Amish_swartzentruber_milk_pails

Some Amish dairymen still use the old-style milk containers to transport their milk, as seen in this photo taken in Swartzentruber Amish country in Ohio.

Lancaster Amish are allowed to use mechanical milkers, which has helped to allow that particular community to retain a relatively high percentage of functioning dairies.  Amish barns will have a special tank to store the milk, and to cool and agitate it.  The milk is typically transported from udder to tank using steel containers.  After seeing all the splashing around that goes on in the typical milk barn, it makes me glad for pasteurization.  I’m not so sure I would drink raw milk, popular among many Amish some of whom sell it to the general public, supposedly as a healthier, richer.

Typical dairies have from 40 to 50 cows.  A few may milk up to 60 or 70.  That usually requires some help, with some Amish employing a hired hand.

The milkman comes around any day but Sunday, usually every other day.  The Sunday exception may mean late-night and very early morning milk pickups.  I’ve been at Amish homes when milk trucks have come by after dark, near 10 pm. The typical farmer, who wakes up anywhere from 3 to 5 in the morning for the first milking of the day, learns to schedule in the very necessary post-lunch nap.

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