#16 Learning How to Milk a Cow at Amy’s Farm in Ontario, CA
I am not sure it if it sounds weird or not but I really like milk. I know a lot of people in the world are allergic to milk. That is very unfortunate when you think of all the yummy things that can be derived from milk.
When I first moved to the Inland Empire my mother was working as a nurse at the Heman G. Stark Youth Prison . It was in the middle of nowhere Chino. As far as prisons went it was ok, but I distinctly remember passing all the cow pastures to get there. Whenever I passed by those cows I remember it being stinky, but it made me think of happy to think of all that milk being produced.
That was several years ago and things have changed a lot in Chino. The early 21 st century has experienced an over 40% decrease in dairy farms in Chino this is due to numerous reasons but the main reason is simply urban sprawl. Houses go up, cows go away, and all that is left for me is a memory of driving through endless roads of dairy farms.
I had always wondered what it would be like to be on a dairy farm. I like animals and most every cow I have ever met is usually pretty happy (or at the least part agreeable). For some reason I have always wanted to learn how to milk a cow, but as the dairy farms in the area have decreased I have found this harder to do. Another thing I have learned is that not many places actually milk their cows by hand. Commercial dairys have big machines that attach to the cow and do the job quickly and efficiently.
Quickly and efficiently is good for the public in that it usually equates to safe drinkable milk. For me however it is horrible because I don’t get to learn anything. Luckily for me I stumbled onto Amy’s Farm in Ontario, California.
Amy’s Farm describes itself as a poly cultural farm that provides hands-on learning to students of all ages. I first learned about this place when my son (who is five) told me that his class was trying to raise funds for a field trip to this place. As soon as I found out that the tour included a lesson on milking I knew I wanted to visit this place.
Going to the website I read that you needed a group of 10 or more, but that sometimes if they had extra room they would add you to an existing group. Since it is only the 3 of us I was kind of worried, but I filled out the online contact form and to my surprise the next day I got a personal phone call saying that if I showed up at 12 PM I could be included in a tour.
The tour cost $8 ($10 for AJ but he got a pumpkin) and was about an hour and a half long. The lady (Farmer Carrie) giving the tour was very energetic. Which was good because AJ was really excited to be there. The tour included a visit to the organic garden, animal feeding, learning about different horses, and best of all cow milking.
Turns out milking a cow was really easy. I made a video (see below):
Not much to it. Just squeeze and go. If your wondering if you can drink the milk directly from the milk the answer is not legally. FDA agents not present, no one was really interested when I squeezed some milk into my hand and tried it. Not bad, kind of warm (expected that), kind of watery (didn’t expect that), didn’t die, but I still prefer 2% homogenized and pasturized milk.
Overall we had a lot of fun and it was great to be able to check off something from “the list.” If you happen to have an extra $8 dollars and an extra hour and a half I would highly recommend the tour. Plus, for an additional $6 dollars more you can do what I did and get some very yummy chevre goat cheese (I told you I like milk).
What fun! I remember my Uncle Albert’s dairy, but even back in the 60″s when I would visit there, the milking was done by machine. I have milked goats thought…they have only 2 teats. I met a teenager while doing public health education at BYU who lived alone and supported herself (partly) with milk from the goat.