Sunday, July 17, 2011

Interview with Emily from Zweber Farms

So the other evening I tweeted about drinking milk as my bedtime drink and @zweberfarms replied MILK :-), I couldn't resist asking him if I could interview them on dairy farming for chow and chatter. His lovely wife    kindly answered my questions, by all accounts they seem like an amazing farming family, and I am thankful for farmers like this who work so hard so we can enjoy milk and meat raised in a natural and humane way.

How long have you been dairy farming?

 Our farm has been in the Zweber family since 1906. My husband’s great-grandfather bought the land and homestead. The Zwebers are German immigrants and had settled in the area around the 1850’s. Tim and I joined the farm full time after Tim graduated from college in 2006. We farm along with Tim’s parents, Jon and Lisa Zweber.

 Tell us about the way you farm and why being organic is so important, can the cows graze freely I heard that a lot of dairy cows are kept indoors 

During the pasture growing months our cows and youngstock (calves and heifers) are out on pasture. They are moved every twelve hours to ensure that they have plenty of nutritious grasses and hay to eat. Our grazing method is called rotational grazing. Each day we make decisions on where our cows will graze based on pasture quality and feed value. Our method is known as intensive, which means we give them just the amount of feed they will need in 12 hours. This is important because it forces the cows to eat all the grasses, instead of picking and choosing only their favorites. This gives the cows a well balanced diet and allows their manure to effectively fertilize each area they graze. As organic farmers it is important to think of cow nutrition from the soil up. We need healthy soils to make healthy grasses. Healthy grasses are fed to make healthy cows who produce healthy milk. Waste from healthy cows then is applied back to the land to replenish the soil nutrients. Each segment in the cycle is important. In the winter months our cows have free access to both a sand bedded building and pasture area. Winter feed consists of the organic hay, forages and grains we harvest on our farm and neighboring areas. We milk about 120 cows and have about 150 youngstock on our farm.

Being organic is important to us because doing what is best for our land, animals and family is important. Our land is healthy, our animals are healthy and our farm provides nutritious milk to our family and hundreds of families around our region. We can be proud of our product.

Do you as a family love milk?

 Of course we are huge milk drinkers and lovers of all dairy products. Thank goodness we have a nearly endless supply of milk on the farm. We drink through several gallons each week. Milk and homemade cookies is a favorite snack of our children (and Tim and I).

  Is there anything that you find will surprise folks about dairy farming?

 I think people would be surprised to learn that there are lots of opportunities for rewarding careers in the dairy industry. Whether you like working with animals, have an interest in developing new dairy products or find excitement in global marketing, the dairy industry is just not for farmers any more. Dairy farming no longer looks like an old farmer in bib overalls on a rusty tractor. It is a complex industry. We are always looking for good help on our farm too. Often people associate dairy farming with manual labor. While there is plenty of that, it takes a special caring person to be able to work with animals each day. Our longest part time employee had no farming background when she starting working on a dairy farm. Her easy manner and love for animals makes her a valuable asset to our farm.

Heres a lovely clip of the family about their farm :-)

for more information here's their website -

Have a great start to the week folks :-)

Bookmark and Share


  1. Fun interview Rebecca! I'm ready for bed now...may have to go get a glass of milk :-). Good night!

  2. Great interview and thanks for introducing the wonderful farm to me , very sweet family indeed! :)

  3. I love your interview posts! I learn new people, new blogs and new information. Keep them coming! I should get a glass of milk before going to bed...

  4. Well done! It's so nice of them to give you a short interview! Loving the powers of Twitter :)

  5. Rebecca, I adored this post. I think there is nothing more important we can do than to remind people of the choices they make when shopping and eating. Rather than treats or calories, quality food is what we all need. I agree with EA- where's the milk? I'm thirsty.

  6. Haha loved this post! it was so interesting :)

  7. What a fabulous interview and a wonderful family!! Love that they take care of their animals :)

  8. WOW Rebecca; what an outstanding post; I so much enjoyed your interview as well as the Zweber Farm video.
    We do admire our farmers; it seems they are disappearing here as large companies seem to be taking over. Thank so much for reminding us that there are stiil many who care.

  9. EA hope you got your glass of milk :-)
    Kankana oh it was so cool to interview them
    Nami :-) oh I love doing them
    Mshuia for sure
    maris thanks
    Lauren well said :-)
    Lauren thanks
    Lisa oh so true makes you think about what we buy
    Rita my pleasure, mission accomplished

  10. It’s too bad that Emily and her family won't support other independent Organic Valley Farmers that want and NEED to sell raw milk to make a living. They might be a truly amazing farm family if they had the courage to stand up to King George and let him know that they won’t tolerate his bullying of fellow farmers instead of supporting any and ever thing he does without question.

  11. Great interview Rebecca. And what a lovely family!!

  12. What an informative post and so much about the diary industry and farming that you have introduced me to!! Thanks
    Now I will go for a glass of milk too:)

  13. Lovely interview! I always appreciate all and any organic principals. Wonderful to get a glimpse of the family behind the dairy :)
    Wishing you a fantastic week...

  14. Nice interview and wonderful family!!!!

  15. anonymous sorry not sure what to say
    Roz thanks they really are
    Malli oh thats why I love interviews so I can ask questions he he
    magic of spice thanks you too
    Erica :-0
    claire thanks

  16. Ok, I must really be in another world because I had no idea you were doing these lovely interviews! Loved this one and heading over to the others now :-)
    You are doing a great job Rebecca, so proud of you! Really need to find some more spare time and visit Chow and Chatter more!

  17. What an interesting post! Children are so cute too! My husband grew up in farm and one of his chore was milking cows at 5AM before schools. It was not easy task but he loved it and drank fresh milk everyday.

  18. Prerna no worries
    nipon pin wow he was brought up to work hard then :-)

  19. Such a cool interview; I learned so much, and I look so forward to reading more of your interview posts! Have you always had milk to drink before bed, or is that a recent thing?

  20. Lenore oh for a good few years mainly when pregnant to get calcium



Related Posts with Thumbnails