Reynoldsburg, Ohio — St. Brigid’s Farm, a Registered Jersey™ dairy located near Kennedyville, Md., will be one of eight U.S. operations featured as a Virtual Farm Tour at the 2011 World Dairy Expo.
The program, which will be presented by owners Robert Fry, D.V.M., and Judy Gifford, will start at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5 in Mendota 1 meeting room in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. The American Jersey Cattle Association is the program sponsor.
“The three cornerstones of St. Brigid’s Farm,” Judy explains, “are ecological soundness, economic viability and positive community influence with the Jersey cow the center of all three.”
The 55-acre farm is located on the scenic eastern shore of Maryland near the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay and planted in permanent pasture. It was named after St. Brigid, the patron saint of dairymaids and scholars who was renowned for her compassion and often featured with cows at her feet. She perfectly represents the pairing of Judy, the dairymaid, and Bob, the scholar.
Established in 1996 with the purchase of 69 heifers, the St. Brigid’s Jersey herd today includes160 head consisting of milking cows, replacement heifers, steers and veal calves. It currently ranks third in the nation based on its herd average Jersey Performance Index™, with the 86 cows averaging $222 for USDA’s Cheese Merit index. The 2010 lactation average was 19,867 lbs. milk, 936 lbs. fat and 754 lbs. protein.
The cows graze on perennial grasses, such as ryegrass, orchardgrass or endophyte-free fescue mixed with white clover, from April to mid-December. Pastures are irrigated in the summer. During the grazing season, the ration is supplemented with a fortified grain mix and a modest amount of corn silage. In winter, corn silage and baled hay take the place of grazed forages.
Grass-fed Jersey beef and meadow-raised veal is sold directly to individuals and restaurants to offer consumers a delicious and healthy alternative to the options at the supermarket. St. Brigid’s Farm beef and veal is offered regularly on the menu of the popular Chestertown restaurant, Brooks Tavern, Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore and several others in the area as seasonal specials.
Since 2008, St. Brigid’s Farm has hosted an annual Field to Fork Dinner featuring food sourced from the farm and other local producers. The menu is different each year depending on the availability of local ingredients and the creative flair of the chef. Much of the dinner is cooked on site. Net proceeds are donated to charity with beneficiaries including Heifer International and the Kent County High School Culinary Arts Program.