There’s nothing quite like drinking milk straight from a cow’s udder. Well not literally, of course. The pump is clamped to the teat, through which a steady stream of thick white fluid passes. A line attaches the pump to a holding tank and a spigot then releases the sweet cream. But you get the point. It’s oh so delicious.
A friend suggested we take a trip upstate to visit Hudson Valley Fresh, a dairy farm in Poughkeepsie. I hadn’t been to a dairy farm since my elementary school days (back in Wisconsin, where it’s basically mandatory). The group I was with consisted of a bunch of city folk, all interested in the milk-making process. Farmer Samuel Simon MD (formerly an orthopedic surgeon) led us around the grounds, cordially introducing us to each of his little bessies. “This is number seven, she’s a real beauty... won the blue ribbon at last year’s fair. Oh, and number fifty-one, well she’s had a cold for a couple of weeks now. Don’t mind her sneezing.” You could tell how much the man cared for these animals; after all, he helped deliver most of them: “Sometimes, they’re breach and you need to turn them around while they’re still inside... otherwise they drown.” Goodness me. All the cows were remarkably clean and healthy looking. I think some of them were actually smiling. Farmer Sam explained to us that the government does little in the way of subsidizing farms in the United States, making it difficult to earn a living. For Sam though, the reward was the lifestyle, which suited him exceptionally well.
You’ll notice Hudson Valley Fresh on the shelves of New York City’s grocery stores. The farm prides itself on delivering the milk within 36 hours of it’s natural release, a true testament to the farm’s commitment to supplying the freshest milk possible to New Yorkers. So, even though you’re downtown, you’re almost drinking off the farm.
Vanilla Milk Shake
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups vanilla ice cream
2 drops vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
1 shot of Kahlua (optional… I couldn’t help myself.)
In a blender, combine the milk, one cup ice cream, vanilla extract and honey. Blend until smooth. Add the other cup of ice cream (and the Kahlua) and blend until smooth again. Don’t overdo it, otherwise the milkshake will become too liquidy. Pour into a tall glass, insert a straw and cool off.