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So, I was talking to our friend, Ashley about cows and milk. Now, most people couldn’t carry a conversation about cows and milk very far, but Ashley happens to be an expert. She is one of the owners | operators of Happy Cow Creamery in Pelzer, SC. Their approach is pretty simple, and very successful. They produce good milk. Really, really, really good milk. Now there are some basic things that go into that.
1. Some cows like to stand in the sun. Others like to stand in the shade. Happy cows spend their days in fields that have both sun and shade, so they can stand where they want, when they want.
2. Cows hate standing on concrete. Who doesn’t? There are cows in this world—sad cows—who spend their entire lives in big industrial barns, standing on concrete. As a practical matter, if one wants happy milk, one needs happy cows. And happy cows are cows who spend their days in grassy fields, where there is both sun and shade…and no concrete.
3. Really good milk is processed really good. This means, among other things, that it is pasteurized by bringing it to the perfect temperature for the perfect amount of time to kill all the potential bad things, while preserving all the good things for which we drink milk. Big industrial creameries (there is an important difference between a dairy and a creamery—hint: most places that call themselves dairies are actually creameries…Ashley will explain) pasteurize too hot for too long, killing EVERYTHING about the milk, then meet nutritional expectations by adding stuff back into the milk. They call it “fortifying,” but if you’re gonna do that, why not just drink some water and take multiple vitamins (that’s me saying that, not Ashely—she would never say anything so rude).
4. Really milk deserves to stay really good. A lot of folks make pilgrimages to Happy Cow Creamery, and I gotta say it’s worth the trip. When they come, they buy enough to last a while. If you’re going to do that, Ashley recommends that you have a separate fridge. Seems happy milk is happiest at a constant refrigerated temperature. The routine opening and closing of a family fridge disturbs the tranquil state of the milk.
5. You gotta be there. Happy Cow milk is available here and there (but definitely not at that one place from Arkansas). But the best place to get it is right there on the farm. It’s also a great place to get a look at some happy cows and some happy farmers. You should go there. Take the kids. Take the neighbors. Call ahead and take the tour.

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