Chelsea Green Publishing

Keeping a Family Cow

Pages:296 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584784
Pub. Date October 16, 2013

Keeping a Family Cow

The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers, 3rd Edition

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 16, 2013


The cow is the most productive, efficient creature on earth. She will give you fresh milk, cream, butter, and cheese, build human health and happiness, and even turn a profit for homesteaders and small farmers who seek to offer her bounty to the local market or neighborhood. She will provide rich manure for your garden or land, and will enrich the quality of your life as you benefit from the resources of the natural world. Quite simply, the family that keeps a cow is a healthy family.

Originally published in the early 1970s as The Cow Economy and reprinted many times over, Keeping a Family Cow has launched thousands of holistic small-scale dairy farmers and families raising healthy cows in accordance with their true nature. The book offers answers to frequently asked questions like, 'Should I get a cow?' and 'How Much Space do I need?' in addition to extensive information on:

•    The health benefits of untreated milk;
•    How to milk a cow effectively and with ease;
•    Choosing your dairy breed;
•    Drying off your cow;
•    Details on calving and breeding;
•    The importance of hay quality and how to properly feed your cow;
•    Fencing and pasture management;
•    Housing, water systems, and other supplies;
•    Treating milk fever and other diseases and disorders;
•    Making butter, yogurt, and cheese, and, of course . . .
•    . . . Everything else the conventional dairy industry doesn’t tell us!

Now revised and updated to incorporate new information on the raw milk debate, the conversation about A1 vs. A2 milk, fully grassfed dairies, more practical advice for everyday chores, and updated procedures for cow emergencies.

Keeping a Family Cow has not only stood the test of time, it still remains the go-to inspirational manual for raising a family milk cow nearly forty years after its first publication. Joann Grohman has a lifetime of practical experience that has been bound into this one volume and presented in the spirit of fun and learning.


"Many with small rural properties have opted out of the industrial food system by obtaining a family cow. Keeping a Family Cow is the only owner's manual you will need. In elegant, readable prose, Grohman guides the neophyte through all the steps, from choosing a cow, to milking her, to 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 animals and the human beings who care for them."--Sally Fallon Morell, President, The Weston A. Price Foundation

“Joann Grohman is level-headed and sure-footed when it comes to helping families build a lasting partnership with a homestead cow. Her work remains an important reference for anyone considering bringing these gentle creatures into their lives.”--Shannon Hayes, author of Long Way on a Little, The Farmer and the Grill, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, and Radical Homemakers 


Joann S. Grohman

Home food production has been Joann Grohman’s lifelong enthusiasm. She started milking cows in 1975 and can no longer imagine life without one. She declares that health and happiness can’t be teased apart and that your dairy cow supports both. Joann finds that the prevailing beliefs about farming and nutrition—which can’t be teased apart either—have been generated by people who have never gotten their hands dirty. Very little of what they teach would survive a year on the farm. Real farming and real food leave you feeling there is a tomorrow. “In the morning your cow will be waiting.”


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Keeping a Family Cow


The New Bread Basket

The New Bread Basket

By Amy Halloran

For more than 10,000 years, grains have been the staples of Western civilization. The stored energy of grain allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering and build settled communities—even great cities. Though most bread now comes from factory bakeries, the symbolism of wheat and bread—amber waves of grain, the staff of life—still carries great meaning.

Today, bread and beer are once again building community as a new band of farmers, bakers, millers, and maltsters work to reinvent local grain systems. The New Bread Basket tells their stories and reveals the village that stands behind every loaf and every pint.

While eating locally grown crops like heirloom tomatoes has become almost a cliché, grains are late in arriving to local tables, because growing them requires a lot of land and equipment. Milling, malting, and marketing take both tools and cooperation. The New Bread Basket reveals the bones of that cooperation, profiling the seed breeders, agronomists, and grassroots food activists who are collaborating with farmers, millers, bakers, and other local producers.

Take Andrea and Christian Stanley, a couple who taught themselves the craft of malting and opened the first malthouse in New England in one hundred years. Outside Ithaca, New York, bread from a farmer-miller-baker partnership has become an emblem in the battle against shale gas fracking. And in the Pacific Northwest, people are shifting grain markets from commodity exports to regional feed, food, and alcohol production. Such pioneering grain projects give consumers an alternative to industrial bread and beer, and return their production to a scale that respects people, local communities, and the health of the environment.

Many Americans today avoid gluten and carbohydrates. Yet, our shared history with grains—from the village baker to Wonder Bread—suggests that modern changes in farming and processing could be the real reason that grains have become suspect in popular nutrition. The people profiled in The New Bread Basket are returning to traditional methods like long sourdough fermentations that might address the dietary ills attributed to wheat. Their work and lives make our foundational crops visible, and vital, again.

Available in: Paperback

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The New Bread Basket

Amy Halloran

Paperback $17.95

The Organic Seed Grower

The Organic Seed Grower

By John Navazio

The Organic Seed Grower is a comprehensive manual for the serious vegetable grower who is interested in growing high-quality seeds using organic farming practices. It is written for both serious home seed savers and diversified small-scale farmers who want to learn the necessary steps involved in successfully producing a commercial seed crop organically.

Detailed profiles for each of the major vegetables provide users with practical, in-depth knowledge about growing, harvesting, and processing seed for a wide range of common and specialty vegetable crops, from Asian greens to zucchini.

In addition, readers will find extensive and critical information on topics including:

  • The reproductive biology of crop plants
  • Annual vs. biennial seed crops
  • Isolation distances needed to ensure varietal purity
  • Maintaining adequate population size for genetic integrity
  • Seed crop climates
  • Seed-borne diseases
  • Seed-cleaning basics
  • Seed storage for farmers
  • and more . . .

This book can serve as a bridge to lead skilled gardeners, who are already saving their own seed, into the idea of growing seed commercially. And for diversified vegetable farmers who are growing a seed crop for sale for the first time, it will provide details on many of the tricks of the trade that are used by professional seed growers. This manual will help the budding seed farmer to become more knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in producing a commercially viable seed crop.

With the strong demand for certified organic produce, many regional seed companies are increasingly seeking out dedicated seed growers to ensure a reliable source of organically grown seeds for their farmer and gardener customers. This trend represents a great business opportunity for small-scale commercial growers who wish to raise and sell vegetable seeds as a profitable part of their diversified small-farm operation. Written by well-known plant breeder and organic seed expert John Navazio, The Organic Seed Grower is the most up-to-date and useful guide to best practices in this exciting and important field.

Available in: Hardcover

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The Organic Seed Grower

John Navazio

Hardcover $49.95

The Flower Farmer

The Flower Farmer

By Lynn Byczynski

The domestic cut flower business has experienced a renaissance in the past decade, thanks in large part to the first edition of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, which helped thousands of small growers start successful businesses. This newly expanded and thoroughly revised edition will be equally as influential for novices and experienced growers alike.

With the cut flower business growing at record rates, demand is at all time highs, challenging growers to take advantage of new techniques to prolong the harvest. New sections on utilizing greenhouses, recommendations for flower cultivars, and post harvest handling growers throughout all of North America will help improve their bottom line. Also updated is the acclaimed resource directory, complete with sources of seeds, plants and supplies, and expert information on organic production under the National Organic Program.

For the beginner and backyard gardener, there is an extensive section on the basics—variety selection, soil preparation, planting, cultivation, harvest, and floral design. For the commercial grower, The Flower Farmer includes information about larger-scale production, plus advice about selling to florists, wholesalers, supermarkets, brides, at farmers markets, and more. Also includes revised profiles of successful growers offering behind-the-scenes insight into the operation of some of the cutting edge flower farmers in the country.

Because of the extensive revisions and enhanced content, this new edition of The Flower Farmer is essential reading for those already in the flower business, as well as those who dream of growing flowers for enjoyment or profit.

Available in: Paperback

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The Flower Farmer

Lynn Byczynski, Robin Wimbiscus

Paperback $35.00

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

By Peg Schafer

A leading light in the field of medicinal herb cultivation, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is the first cultivation guide of its kind, and presents invaluable information for growers interested in producing high-quality efficacious herbs in all climates of the US, with the historical connectedness of ancient practitioners.

It has become increasingly important-especially as the market for herbal medicine continues to grow-that we transition to local and domestic medicinal cultivation. Increasingly there are concerns in regards to not only the quality but the purity of imported herbs, and wild herbs picked for medicinal purposes are ever more endangered than in past years both at home and abroad.

Peg Schafer, longtime grower and teacher, guides readers with information on propagating, cultivating, and harvesting Chinese herbs, and presents fascinating new scientific data that reveal the age-old wisdom of nature and the traditional systems of Chinese medicine. Through 79 detailed herb profiles--all tested and trialed on Schafer's certified organic farm-Schafer offers easy-to-follow information, suitable for both growers and practitioners, for growing efficacious wild-simulated herbs. Also included is important information on species conservation, crop integration, and how to avoid the introduction of invasive species. Sidebars on traditional medicinal uses for each herb and delicious recipes are also featured throughout.

Vegetable and CSA farmers will find this book of great interest for adding value-added crops to their repertoire, and beginner growers looking to incorporate medicinals into their gardens will find this an invaluable guide to understanding where herbal medicine comes from, and will make eating-your-medicine more accessible than ever.

Available in: Paperback

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The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

Peg Schafer, Sean Fannin, Steven Foster

Paperback $34.95