A large picnic: lots of meeting, nod and eating

September 20, 2017 - Picnic Time

What does a Wisconsin plantation family, severely lifting Holstein cattle, do on a Sunday that falls after county fairs end, District Holstein shows are though a memory, State Fair has come and left and World Dairy Expo is still a integrate of weeks away?

Go to a annual Wisconsin Holstein Picnic, of course. And, good over 300 adults and kids did only that final Sunday by creation their approach to Gildale Holsteins during Hollandale — a encampment of 288 people and 46 milking cows in Iowa county. (Note: Hollandale is one of few Wisconsin cities or villages that has a dairy farm—Gildale Holsteins—located within its  borders.)

Picnic-goers enclosed dairy farmers and people who work with dairy farmers, all carrying one thing in common: a connection with a Holstein cow that has perpetually been a many renouned multiply of dairy cows milked on Wisconsin farms and all substantially members of cruise unite a Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA).  

Lots of tradition

Gildale Holsteins is owned by Erik and Brenda Gilbertson, a immature integrate with 3 children, who recently insincere tenure from Erik’s father Mark. It’s a kind of dairy  plantation that many people remember from their flourishing adult days and adore to demeanour at: tiny normal red barn, cows side by side in tie stalls, station on straw (on tip of mattresses), all unaware acres of immature weed where a cows are pastured when they are not on display at a picnic.   

The day began with a Blue Ribbon MILK 5K/ 1-mile travel on roads around a Gildale Farm during 9 a.m. Coordinated by Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, with deduction separate between several charities. Brenda Gilbertson pronounced 44 people entered this first-ever eventuality and “hoped it would continue as a fundraiser.” 

Open barn

At 10 a.m. a stable was open for guest to demeanour during a dairy flock and particular cows.  The mostly listened criticism was “gee, these are high cows.” Rightly so as a purebred Holstein Gildale flock was bred for form and a uncover ring for decades. Some of a cows were enclosed in dual classes of a judging competition that anyone could attend in, and many folks did.

Great steak

Then it was cruise time featuring beef sandwiches served by a Iowa County Cattleman’s Association. I’ll acknowledge that this beef — purchased locally during the  Hollandale Grocery — was improved than about any I’ve ever eaten: served in a prohibited dog bun, we approaching to need a blade to carve my way by a beef — something not easy to do on a paper image with plastic implements. But no, we ate it all though even once touching a knife. Great!

And, we can’t have a dairy cruise though ice cream and a choice of cupcakes to go with it. Add in a divert and plates of cheese being served by dairy queens and it was apparent that many eaters were wakeful of a new investigate that valid butter, cheese and ice cream were good — not bad — for eaters.  

Meeting friends aged and new

Of course, a entertainment of a vast organisation of plantation folks unequivocally means removing reacquainted with aged friends and assembly new ones. Eating while seated on 2 x 10 planks atop grain bales means we are firm to accommodate new people during a march of a dish as people come and go. 

Yes, there was a grave program: member of a Wisconsin Holstein Association, introduction of a Gilbertson family and Alice in Dairyland Crystal Siemers-Peterman, a prolonged time member of a WHA and maestro of a uncover ring, and UW RIver Falls connoisseur and motivational orator Scott Florence. 

There were lots of youngsters among a throng and they were kept busy on pedal tractors (rented from Green County Ag Chest) and bouncing inside and shifting down a slope of a outrageous inflatable made like an finish loader (rented from McFarlanes in Sauk City) — something new to me. 

The future?

A cruise is not a place to speak many about critical subjects though several folks voiced their thoughts to me about a destiny of smaller family farms as they remarkable a continued dump in Wisconsin dairy plantation numbers (now subsequent 9,000). And, how record is holding over dairy farming 

“Will we still have Holstein picnics like this 20 years from now?” a dairyman asked.  “Probably yes,” another immature rancher answered, “but maybe it will be only a few mega plantation owners and mechanism whizzes eating in a repast club… all will be computerized, with robotics and automation and not many tangible farmers.” Who knows?