Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

What’s Got Four Legs, Provides Milk, and Is in Your Backyard?

Cow. Just the word alone is worth repeating. Beyond that, cows provide milk, cream, butter, cheese, and meat—if you’re into that—not to mention, they’re furry and kinda cute. While most people opt for dogs, cats, or fish to keep around the house, Joann Grohman’s Keeping a Family Cow may have you reconsidering your options. Why not own a cow?

Originally published in the early 1970s as The Cow Economy, Keeping a Family Cow, Revised and Updated Edition, is the Chelsea Green edition of Grohman’s nearly forty-year-old classic that is the go-to book for homesteaders looking to keep a single cow.

“This book combines food philosophy with a practicum of knowledge and experience that Ms. Grohman has acquired in her eighty-five years in and around Jersey cows,” writes Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in the Foreword. “Joann’s book is a field manual for both the experienced and inexperienced alike.”

This new edition is already establishing itself as the must-read homesteader book, and has been featured on such popular food and farming websites, such as Civil Eats, as well as The Greenhorns.

In addition, Down East Magazine  wrote a great feature – with some fantastic photos – on Joann and her lifelong devotion to keeping a family cow, and it’s importance. You can get a peek of the page previews below from Patryce Bake Photography Facebook Page, but for the full slideshow make sure to visit Down East Magazine. Trust us, the photos alone are worth the click.

It includes detailed and extensive information on a variety of useful topics including:

  • The health benefits of untreated milk;
  • How to milk a cow effectively;
  • Details on calving and breeding;
  • The importance of hay quality and how to feed your cow properly;
  • Fencing and pasture management;
  • Treating milk fever and other diseases and disorders; and,
  • Making butter, yogurt, and cheese.

“Highly recommended for anyone interested in grass-based farming and nutrient-dense food—not just family cow owners—Keeping a Family Cow will instill great appreciation for the sacred bond between domesticated animal and the human beings who care for them,” writes Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Joann is also featured speaker at this year’s Weston A. Price conference, going on now in Atlanta. And if you don’t already make sure to follow Joann on Facebook here.

Keeping a Family Cow, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers is available now and on sale for 35% off until November 22nd. 


Read Chapter 2: What Makes Cows So Important.

Image Credit: Joann’s Facebook Page.

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