Westby Cooperative Creamery Patron Profile

 

 

Art & Jean Thicke & the Crowley Family

Enchanted Meadows Organic Dairy Farm

 

Hello, and welcome to Enchanted Meadows.

 

We are Art and Jean Thicke, the proud owners and operators of Enchanted Meadows Organic Dairy Farm.

 

This is an Ayrshire dairy farm, milking 90 cows in the beautiful countryside near La Crescent, Minnesota, along the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The farm was originally purchased by my parents, Bill and Irma Thicke, in 1928; so, our family has been here for over 80 years.

 

For several years, Chad and Melissa Crowley, and their three children, Dylan, Jessica and Erin, have played an integral part in this family dairy farm operation. The Crowley Family helps with daily chores such as milking, feeding calves, and maintaining breeding and milk production records.

 

Enchanted Meadows consists of 477 acres, with plenty of pasture-land needed to feed our cows in what's called a rotational-grazing or paddock-grazing system. Since 1985 we have utilized this grazing system to supply the majority of our forage for the animals on our farm. Our cows are on pasture feeding for over seven months of the year, which helps to reduce overall feed inputs, lessens labor chores, and leads to healthier cows that feed in a more natural environment.

 

Cow feeding costs are the highest cost on a dairy farm, which means these costs need to be carefully planned and managed. Our profitability hinges on the quality and quantity of the pasture grasses we grow, which our cows consume to produce milk. Our pasture grasses include a mixture of timothy, fescue, red and while clovers, blue grass, brome, and orchard grass. Our cows love these pasture grasses as part of their feed ration.

 

In order to produce milk, a cow needs to become pregnant and birth a calf. Our cow breeding schedule is set up so that most of our cows give birth to a calf in March and April; the same time that pasture grasses are growing in the Spring season. During the next 30 to 60 days after birth, the cows are in their prime stage of milk lactation, and in-sync with the types of grasses growing in our pastures that are naturally higher in protein and total digestible nutrients (TDN).

 

We then rotate cows from pasture to pasture (paddock to paddock), allowing time for the grasses to re-grow, which can take from 25-to-50 days, depending on rainfall and sunshine.

 

Westby Cooperative Creamery is unique in many ways, with one distinction being the milk that we, as patron-member-owners, produce on our family dairy farms. All of our members produce r-BST-free milk, some of which is also Certified-Organic milk; like the milk that comes from our cows at Enchanted Meadows. This means our milk complies with the U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for Organic Milk, and is further certified as such by Nature's International Certification Services.

 

From these two milk sources Westby Cooperative Creamery has the flexibility and creativity to produce dairy-food products that meet the needs of a diverse and changing food industry marketplace, including great tasting Cottage Cheeses, Sour Creams, Dairy Dips, Yogurts, Butter, Cream Cheeses, Cheese Curds and other Hard Cheeses. This includes Westby brand Organic Hard Cheeses in Colby, Mild Cheddar, Aged Cheddar, and Monterey Jack Pepper.

 

We are proud and thankful to live and work on a self-sustaining family dairy farm operation, and in a healthy and productive lifestyle that reaches beyond our farm and into your homes with the quality dairy foods that our cooperative manufactures.

 

We would enjoy showing you more of Enchanted Meadows; so, please stop by if you're in the area. In the meantime, please visit www.DairyDoingMore.org and www.DairyFarmingToday.org to learn more about America's family dairy farms.

 

Sincerely,
Art & Jean Thicke & the Crowley Family

 

 

 

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