My image of life as a dairy cow reached new highs when I first sighted this delightful milking shed bathed in the early morning light. Owned by an American couple who left the US when George Bush was elected in 2000, the milking operation near Dunedin numbers between 16 and 20 cows.
With a backdrop of faded washing hanging from the roof of the milking shed, a yodel-like call brought the cows running. Once inside the milking shed each cow knew exactly which bay to head for. One cow, who left the property for two years, still remembers which bay was originally hers.
The cows are milked using a bucket system. Before the milk is taken from the cow each one receives individual grooming (to remove muddy patches) and the udders are hand washed with a cleansing solution.
The milk – straight from the cow - has less than 10% of the maximum allowed limit of bacteria found in milk (pasteurised and homogenised) sitting in your supermarket fridges.
With National Radio broadcasting, and a breakfast of local Harraway oats mixed and sweetly scented lucerne the cows looked very contented. As did the customers who could take away milk, cream, ghee, cottage cheese, quark or even a mango flavoured lassi.