Jesse’s mom, Jane has been out dairy cow shopping lately. She’s considered Holstien (too much milk) checked out Brown Swiss (too big) and more recently Canadienne, an endangered heritage breed native to Canada. Last weekend she mentioned that she had connected with a local farmer who has a Canadienne as well as some Milking Shorthorns. She made a date to kick their tires, and invited us to come along.
We drove the snow-covered, winding driveway to Devon Acres Farm and met Robin Kirby, who walked us over the crest of a beautiful hill, past two working horses to the barn. The farm is surprisingly ancient. Most jobs are done by hand and others requiring fuel guzzling tractors are done with the horses.
|Aerron milking one of their Milking Shorthorns.|
We learned that they milk the cows for their own consumption and that their main farm operation is a CSA, which offers mainly vegetables as well as organically raised grass-fed beef and lamb. In the summer you can find them at the Brantford Farmers Market, and they’ve been known to show up with a vegetable-filled democrat buggy, drawn by one of their horses.
The shorthorns were beautiful and munching on their hay as Aerron, Robin’s son, began milking. He let Jesse give it a try and he managed to squeeze out a bit of milk. It wasn’t too bad for a first attempt, but when Aerron took over again, it was easy to see his years of experience as he squeezed a few litres out in a matter of seconds.
|Robin Kirby leaning on their Canadienne & Their Border-Cheviot sheep.|
Robin and Aerron’s families use the milk to drink raw and make their own yogurt, kefir and butter. I bet it’s delicious. That’s why we’re doing all this cow shopping, so that one day, we can shake off the last mercy-hold of the grocery store – dairy.
Devon Acres Farm
101 Robinson Road
RR#4 Brantford, Ontario