We’re very nearly done with calving for this year, but we’re already planning for next year’s babies! While we began with a Jersey herd, we’ve long worked to customize our cows to our mountain land and the special demands of raw milk cheesemaking. For the last ten years our best tool for that has been bringing in French genetics via crossbreeding. When they visited farms of the Savoie and the French Alps, Helen and Rick learned how invaluable these cattle breeds were to making the famous cheeses of the region — in fact, a cheese like Comte or Reblochon can only be made from the milk of specific breeds. They also knew the French Montbeliards had been used with great success on grazing dairies in Ireland. So we began experimenting with adding French genetics to our own herd. The results have been satisfying, and the “French chicks” have become an invaluable part of the herd, just one more thing helping to give our cheese its marvelous sense of place.