We started Howland Homestead Farm in the late 1980's, raising dairy replacements for a local farmer, on the farm that has been in Phil's family for 200 years. Phil's grandfather had a dairy here when he was growing up, and Phil also worked for a neighboring dairyman as a teenager. We soon after purchased some Highland cattle and began an organic grass fed meat business, which we still run. The Randalls came on the scene about 4 years later, and we raised them along with the Highlands for many years, with the last Highlands leaving the farm in 2004. We maintained a cow/calf herd of about 60 total head for much of that time.
Dianne grew up on her family's dairy farm in South Kent, where they milked Registered Holsteins and shipped milk in cans to a regional creamery. They also raised beef cattle, pigs, and chickens, and had an extensive garden. Although we both started out on paths that took us away from our farming heitage, Phil as a carpenter and Dianne as a teacher, the pull of our family's farming histories proved irresistable.
We got our first Randalls in 1993, after hearing about and visiting a cow in New Hampshire that was in need of a new home. We began to search for any others still alive in the Northeast from the several groups sold off the Randall farm in the herd dispersal in 1985 following Everett Randall's death. That search turned up only two animals, a cow with calf at side in Western New York, which we bought. We then, in early 1994, bought the cow we had previously looked at in NH. All of the other Randalls that had gone to several owners for conservation (except those now with Cynthia Creech in Tennessee), had been lost. In the summer of 1994 we travelled to Cynthia's Artemis Farm in Jefferson City, TN, to look at her "girls", and bought 2 heifers from her later that year. We were on our way.
Since that start, we have increased our herd to a high a couple of years ago of 38 purebred Randalls, and now maintain a herd of about 30-35. Over the years, Phil has milked 26 Randall cows, and we average 5 to 8 in milk at any one time, depending on the season. Phil has kept careful production records of every cow we have ever milked here. Details of milk components testing can be found here. We farm organically, selling grass fed beef, grass and milk fed "pink" veal, and milk fed pork. We sell our meat directly to the consumer, through our newsletter, at a local farmer's market, and to a restaurant in New York City.
The milk from the Randalls is for our home use, to bottle feed calves, and to feed pigs and chickens. Over the years we have used the Randall milk for many things, including butter, yogurt, ice cream, whipped cream, and kefir, and most importantly, cream for Phil's morning coffee! In recent years we have sold a few heifers (20) for breeding stock, and some bull calves (14) to be trained for oxen. We have had an opportunity to test the meat quality of the Randalls with the meat business, including a fair number of bull calves sold as "pink" veal. We raise and breed Tamworth pigs, maintaing a herd of about 20 total head, and have an assortment of rare breed chickens, including Marans and Delawares.
Howland Homestead Farm
Phil and Dianne Lang
South Kent, Connecticut
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"Columbia", a dairy type heifer
"Mister", a yearling bull
A view from the front porch
The Randall Cattle Registry, Inc.
The Official Website of Randall Cattle
Milking Randalls in South Kent, CT
"Anna" and her 2006 calf "Lana"