A1: You sent your spouse/partner to pick up. Check with them first. A2: Someone else didn't check the posted order sheet and took something they weren't supposed to. Really, it's posted at the pick up site. A3: Sigh.... there is a small chance between 4-5 people counting and checking that we miscounted. A4: I dropped something in a slurry of horse crap and mud and didn't want to say, so I blamed it on your spouse (see A1).
2) Why does it seem like the milk tastes different sometimes?
A1: There is always a difference in flavor between the warmer months when there is grass and the colder months when they receive mostly hay. It can also sometimes vary week to week or month to month if you have a sensitive enough palate to notice (most people don't notice much). This is because they receive very little to no grain. Grain feeding gives a consistent flavor, but in our opinion, a less complex, rich, or interesting flavor. Flavor will change slightly depending on what is growing out in the field with grass (like chicory, for instance). During the Spring, I think it tastes like liquid ice cream.
A2: Atlee forgot to put the salt lick out. Less minerals means less yummy. Alight, so it happened one time.
3) Why does the milk taste "barn-y or pasture-y"?
A: Because cows live in barns and frolic in pastures. Also, because they don't receive grain and the milk isn't cooked.
4) How long does the milk last?
A: Usually at least 7 days with peak freshness in the first 5 days in a refrigerator. If you keep your refrigerator on the cold side and leave the jars on the top shelf and don't open the ones you intend to use last, they may seem completely fresh 7 days later. Either way, it is entirely drinkable through all 7 days.
5) If my milk tastes a little sour or "off", does that mean it is bad?
A: Most likely no. Raw milk is a living food and cultures over time. I prefer to call it "going good". It is a natural process. In fact, I make cottage cheese simply by leaving jars of milk sitting on my counter (yes, even in summer) and waiting for it to separate. I have done this with milk that is 2 weeks old. Drinking cultured milk products in their various stages used to be the norm. Raw milk rarely goes bad, it just changes form.
7) Is this a ride share program where I have to go to the farm and do pick ups?
A: No. A local delivery manager takes sole responsibility for pick up and delivery of farm products to a single location. Ride share groups can be very cost effective as long as you have enough people to minimize the number of trips you take, but they can also be a hassle if not all members are reliable or committed. I started doing this many years ago because members of my ride share group were unreliable so I decided to take sole responsibility. I also just like going to the farm.
8) Can I visit the farm?
A: Absolutely. Talk to your local delivery manager to set up a time or write a letter directly to Atlee Yoder. Atlee likes to meet the people he provides for.
9) Do I have to be part of the herd share groups to order CSA or meat?
A: No, CSA and meat orders are conducted separately from the herd share groups.
10) If I am part of the herd share group, do I have to pay delivery fees to receive meat and CSA?
A: Yes. Meat orders and CSA shares are figured separately because they are considered different farm programs and not everyone who signs up for one signs up for the other. Also, local delivery managers simply couldn't afford to take sole responsibility for all pick up, delivery, group administration and organization, email answering, payment collection, and accounting without charging these fees. This doesn't include vehicle wear and tear and the fact that we often times are doing more than just showing up and picking something up. Also, there are extra concerns in handling, carting, and storing meat and vegetables that are more complicated than putting milk bottles in a fridge. Members are always welcome to forgo the delivery fees in favor of picking it up themselves, but they often find that in the long run, it is more cost effective and more sustainable for one person to do this for many.
11) Why aren't there any pictures of Atlee and his family on the website?
A: Old Order Amish do not take pictures and do not allow pictures to be taken of people. I am allowed to take pictures of animals and the general farm environs, but not the people. So, you're stuck with having to look at me. As mentioned above, you are always welcome to schedule a visit and meet them in person.
12) Do you provide goat's milk?
A: Yes! We now provide goat's milk, goat cream, and goat butter through Atlee's brother, Henry. Henry's farm is just around the corner so it's an easy stop on the way. Use our contact page if you are interested in signing a goat share contract.
13) Why don't these questions have any sensible order?
A: Because I did it by stream of consciousness. My brain works like a Kerouac novel with megadoses of free association. Just be glad you don't have to live inside it.