Our time machine today will take us back to June of 2009 when we toured Hansen's Dairy near Hudson, IA. Hansen's milk comes from cows not injected with rBST/rBGH hormones, and their milk is non-homogenized (the cream floats to the top). My family has enjoyed drinking their milk for years.
The dairy offers tours at $12 per person for a hands-on tour and $8 for a walk-through tour. In 2009, when I think (but am not sure) that it was less expensive; we took a hands-on tour.
We looked through the windows into the processing facility where ice cream was being packaged and walked into the refrigerator where their milk was stored (Brrr!).
Next we met the company's mascots, the wallabies! Some of them were friendly and would eat out of our hands; others were more shy. The secret to making friends with wallabies? Feed them dandelions!
The Holsteins responsible for Hansen's delicious milk are both numbered and named. The one above is 2354 "Lupay."
We visited the milking room and Mrs. Hansen showed us how to milk the cows by hand. Then the workers attached the milking machines to the cows and we watched them being milked.
We were each given a bottle and a little grain to feed the bottle calves. They were hungry and ate eagerly!
This beautiful calf had already graduated from bottle feeding.
Each of us was given a little container of cream to shake to make our own butter. Mrs. Hansen brought out some crackers and milk for us and we enjoyed our super-fresh butter while she told us more about the farm.
Each of the cows has a magnet in her stomach to catch any metal she may eat to prevent it from hurting her stomach. The magnet on the left is new, and magnet on the right came from a cow who had completed her course on earth.
Very little of a cow is wasted after her career in milking is over. Did you know that some of the gelatin used to make marshmallows is made from cows' hooves? For some reason, ever since that tour I've never been able to enjoy marshmallows like I used too...
But I have enjoyed Hansen's milk, cheese curds, cream, butter, and ice cream (they gave us free ice cream after the tour)! The whole operation was clean and efficient, and their products taste fresh and delicious!
They recently built a store and tour center near their farm (above). It works on the honor system, just like the store in their barn used to work: take what you need and leave your payment at the desk with the prices (below)
In Waterloo they own the Moo-Roo which is both a store and an ice-cream restaurant. We stop here to pick up our milk probably more frequently than we visit the farm. The Hansens also have an outlet store in Cedar Falls and sell their milk at various grocery stores in the local small towns.
|Seating at the Moo-Roo|
The best prices ($3.50 per gallon), however, are at their own stores since the grocery stores raise the price by about a dollar.
Meet Mrs. Hansen who guided our tour!
The morning after our tour we enjoyed waffles and strawberries with whipped cream made from Hanson's cream. It was a scrumptious meal! We had a delightful tour, and to this day we still enjoy Hanson Dairy's products.