(and some, er, ruminations on milk pasteurization – pun intended)
Question – Why are these ladies so happy?
Answer – They’re proud of the jam they made!
A press release that recently arrived in my inbox read:
“Have you ever wanted to milk a cow, chat with an Amish farmer over a cup of coffee, or make a batch of your own homemade jam? Now you can, as three new offerings let visitors experience Lancaster like never before.”
Well, not so much for the milking the cow thing (although I am a fan of farm-fresh milk, as in not ultra-pasteurized, more on that below). And the chat? Well, I certainly enjoyed meeting Amish cheesemaker par excellence Henry Lapp on a trip out there a couple years ago. He showed my colleague Pat Tanner and me around his raw milk dairy operation, and even took us down into his aging caves. And the homemade jam? Hey, I’m there!
I have learned that there is some seriously good food to be had in Lancaster County, especially in some of the fine dining restaurants in the area. So get yourself out there sometime soon, maybe to try one of these programs.
Cannin’ and Jammin’ at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse allows visitors to head into its famous Jam & Relish Kitchen, roll up their sleeves, and work alongside local farm women employed at the Village in using their own hands to make some jam to take home (allow 1 hour).
The Amish VIP (Visit in Person) Tour at Plain & Fancy Farm in Bird-in-Hand is built around intimate, small-group interaction with Amish farmers, craftsmen, and families. Participants in the three-hour tour visit a farm at milking time, an Amish cottage industry – such as a weaving shop – and an Amish home, where the family hosts guests for an evening chat.
The Farmer’s Apprentice program allows visitors to go “back to basics” at Verdant View Farm Bed & Breakfast in Paradise. Day-trippers and overnight guests can help milk cows, gather eggs, make preserves, feed calves, or assist with planting or harvest activities, depending on the season. This experience will surely help the popular concept, “Farm-to-Table,” come alive for you.
p.s. That comment I made about milk that is not ultra-pasteurized? Point being, that the more you process something, the more you remove flavor and nutrients. So that whole raw milk movement is growing on me, although, yes, you have to be very, very careful with cleanliness and inspections.
Ditto un-pasteurized cider. I was recently fortunate to receive a half gallon of delicious un-pasteurized cider that had been frozen at the press in West Virginia before coming to Princeton. Ever since they started pasteurizing cider I have rarely bought it. It tastes a lot more like apple juice now, and that does not please me nearly the way “real” cider does, to say nothing of the fact that it doesn’t get hard, it just spoils, as it gets older. Again, I realize health issues, especially where children are concerned, are paramount. So, for the most part, we follow the rules, but I have to admit that the idea of “bootleg” milk and cider holds me in its sway. Maybe it’s time for me to head over to PA for some “real” milk.