by Sally Colby
If a dairy cooperative situated on a major highway wanted to draw the attention of people driving by, what would be the obvious choice?
A cow. But not just any cow. The fiberglass creation, named Lady LeWinDa Milkzalot, is a year-round fixture on the lawn of the Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative in Lowville, NY. Standing more than 11 feet tall and 16 feet long, the oversized Holstein is hard to miss. Recently, Lady LeWinDa has been drawing more attention than usual with the addition of an ice cream cone that’s just the right size for her.
Kent Widrick, general manager of Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative, says that Lady LeWinDa normally stands alone to greet visitors, but in honor of ‘June is Dairy Month’ and the recent heat, the co-op arranged to borrow a giant ice cream cone from Schulz’s Restaurant. Widrick says the photo of the cow with her oversized sunglasses and big pink tongue licking the ice cream was posted on the coop’s Facebook page, where it drew the attention of numerous fans.
“We’re a cooperative owned by about 200 dairy farm families,” said Widrick, explaining the role of the coop in the community. “We bring milk in from about 25 miles or so.” Widrick added that the co-op is located in an area that’s heavy in dairy farms, and although there are fewer farms than in the past, the existing farms are producing more milk.
Widrick says that most of the milk handled by the co-op goes to Kraft for Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and to Hood for ice cream and fluid products. A store at the co-op offers a selection of locally produced cheeses, which are popular with both area residents and visitors. Other local products offered at the store include bologna, syrup, honey and a selection of gift boxes. A mail order side, accessible through the co-op’s website, provides a convenient way for customers throughout the United States to purchase fresh dairy products.
“One of our claims to fame is our squeaky fresh cheese curd,” said Widrick. “We’re also known for our aged cheddar. We have three-year-old cheddar, five-year-old cheddar and some nine-year-old cheddar.” The coop encourages people to have their picture taken with Lady LeWinDa and submit the photos to be posted on their Facebook page.
The cooperative has been serving area dairy farmers for more than 75 years, and this year will participate in CWT (Cooperatives Working Together), an organization that helps increase overseas sales of dairy products. The voluntary program was designed by dairy farmers through the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to benefit family farmers.
Visit the Lowville Producers Cheese Store on line at www.gotgoodcheese.com
by Sally Colby