Have you ever wondered where milk comes from? I mean we all know it comes from cows, but how does that work? JTB Jersey Farm is a fabulous family owned and operated dairy in Duette, FL. They were gracious enough to let me tag along at their family farm to allow me to capture what it is that they do.
JTB Jersey Farm in Duette, FL
Tina, Bill and their 4 children have been in the raw milk business for over 6 years. It's not a hobby, it's a way of life. Having animals that depend on you takes a labor of love. There are no vacations, or spur of the moment trips out of town, but their rewards fill the heart. Their herd consists of all Jersey Cows and a few A2 Jersey Cows, which means A2 raw milk. All the cows know their name and come when called. They are fat, shiny and exude healthy.
Jersey Cows at FTB Jersey farm in Duette Florida I was lucky that when I arrived momma cows had recently had babies! Baby cows are just plain cute.
Jersey calves at JTB Jersey Farm in Duette Florida
To say this is a family operation is an understatement. Bill and Tina's 3 boys help with everything from bringing the cows in to clean up afterwards. They also are boys in every way ;) Their newest edition isn't up for hauling feed just yet, but I am sure it won't be long before she is chasing her brothers.
To start the milking process , first the milk cans are hooked up to the vacuum The girls are brought in from the pasture to hang out in a holding pen so that they can be brought into the milking stalls two at a time.
Getting ready to milk at JTB Jersey Farm in Dueete, FL
Jersey cows waiting to be milked. The girls waiting to come in and eat while they are milked at JTB Jersey Farms in Duette, FL
Once they come into the milking stall, Tina washes their teats thoroughly with soap and water before hooking them up to the milking machine. Cleanliness is an important factor at any dairy, and this is one of the cleanest I have ever seen. After being washed, the teat cups that attach to the vacuum pump are placed on the cow's teats. The vacuum is then turned on and it only takes 5-8 minutes for each cow to be milked.
Watching the milking processWatching the milking process at JTB Jersey Farm in Duette, FL
The cows happily munch away while they are being milked. This process is repeated many times to get through the whole heard, taking about 1 1/2 hours every day.
Milking at JTB Jersey Farm in Duette, FL Hanging out watching the milking process JTB Dairy
Milking at JTB Jersey Farm The sounds of fresh from the dairy milk Jersey Girls at JTB Dairy in Duette, FLHappy cows
This mom does it all, between running the dairy, wrangling 3 boys, milking the cows and taking care of things. She is like super mom!
After milking all the cows, most of the milk heads to the cooler, but some is reserved to feed to the new babies.
Jersey calves at JTB Jersey Farm in Duette, FLCalves are so cute, and dairy calves are no exception. Jersey calves at JTB Jersey Farm in Duette, FLCalves are so cute, and dairy calves are no exception.
Sometimes they have unexpected guests!
Gopher Tortoise Unexpected guest at JTB Jersey Farms in Duette, FL. After feeding the babies and letting the milk start to cool, everything is scrubbed clean and the milk is put into containers to be placed in the cooler.
Clean up timeEverything has to be cleaned thoroughly after each milking and then milk is placed into plastic jugs for resale. Raw milk can only be sold in the state of Florida for pet consumption only. JTB Jersey Farm does have a Florida State pet food license.
Raw milk being placed in containers ready to sell. Raw milk can be sold for pet consumption only in the state of Florida.
It's hard work, but someone has to take the nap.
Nap timeSuch hard work means it is time for a little nap. This little guy works hard too.
Even though Bill has a full time job as LEO with Manatee county Sheriff's Department, runs the dairy and raised four children he also has a nuisance wild hog removal business, raised chickens for both eggs and meat and spends whatever down time he can mange tournament fishing.
Pigs and Chickens at JTB Jersey Farm in Duette, FL