Several years ago, I frequented a restaurant in Chico, CA called the Kramore Inn. It specialized in crepes and other pasta dishes. But they served this dessert of chocolate mousse crepes that was out of this world. I decided to make some crepes and re-create this dessert for the feature of another lovely dairy woman. Today we’ve got Jenni of Flood Brothers Farm!
DAIRY: JENNI OF FLOOD BROTHERS FARM
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I grew up the daughter of the John Deere salesman and became the “Parts Girl” while still in school. After a few semesters of studying International Relations and Comparative Foreign Policy at college with a plan to head out to far, remote corners of the globe and feed the world I realized that what I really wanted to do was feed my own corner of the world. I moved back home and shortly thereafter began working again with my dad selling farm equipment. A Friday afternoon parts delivery to a nearby farm turned into feeding calves, helping to deliver a calf for the first time, a tractor date , or two, with The Farmer and within weeks finding myself running a tractor and mower (that, ironically, my dad had sold to them years ago), and a couple years later a wedding squeezed in between haying and corn season. I didn’t know until years later that The Farmer had first “fallen” for me back when I was just a parts girl and came around the counter carrying two five gallon pails of hydraulic oil for a customer. That’s how I became a dairy farmer and that’s how I started feeding my corner of the world.
Who farms with you and what are their roles?
Our family dairy farm includes 3 generations of 6 families and 22 family members. Each family member here on the farm has a role whether it is operating equipment during crops, milking, herd health (my sister in law Erin is one of the finest large animal vets you will ever know), caring for calves, maintaining our fleet of trucks and tractors, feeding the cows…everybody has a job and part of keeping our farm running. My husband Dana, his parents George & Prudy, Uncle Billy, brother Tim,& his wife Erin, cousins Katie & Laura and their spouses Danny & Joel, and our youngest generation, including my daughter Lilla and son Pres, have all been a part of our farm. Our family has been here on this corner of the Earth for over 200 years and most of what we do each day, with 40+ coworkers, is to ensure that our cows are comfortable and cared for in order for them to produce fresh, quality, local milk.
What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
Our farm is home to 3,400 dairy cows, heifers and calves. Each day we milk 1,700 cows, three times a day, and produce around 17,000 gallons of fresh, local milk that finds its way onto our neighbours’ tables within 24-48 hours. In order to provide a balanced diet for our cows we raise around 2,000 acres of corn for corn silage and close to 3,000 acres of grass for haylage and dry hay. We don’t just raise cows, corn and hay, we also raise our next generation here-our youngest generation has 11 members ranging in age from 3 to 18.
What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc?
Since our family first started putting milk on our neighbours’ tables the advances in technologies and science have not only made that product safer and improved the quality by means of pasteurization, cooling, storing and packaging but the way we are able to care for our cows has really made a difference. Improved research and findings in the fields of genetics and feeding of our cows has truly helped us to produce more and higher quality milk from fewer cows, and those cows are healthier than they have ever been. Knowing more about cow comfort and “little things” like the best barn designs, bedding, ergonomics, and more has allowed us to cater to their needs and improve their quality of life, which in turn improves their milk production and its quality. When it coms to feeding our family of cows we are so fortunate to be able to integrate techniques such as no till, cover cropping and biotechnology in order to lessen our environmental footprint, improve our soil health, improve yields and provide our cows with high quality nutrition. Being able to build upon the experience of our heritage and combine it with the technology and science of the future really helps us provide sustainability and profitability that is key towards stewarding our land and farm into the future.
What is your favorite thing to do with a food crop you grow? (recipe, method of cooking, etc.)
It’s pretty hard to get through a day without using real dairy around here. Whether it is milk on the breakfast table for cereal, coffee or in a glass; chocolate milk or recipes with cheese for Team Dinners (in the fall there are at least two a week!); butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream (and did I mention cheese?) dairy is an anchor of our family meals. We are one of the 1,200 farm families that make up Cabot Creamery Cooperative and we are so proud of the dairy products our farms produce including The World’s Best Cheddar! These are two recipes from our some of our Co-Op’s farm families that are included in “The Cabot Creamery Cookbook”: Echo Farms Au Gratin Potatoes with Cheddar Stout Sauce and Krebs Organic Dairy Farms Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Squares.
You can find more from Jenni on her blog The Deere Milkmaid, by giving their Facebook page a LIKE, tweeting with her on Twitter, following her photos on Instagram, or checking our her Dairy pins on Pinterest.
I had no idea making crepes was so simple!? I loved this crepe recipe and it was extremely easy. I can imagine these crepes would be awesome with all sorts of sweet and savory fillings if chocolate mousse isn’t your bag!
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Easy Chocolate Mousse
- 1 - 3.9 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 16 ounces whipped creme (or whipped topping)
- Beat eggs well in a large bowl.
- Add water and milk. Whisk to combine.
- Add flour and salt and whisk until smooth.
- Add melted butter which has cooled. Whisk to combine.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Once ready to make crepes, spray cooking oil on a large skillet over medium heat.
- Ladle crepe batter onto center of pan and move pan around to completely cover the bottom with a thin layer of batter.
- When batter on top looks dry and edges begin to curl, flip crepe over using spatula. Let cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until slightly brown. Remove to plate.
- Repeat for additional crepes until batter is gone.
- Chocolate Mousse
- Mix the pudding mix with the milk. Let set. When ready to use, mix the pudding with the whipped creme.
- Fill crepes with chocolate mousse and roll up. Top with whipped cream, bananas, and/or nuts.
This post is part of my Thirty Days of Food series where I am writing about food and farming for the entire month of November, to find out more about it all or how to follow along, visit my Thirty Days of Food page to find more great recipes with farmer features!