On the Farm

By Deb Osza
One of the activities I enjoy most about my job is getting to visit dairy farms. I love animals and cows are one of my favorites. This week, our team visited Four-Leaf Clover Dairy in Geneva Indiana. The dairy is owned by Leontien Oostdijck – Vandelaar and her family. The Vandelaar family immigrated to America from the Netherlands and is adjusting well to life in Indiana.

Leontien and her family began operating Four Leaf Clover Dairy three years ago this month. The family operation also has 21 employees. Their primary focus is on quality. During our tour of the farm, Leontien showed us how the family cares for their cows and the land to produce high quality milk. Cows get regular pedicures at Four-Leaf Clover. Cows get a foot bath every three days and a hoof trimmer comes in once a week. The cows are in the milking parlor for about 5 to 10 minutes each session, and are milked three times a day. The cows and workers both stand on thick rubber mats during the process so everyone’s comfortable. Sand beds add to cow comfort. Cows spend much of their time relaxing in their beds. The cow’s sand beds are fluffed three times a day with new sand added once a week. The sand beds are like a day at the beach.


We also learned that this dairy is the first facility in the state of Indiana to operate under the Direct Load system, which means all that milk is pumped right from the cow directly to one of three tanker trailers parked at the facility. The really cool thing about this system is the cooling! In just minutes the milk is chilled to 34 degrees. It comes from the cow at her body temperature of about 101.5 degrees. This system also saves on water and cleaning supplies so it is very ‘green.’

When Leontien is not busy with the farm, she blogs. Check out Four-Leaf Clover Tales at http://fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com . She also has a cooking blog called A Farmers Recipe at http://afarmersrecipe.blogspot.com/. I tried her recipe: Boerenkool met Nootjes en Brie…I call it Kale and Mash with Nuts and Brie. Very yummy (though I’m convinced some of my family would think I’d ruined the mashed potatoes by adding Kale, nuts and brie, they would be wrong). This traditional Dutch dish is something I plan to make again. I have Kale in the fridge right now.

The Vandelaars’ are especially appreciative when people stop by to look over their dairy operation. If you can’t make a visit to the farm, visit them online at http://www.fourleafcloverdairy.com/ and E-dopt a cow! You can sign up and get a link to an 8″x10″ photo of “your” cow and a Certificate of Edoption that you can save and print. Then, you can check out the website each month to learn about ‘your’ cows’ life on the farm.

3 Responses

  1. This is something I’ve done before! I really love to visit the dairy farms some days. Thanks for the lovely post 🙂

  2. how sad!!! i completely missed this!!!

    Thanks ladies!!!

    running off to show my mom!

  3. Great article! Leontien is just as charming in person 🙂

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