Working Cows Dairy
SLOCOMB, Ala. (WBRC) - Jan and Rinske de Jong left their native Fryslan, a province of The Netherlands, to come to America, eventually settling in Slocomb. Jan’s background was in dairy farming, so the family started the first organic dairy in the state.
“We came out of The Netherlands, especially out of the province of Fryslan and that’s been about 41 years ago,” recalls Rinske. “We came over here with 5,000-dollars and we leased cows, something what would not be able to do in Holland. We would have to buy milk quota that would have cost us millions of dollars.”
But in America, specifically the small Geneva county town of Slocomb, Jan and Rinske de Jong found opportunity and eventually the opportunity led to Working Cows Dairy.
“About 10 years ago we swapped to organics. Now we got about 200 cows, 150, 200 cows with young stock and we bottle our own milk and it’s all certified organic,” explains Jan. “It’s just grass-fed cows. We don’t buy any grains. It’s 100% grass-fed, animal welfare approved. I can pet the cows, still. It’s like, cows are tame. Every year you had to replace 30 per cent of the cows, it went down to maybe three per cent and the cows are happy and the people are happier.”
On a hot day, and there are plenty of those in The Wiregrass, there’s no better way to keep cool than with a cold glass of milk. Throw in a little Wire Grass Cheese and how about some Working Cows Dairy Butter.
“Now lately my wife and I have been doing cheese and butter,” says Jan.
Rinske does most of the cheese and butter work herself, “With some help from a lady in Fryslan. Every time we’d go, I just spent two or three days with her to learn how to make cheese. I had to find a cheese what didn’t need to be brined and that’s how I found the Farmstead Cheese and the first year I made it I got an award from the Good Food Awards.
Of course, the Slocomb area is also known for its cheese Rinske continues, “I thought it was kind of cool to make something with a tomato because we are in tomato country, so I make a tomato and garlic cheese. So, this year I put in a Wiregrass Cheese I have this year. So, the basic is all the Farmstead Cheese but I have just different herb mixtures what I put in the cheeses.”
Expanding their product line gives Jan and Rinske hope for their family farm,” And also, we have pet line milk right now. So, things are looking bright for now.”
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