Written by Anne Trenholm of Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop, Maine
From the moment our farm began, Guernseys have always been special. Our Guernseys have sent us as far away as the World Dairy Expo to exhibit and as close as our farmstand to sell their cheese and yogurt. Every single one – from the calf who greets a first time farm visitor, to the cow leading the herd to graze … past and present, they are all special to us. Some folks might wonder why we think Guernseys are so special.
1.They’re a dairy cow. In general, dairy cows have a special role in creating one of the most nutrient-dense foods and ingredients for people, simultaneously nourishing the land.
2. Our Guernseys help keep our farm the longest continually run working farm in our town. Every drop of milk “finds its way through and back” to the farm and community by way of the relationships we have with customers and folks who support us. It could be said of so many farms, but we think that it’s pretty special that our Guernseys have such an important role in the connections in our community, which help uphold the quality of place and space of our state.
3.Guernsey anchor the story of our farm, they are the pillar of our farm brand. There aren’t a lot of dairies around relying only on Guernseys. It is a deliberate choice to honor the breed and cow families we grew up with by making “Golden Guernsey” cheese and yogurt. We believe in the flavor and taste of our Guernsey milk. We are so proud when our patrons give positive feedback when they eat our handmade yogurt and cheese that start with Guernsey milk and are made in our state licensed and inspected creamery. To literally nurture a product from birth … and from field to table, with the contribution of cows whose ancestors also walked our farm? That’s special.
4. Tradition: Anyone who knows us, knows that we’ve always liked Guernseys. Their markings are, as our neighbors say, “beautiful,” and we like working with them. We have cow families that trace back to original starter herds, including one family related to a cow formerly owned by an artist, fellow Mainer and Guernsey enthusiast, Ralph C. Knowles. Ralph is deceased, but his painting of the ideal Guernsey cow remains a well-recognized, nationally-known cow portrait.
At the end of the day, like a lot of dairy farmers we know, we think the dairy cows of our herd are all pretty special.