Extremely cold weather and lingering low temperatures slowed cows' milk production at the Shatto dairy farm in Osborn, Missouri, this spring. But with warmer days, the 300 cattle have increased their production and this week all flavors of Shatto milk were once again in stores.
"We're committed to being all natural, so we just beg a lot," Matt Shatto says, joking about trying to get the cows to make more milk.
In a more practical approach, Shatto hopes to expand the line of cheeses it introduced last October at Whole Foods. A cheese operation allows Shatto to increase its herd size, which helps alleviate the slower production times.
"The aged cheeses mean that we will always have more cows than we need for fluid milk," says Shatto.
The farm's physical plant is also changing, with construction on a new building scheduled to be finished by the annual Family Day on June 19. The new building will house a glass-walled cheesemaking room, additional cooler space for fluid milk and office space on the second floor for employees. Tours will start and likely end in the building, where Shatto has plans for a general store and possibly a milk bar where visitors can sample the various flavors.
"The cheese is really our focus right now, but we're playing around
with new flavors of milk and are likely going to have a new flavor out
this year," he says.
The leading contender is coffee milk.
The family farm may also be building a new barn. An old barn structure -- used to shelter calves -- collapsed from winds and heavy snow on March 21. No cows or people were hurt, although the barn needed to be demolished.
Off the farm, Shatto is looking to return to the City Market in May, but Matt Shatto suggests checking the company's Facebook page for updates on when they'll be at the River Market. Until then, you'll have to travel to the farm or the Web site to get one of the new T-shirts.
Images courtesy of Shatto.