Special Farm to Table Series - An Indiana Face Behind Your Food

Meet Sam Schwoeppe, an Indiana Dairy Farmer

The smell of cow manure brings back fond memories. No really, I'm being serious. Yep, I said fond.

We moved to Wisconsin when I turned 5. My parents bought 6 acres from a farmer to build upon. We were surrounded by dairy farms in the land of cheese. The farmer had kept the dirt black from decades of heavy fertilization with the manure spreader. Often times my brother and I would occupy our time with mud fights. My mom used to tell everyone how embarrassed she was when the new neighbors drove up to the house while they were building with my brother and I covered in mud. Only thing white on us were the whites of our eyes.

My dad would get calls from the farmer next door that he needed to help pull a calf. Many times it was an excuse to have a beer and guy talk with him. I loved to tag along. An old dairy barn equaled barn cats! I loved cats, even though the cats didn't love me. Also, what little girl didn't love baby cows (calves). After all, in the words of my 3 year old, "They were my size!" These were some of the fondest memories of my childhood.

These memories came crashing back when I stepped foot on Sam Schwoeppe's farm. The same smell of a dairy farm that I had known as a child. Sweet memories. Sam greeted us with a warm smile. She was so friendly and welcoming, as you would expect from a Hoosier farmer. She and her husband are 4th generation farmers. Her 2 boys will be 5th. Her cows were just as friendly too. Many of them came up and just wanted to be loved on or a treat or two. I hear that her boys bribe them with an occasional Cheese-It cracker. Happy cows for sure.

So what does it take to keep these ladies happy? Lots of love, care and a whole lot of passion. Sam spends 3 hours every morning and 3 hours a night milking a total of 100 cows a day. That's 42 hours a week just spent milking. That's not accounting for all the other responsibilities of the farm. Time is spent mixing the food for these beauties. They eat 120 lbs of feed a day. Yes. 120 lbs each! Let me remind you, she has 100 cows, so 120 lbs of feed x 100 cows = mixing 1200 lbs of feed per day. That's not to mention cleaning up after them. Bottle feeding calves, sanitizing equipment and maintaining the facility. 

The work does not stop once the milk leaves the udder. These ladies produce around 8-10 gallons per day. Where does it go you may udder? (pun intended) This udderly awesome milk is passed through a series of pipes and chilled almost like a opposite effect of a double boiler. This stuff is fragile and not easy to come by as noted above. Then the milk is held in a holding tank till the milk truck comes to pick it up. It is hulled away to Holland, Indiana, only 8 miles away. Then bottled or packed into cartons to go to local schools. In 48 hours or less it will be in local schools ready for kiddos to build strong bones! Pretty amazing huh?!

The milk can also be purchased at local Hometown IGAs and Kroger. You'll see a seasonal flavor in stores this time of year, Peep milk. Marshmallow milk is definitely a special treat!

Follow Sam and her family's fun dairy adventures via Twitter or Instagram, and check back with us over the next few months as we get to know Sam, her farm and her milking beauties better.

Disclaimer: I am a Farm to Table Ambassador for Indiana Dairy and this is sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


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