Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Cheese Maker#9 - Mia Herrera

Mia Earth Song Herrera
Age: 11
LaBelle, Florida

Mia's mother, Maureen, first wrote to us with the address of her farm so we could list it on our Good Milk List.  She mentioned that her young daughter actually sells the milk.  We asked her if we could interview her daughter and she agreed:

How did you get into the raw milk business?
First I want to thank you for interviewing me. This is my first one outside of fairs. My name is Mia Earth Song Herrera and I am 11 years old. I show Dairy Goats.

When you show goats one of the things that you want are big producing udders.  After starting out with one little doe and planned breeding and showing I was able to buy better goats with the premiums I won or earned at fairs.  So with better goats with bigger udders you get more milk.

We couldn't keep up with all the milk so we started making ice-cream, yogurt and then tried making cheese. I had already started selling my eggs to pay for feed for the chickens and some of our 4-H and show friends said that they sold their milk.  So we decided to try it. I think it was the best decision. The funny thing is that before we sold the milk we had so much our freezer was full and when the news got out, WOW! it was all gone!)




How many goats do you have?
I have 13 goats in all but only three that are in milk right now. Our milk sales vary between 2-5gals per week, it depends on how much our doe's produce and how much people buy, also how much my brother drinks ha-ha!)  One of these lactating does we use her milk for bottle-feeding one of our baby goats.
All of our animals have their own personalities with names.  Our  3 lactating does - Lala, Jazz, and Harvest are my top showers as well as top milkers.
Lala/Innuendoe is the brown one that looks like a teddy bear-her milk has lots of butterfat in it.
Jazz's baby, the smaller white doe gives us just as much milk as her mommy, but in a smaller package!
 The big white doe with the nice big udder is All-that-Jazz.  The creamy, frothy milk that we get from her smells and tastes like melted vanilla ice-cream! She is our sweetest girl and dressed up for the occasion to look her best, even putting on a little lipstick. lol.  Actually, we give them treats on the goat-stand and she likes cranberry apple juice!
Here are some more pictures. There are a few of the milking demonstration we gave at Manatee Park to the inner-city kids that were at summer camp there. They had so much fun milking our goats and it was fun teaching them. Some were "natural" milkers, they picked it up really quickly!
Here is a picture of me with our little preemie doe. She loves to snuggle in bed with me (don't tell mom!).
The one with the long bell-shaped ears is Desperaux -such a cutiepie and so sweet!
Here are some more pictures of our farm, and me showing other kids how to milk and me at some shows.
These are some pictures of me and my goats and some of my baby chicks that I raised. These chicks are hens now and are laying lots of eggs!
  The small white goat is Harvest and she has won in 4-H Youth Shows at several big county fairs and at the State Fair in Tampa. I won Best of Breed with her and 2nd in Junior Showmanship.
The big white doe is her mom, All That Jazz, who has won Grand Champion 1 time and Grand Reserve 3 times in Open shows (against top breeders) and Youth shows.
We have to shave/clip our goats with electric trimmers and trim their feet/hooves, their coats must be sparkling white and they must be in top condition. Every day I feed twice a day and bottle-feed the baby goats and milk their moms.  
We have a Record Book that we must complete for each 4-H project and it has our feed/health maintenance expenses, income and depreciation, types of medicine and doses, milk production and sale of livestock plus herd management and pictures plus a summary/story of our project. If we do it right, and they put all our community service hours together and the other things we do during the year, like being elected president for two years in a row! then we can win medals and pins through 4-H. If we win at shows we win premiums and can use that money to buy better goats. I won a scholarship this past year at the State Fair to buy a goat for next show season!

From Mia's Mother-Maureen

Here are some pics of Mia making mozzarella.  This is our second time trying to make it because the first time we put too much rennet, I think, and the cheese never stretched. I think we kneaded it too much as well because it came out like hard little balls - it didn't even melt in the oven! Golf anyone? 
This time she checked and rechecked the temp, bringing it up slowly until it was just right. We put in the correct amount of rennet and citric acid but it still didn't stretch like we think it should.  (Maybe you can tell us what we are doing wrong?)  It tasted great, though.
The good thing is, we eat even our "mistakes" and really enjoy making it from our girls' milk.  I think the best one that we have made so far is the extremely easy Chevre.  Sooo good melted on Portabella mushrooms with minced fresh garlic and olive oil on  the grill. yummmm!

From Us
Mia, you are fabulous!  We can't help but notice that you handle responsibility well, you teach others, you work hard and you are absolutely adorable!  Keep us posted and YOU GO, GIRL!!!

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