!”


Tell us more about yourselves. “Stan and I are both veterinarians. I work at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri, and teach anatomy and physiology now. Stan has re red from the USDA so neither of us prac ce, but that premise of animal care and welfare is in our blood. We enjoy caring for Jersey cows. Stan was raised a couple miles down the road, so he is home. I was raised in West Plains, Missouri, on a small beef ca le farm, so dairying was new to me. Wow, what a life. I tell Stanley it must be a gene c defect. Who in their right mind would get up so early every day to milk and then work like crazy during the day me only to turn around and milk again in the evening? The work is never done. That defec ve gene must have spread to me. We think only one or two of the children inherited it. You either love it or hate it.”


It sounds like this is a family opera on. “Our children John, Will and Grace help us con nually on the farm. The boys are in college now and we are feeling the pain. They do so much. It is innate in them to get up and start working. Some mes I wonder if we expect too much from them, but you know when they get the occasional a ernoon off , you have never seen kids have so much fun. We always tell them ‘You will want milk cows one of these days so your children will learn discipline and develop a strong work ethic.’


“Our oldest, John, is our mechanic. He keeps all of our old equip- ment going. He also helps milk and take care of dry cows. John can fi gure out most anything and that is the reason he is going to Pi sburg (Kan.) State to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in diesel technology. He is also our comedian and provides us with comic relief when we need it the most (we think he did not inher- it that gene c trait from either of us).


“Will is a dedicated dairyman. He is the fi rst to rise every morning and go start the milking machine and get the rest of us started. He o en milks by himself. I think he is pre y content in that par- lor listening to the swoosh-swoosh of the machine and watching the weigh jars fi ll with milk. He has such a strong work ethic. Will helps bo le most of the milk and awakens at a crazy hour to go to Cherry Street farmer’s market and helps make the deliveries in Tulsa. He unloads and moves milk and does the work of two grown men.


“Our youngest, Grace, never gets  me off from her calf raising du es, she du fully rises early each morning to care for those babies. She has named them all based on their various charac- teris cs and she starts gentling them as newborns by rubbing them, li ing their  ny hooves, etc. Since she has become the sole caregiver of the calves, we have not lost one to illness, which is a testament to the careful, loving a en on she provides them. She cares for the Great Pyrenees dogs that guard the cows and calves. Grace also helps in the cheese room with packaging cheese and is our assistant at the farmers market in Bentonville (Ark.).


Con nued on back cover


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