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Monday, Feb. 24, 2020

Like Milk?

Local farm boasts healthier dairy products

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Got milk?

Randy Morell does. Whole milk, chocolate milk and skim milk.He even has butter. And you can have what he has. 

Randy owns Morell Dairy Farm on Highway 169 between Greenwood and Mooringsport in Caddo Parish. He is selling the farm’s home-milked items and is confident all of them are better than what you buy at the grocery store.

“It’s going to be a healthier product,” Morell said. “It’s going to be a bettertasting product, because our milk, when pasteurized, doesn’t go to as high a temperature as it would at a plant. That can alter the taste and de-nature some of the proteins in it. We don’t homogenize it, so your cream rises to the top – you’re not changing up the fat in the milk. It’s how it is natural. The only thing we do is pasteurize, which is required by law in Louisiana.”

If Morell sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, that’s because the soon-to-be 62-year-old speaks from a lifetime of experience. The Southwood High School graduate grew up on a farm in south Shreveport. Grandma had cows, too. Heck, his dad even worked for Purina. As early as 7-years-old, Morell was milking cows and raising pigs.

“We did a little bit of everything,” Morrel remembers. “You would get up, go milk and get ready for school.”

You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. Morell graduated from LSU with a degree in dairy production and eventually worked for the LSU Dairy Research Farm in Baton Rouge, which included teaching. Morell retired in 2019 and opened Morell Dairy Farm last November.

“I’ve always done it,” Morell said, explaining why he got back in the dairy game. “I have to mess with cattle. It’s in the blood.”

Morell could easily milk his Jersey cows every day and be done. But he treats them not as an asset, but like a person – giving them time and attention.

“I talk to them,” Morell said. “I walk out in the field and pet them. A lot of them come up to you and let you pet them. They know who I am. “ Because Morell spends so much time with Irene, Pearl, Thelma and others – yes, he’s given each one a name – Morell gets to know his cows much like he knows his four children.

“They all have their own personalities,” Morell said. “They’re individuals – it’s not just a herd out there. They all do things a little different.”

And when one does something “a little different,” Morell takes notice.

 

“If one is not acting herself, I can check and see if she’s sick. Since we artificial inseminate them, you can tell when one’s in heat and needs to be inseminated. When one’s going into labor, or when one’s just not feeling good – that comes from experience.”

Speaking of experience, Morell has been around all kinds of cattle. But when it came time to populate his 24-acre farm, he chose Jersey cattle. Right now, Randy and his wife of 30 years, Ann, a nurse who works case management from home, are milking 13 Jerseys.

“They have higher-quality milk,” Morell explained. “Plus, they are a smaller cow, easier to handle. This is mainly a one-man show (running the farm). They’re smaller and don’t take up as much space.”

Morell Dairy Farm sells its milk in pints and gallons. Their butter comes in a one-pound block.

“It’s more like your European butter,” Morell said. “It doesn’t look like what’s in the store. It’s much creamier. We use a lot less salt. We actually use sea salt.”

If driving to Morell Dairy Farm – 10 and a half miles north of Greenwood – is out of your way, you can buy their products at one of four locally-owned stores: Rhino Coffee, Lowder Baking Company, Maxwell’s Market and D & I General Store in Belcher. (At these stores, the Morells’ butter comes in a half-pound tub.)

It’s no accident Morell, a local dairy farmer, has his products in locallyowned stores.

“It keeps the money in the area,” Morell said. “You’re dealing with your neighbor instead of dealing with a corporation … and we promote each other.”

Morell Dairy Farm is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Morell would like your experience to be a family affair. In other words, bring the children. They can pet the calves and learn a few things.

“If kids come with their parents, I educate them,” Morell said. “Most people have no clue where their food comes from. I make it part of my mission.”

To learn more, you may visit www.morelldairyfarm.com.


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