Kids get a first-hand look at how milk goes from the cows to the grocery store shelves.
By RACHEL BOCK
After learning about dairy and dairy foods in health class, New England Public School second grade teacher figured out how to incorporate her health lessons with real life, by showing her students where milk and other dairy foods come from. Jessica Gussey knew of a perfect place to take her students to teach them exactly where milk comes from. One of her students, Kelsey Doe, lives on her family’s dairy farm.
In late October, the second grade class went on a field trip to visit Doe’s Dairy Farm, a third generation dairy farm that has been milking cows for over 60 years.
“Of course some of the kids were aware that milk doesn’t just come from Walmart, you have to go through the whole process,” Gussey said. “I decided the easiest way to teach the process was to go see it.”
The highlights for the young class included seeing the baby calves (especially a new born calf that was born that morning), and of course playing with the farm cats and the kittens..
Since the Doe’s start milking at 4 a.m. and again at 3 p.m., the children were not able to watch the milking process. Even though they were not able to see the actual milking of the cows, the students were still able to walk around the milking barn, and learn about the milking process. They even got to watch the transfer of milk from the holding tanks into the milk truck that was there for pickup that day.
Gussey was impressed with how the Doe’s explained the milking process to her students and how her students were able to explore all aspects of the dairy farm.
“I enjoyed how open the Doe’s were. They were open to questions and we were able to move to different things from the milking barn to the barn with the calves,” Gussey said.
The students on the tour received a Doe’s Dairy t-shirt, along with a nutritious dairy snack.
Doe’s Dairy is operated by Earl and Arlene Doe, Earl and Arlene’s son Warren and his wife Gail, Warren and Gail’s son Kory and his wife Sara, and Warren and Gail’s daughter Ariann and her boyfriend Don. Warren and Gail’s niece Halle also came this past summer to help with the family operation.
The Doe family milks approximately 250 cows, along with raising all of their own heifers. And they have a rotation of about 300 cows that can be milked.
The Doe’s are able to milk 28 cows at a time in their current barn, and the milking process takes about four hours each time twice a day. The family dairy farm also has their daily chores of feeding all of the cows, along with feeding about 35 baby calves every day.
The Doe family started giving dairy tours about 12 years ago, and especially loves showing school-aged children and adults where milk actually comes from, and the hard work and dedication that it takes to get that milk and dairy foods that people love so much.
“We are always open for people to come, especially the kids because we like them to see where the milk comes from and the process,” Doe said. “We also love to show the kids the baby calves as well.”