Chisholm Family Farm

photo Creamery
Orchard Hill Creamery is the center piece of Chisholm Family Farm.  This is where cheese, ice cream and yogurt are made by the Chisholms for sale on the Nebraska Food Coop, at different farmers markets, special activities and at their on-farm store near Unadilla.

 

Andy Chisholm has traveled many miles since leaving England and moving to the United States.  In the southeast US he met his wife Laura and they traveled to Nebraska. They started out wanting to produce food for their family and their dream was to start a dairy and creamery to make dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream.  They have been at several locations in eastern Nebraska the past few years, but have finally found a home in southeastern Nebraska near Unadilla in Otoe County.  Andy was a member of our second Farm Beginnings class in Syracuse, NE a few years ago.

Andy, Laura and their children have a small herd of Jersey cows which produce milk, high in butterfat which makes excellent dairy products.

Their farm and creamery are located northwest of Unadilla at 1875 D Rd, Unadilla, NE.  While their main focus is the dairy, they also have some other food they raise and sell.  This includes: asparagus, strawberries, eggs and pork.  The Chisholms participate in the Old Market Farmers Market in Downtown Omaha and Ak-sar-ben Farmers Market regularly.  They have also sold at the Village Point Farmers Market in Omaha and they are a member of the Nebraska Cheese Guild.  While Laura participates in these farmers markets, the bulk of the dairy products produced at the creamery are sold to food coops, restaurants and stores.  You can purchase dairy products on the Nebraska Food Coop, an on-line food coop, Open Harvest, a Food Coop at 1681 South St. in Lincoln, NE and at Daddy’s Neighborhood Fresh Market at 4811 NW Radial Hwy in Omaha, NE. Some of their dairy products are featured at area restaurants, including: M’s Pub, Dante’s and Block 16 in Omaha and The Lied Lodge in Nebraska City.

A major event that the Chisholms have hosted at their farm in the past couple of years is Milk Fest.  This year it is scheduled for October 22nd and 23rd.  This is a fun event for the whole family which has drawn several hundred people.  There are a number of venders present, local food, music and drink, games for kids and several fun activities for anyone interested in supporting the local food community.

Here is a photo blog and tour of Chisholm Family Farm and Orchard Hill Creamery located at 1875 D Rd, Unadilla, NE.

 

photo certified organic sign
The Chisholm Family Farm and Orchard Hill Creamery are Certified Naturally Grown. They are committed to producing food without synthetic chemicals, in harmony with nature for their local community.
photo milking cow herd
I mentioned the Chisholms have a herd of primarily Jersey dairy cows, which produce milk that is rich and is excellent for producing cheese, ice cream and yogurt. This is their current milking herd
photo cows grazing in pasture
The cows are on a forage based diet, rotating through pastures for a major part of the year.  The remainder of the year cattle will be fed alfalfa hay.  The photo above shows cattle grazing a mixture of cool and warm-season grasses, which most pastures are comprised of on the Chisholm Farm.
photo dry cows
The dry cows, shown above  are kept in a separate pasture across the driveway from the milking herd.
photo cattle waterer
Cows received fresh water in a tank every day.
IMG_0444 calves #1
Above is a photo of the replacement heifers grown on the farm. The heifers are bred by a bull at about 15 months and the young jersey heifers will join the herd and start to produce milk when they are 2 -2 1/2 years old.
photo milking parlor
This is the milking parlor where Andy Chisholm can milk four cows at a time.  He stands down in the lower area or (pit) and washes off and sanitizes the cows teats before putting the milking machines on the cows.  Notice the milking machine hanging up and also a feeder where Andy can provide a little grain if desired  to the cows while he milks them.  
photo bulk tank #1
This is the bulk tank where the milk is stored at a refrigerated temperature until it is taken to the creamery to be processed into a value-added dairy product such as: cheese, yogurt or ice cream. The bulk tank is located in the milk room.
IMG_0440 milking equipment
Here is the milking equipment hanging up in the milk room already for the next milking on the Chisholm Farm 
photo andy in milk room
When I visited the Chisholm Farm by myself and interviewed Andy, I caught up to him when he was cleaning the milking equipment in the milk room.  I grew up on a small Grade A Dairy Farm in southeast Nebraska so I am familiar with the duties and requirements for a Grade A Dairy.  The milk room has to be cleaned daily, with milking equipment sanitized following milking.  The milk room and milking facilities are inspected monthly by a Nebraska State Inspector. 
IMG_0438 Farm Beginnings
Andy Chisholm talks to members of the Farm Beginnings class in his milk room when we toured his farm last Saturday. 
photo bulk tank
I was able to look through the door into the Cheese Plant or Creamery at the Chisholms when we visited. This is a photo of the vat where cheese is processed.  Sanitation is very critical in the creamery so we just looked at the equipment from the outside.
photo cheese plant #1
The ice cream machine is a major piece of equipment at Orchard Hill Creamery as the Chisholms are making several kinds of ice cream and selling it at different venues.   
photo farm store
The on-farm store at the creamery offers their dairy products plus some other locally produced Nebraska products as well as unique foods and specialty items from other places. 
photo yogurt for sale
Different flavors of yogurt are a big seller for the Chisholms. 
photo cheese for sale
Cheese is still the heart of their operation.  This photo shows different types of cheeses in the refrigerator at Orchard Hill’s On-farm Store. 
photo ice cream
Ice Cream has been an excellent dairy product for the Chisholms at Orchard Hill Creamery. I had the opportunity to try some of their ice cream and it was very good.  
photo grain Grain Place
One of the other products sold at the On-farm Store is Organic Rolled Oats from the Grain Place, from Marquette, NE; one of the pioneers in organic farming and processing of grains in Nebraska. 
photo goat milk soap
Another fun non-edible product in the store is different kinds of goat milk soaps.  
IMG_0446 chicken
The Chisholms have a few laying chickens and they do sell eggs at the farmers markets and in their on-farm store. 
IMG_0447 chicken laying boxes
On our tour last Saturday the kids looked in the mobile egg laying building where the chickens go in and lay their eggs. 
photo strawberries
The Chisholms have a bed of strawberries that they are setting on and may provide another type of produce for the farmers markets.  They also have a bed of asparagus they have been marketing this spring. 
photo high tunnel #1
The Chisholms hope to work with a partner interested in growing produce in their high tunnel so they can market it along with their dairy products.  

 

 

This concludes our tour of the Chisholm Family Farm and Orchard Hill Creamery.  The Chisholm’s are committed to producing local food, especially a variety of several different value-added dairy products. You can purchase their products at several different locations or you can come out to their farm near Unadilla.  It is a very short drive from Lincoln and just a little farther from Omaha.  For more information about their farm and/or creamery, go to  http://www.chisholmfamilyfarm.com/ or  http://www.orchardhillcreamery.com/.  Stay tuned for next time when we visit another local food producer in Nebraska or a bordering state.

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