Do Aged Cheeses Contain Probiotics?

Probiotics. The new darling of health and advertising. Do cheeses really contain any of these amazing, essential microbes? While I have no letters after my name (unless I capriciously add them), it doesn’t require a university degree to understand that bacteria, both beneficial and hurtful, can only live under certain contidions. I am a cheesemaker […]

Chasing Coliform Counts

I was recently visiting England to attend “The Science of Artisan Cheesemaking” conference and had the great additional luck to visit an amazing farmstead creamery- Hill Dairy in Somerset. Not only was the facility quite possibly one of the most well thought out and constructed small creameries that I have ever visited, but owners Will and Caroline […]

The Importance of Monitoring Somatic Cell Counts

Awhile back the FDA raised the maximum number of somatic cells that Grade A goat milk can contain from the former limit of 1,000,000 to 1,500,000.  Our state (Oregon) followed suit just this year and adopted the new limit for goat milk and also lowered the cow level from the FDA level of 750,000 to […]

Using 3M Quick Swabs to Build a Food Safety Program for the Farmstead Creamery

Environmental testing of food contact surfaces and other surfaces that workers might easily touch and then cross contaminate a product can help you quickly find gaps in your food safety program. If you read an earlier post I did on the subject, then you may remember that here at our tiny farmstead creamery, we do […]

Making Yogurt to Feed Kids and Calves

Yogurt  not only provides valuable probiotic bacteria to the young ruminant, but it is easy to digest and can remain at room temperature in free choice bucket feeders without fear of growing unwanted pathogens. Making yogurt for kids and calves is a simple and inexpensive process. At Pholia Farm, we feed pasteurized goat milk and […]

Must-Have Booklet for Consumers and Sellers of Raw Milk

Thanks to Suzanne Willow of Willow-Witt Ranch in Ashalnd, Oregon, I found out about this awesome little booklet by Peggy Beals called “Safe Handling- Consumers’ Guide- Preserving the Quality of Fresh, Unprocessed Whole Milk”. The booklet is meant to be distributed to members of cow and goat shares, buying clubs, and on farm milk customers. […]

Petrifilm plate count- Brine

Just a quick update on our little Nelson Jameson incubator and the aerobic plate count petrifilm plates: It dawned on me that that is a great way to test our cheese brine for its microbiological safety. Ran the first test on Friday and the brine, which is about 6 months old now, had zero growth. […]

Doing Standard Plate Counts- On the Farm

Who would have thought having your own on-farm lab would be so easy- and affordable? I am kicking myself for not trying this sooner.  Doing our own, in house, milk quality tests will help our small, licensed dairy to stay on top of cleaning regimens and milk quality. Even though our results will not be […]

Doing your own Plate Counts

I finally plugged in the little petri-film incubator we purchased from Nelson Jameson and I am, at the moment, cooking our first anaerobic plate counts.  It took me a long time to get around to this, but I think it will go a long way toward making sure our milk is super clean, as well […]

Keeping your Home Milk Supply Clean

Here is another article I wrote about a year ago.  I did a little study using several local volunteer farms who promised to not change anything about their milking techniques and allowed me to take samples of their milk, which I then sent to a certified laboratory for testing. How Clean is Your Home Milk […]