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Day in the Life
By Ruth Fields
Photos by Kelly Sue Photography
C Calico Dairy, nestled on a 40-acre enclave off League Line Road, is
the crowning achievement of Herman and Kathleen Hoffman, who
have lived on the acreage for two decades. The only licensed dairy in
Montgomery County, Calico Dairy is unique for another reason—it is
the only dairy in a radius of about 100 miles that produces and sells
A decade ago, the Hoffmans began breeding the superior dairy
cows needed for a raw milk dairy. They opened Calico Dairy in August
2012 and proudly serve the many proponents of raw milk who live
in the local area and far beyond. (Pasteurization, Herman says, is a
throwback to the days when proper sanitation techniques were not
widely understood, and when few families had
adequate refrigeration. By processing milk at high
temperatures, bacteria and other pathogens were
eliminated, allowing milk to have a longer shelf
life. Unfortunately, “good” bacteria, probiotics,
vitamins and minerals may also be compromised
during the process.) Devotees of raw milk say it’s
a healthy, natural, whole food.
“Milk is the perfect food,” Kathleen says. “It
has been for thousands and thousands of years.”
16 Postcards Magazine: Montgomery County Edition | April–May 2014
The Postcards team arrives at the dairy in the pre-dawn darkness.
Although subdivisions surround Calico Dairy, the acreage is surreally
quiet. Cows rest peacefully. We make our way toward the soft light
that is emanating from the barn.
6:55 a . m . – Kathleen tells us that Calico Dairy has 21 cows, as well
as two bulls for breeding. The name of the dairy was inspired by the
patchwork of breeds in use. Some are Holsteins, which provide a large
volume of milk; some are Jerseys, which are heat tolerant and provide
milk with high cream content; others are Ayrshire, which are noted
for the flavor of their milk. The dairy also has some cross-bred cows.
7:00 a . m . – Kathleen introduces us to Fudgie,
Cocoa and Caramel, month-old Nubian goat trip-
lets, which are friendly and playful. Their mother
is milked twice daily. Calico Dairy keeps milk-pro-
ducing does away from bucks, which minimizes
the strong flavor often associated with goat’s milk.
Goat’s milk, Kathleen says, is popular among
breastfeeding mothers because it is so similar to
human milk. She said some mothers, especially
working mothers, supplement breast milk with