Ag Coms Blog Post 6: Negranti Dairy

Last Wednesday my groupmate Amy and I went to the Negranti Dairy in Templeton to film footage for our video project.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

I’d had a terrible week.  I was struggling to meet the technology demands my curriculum was throwing at me, and just wanted a day to spend completely without a computer screen.

Enter the picturesque dairy of Alexis Negranti, nestled high in the rolling hills and vineyards north of San Luis Obispo, where you can’t even get cell reception.

Alexis and her husband, Wade, produce artisan sheep milk ice cream from the 11 ewes on their farm. They milk twice a day, at 5 AM and 5 PM, and manage absolutely everything themselves.  They take care of the sheep, distribute their product, make their ice cream, manage all their own public relations, and manage the farm 100%.  Wade also works at a rock quarry in Cayucos, leaving Alexis to do most of the work herself.

Alexis is beautiful.  She looks like a prairie fairy princess.  She comes from an ag background, but knew nothing about milking sheep before she bought her starter flock a little over a year ago.  Now, she is up to her elbows in baby lambs and bleeting ewes, ice cream mix and fresh herbs.

When we asked what common misconceptions people had about her sheep dairy, Alexis answered, “People tell me all the time, ‘This is a fairy tale’.  And it is, and I wouldn’t change any of it.  But it’s also a lot of hard work.  I barely have enough time to do laundry and clean the house.”

Alexis’ dairy gave me a good opportunity to glimpse into a real, rustic, down- home farm, as opposed to the huge commercial farms that documentary filmmakers usually search out for their documentaries about farm animal abuse.  Alexis names all her sheep and knows their personalities.  They are all free- range and the harshest technologyAlexis uses is probably an electric fence.

And the ice cream?  Delicious.  We sampled strawberry basil, but she also makes lavender lemon, vanilla bean, black coffee and organic honey.  Alexis said something about squash ice cream for fall.

Most importantly, Alexis says she makes the ice cream “with love”.

“We love our animals, we love our farm and we hope you love our product,” she said.




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3 Responses to Ag Coms Blog Post 6: Negranti Dairy

  1. Katie Veenstra says:

    Hi Natalie! Love this post! I’m so glad that you asked to join our video group a couple of weeks ago. I remember distinctly you coming up to me and asking to join our group, and I’m so happy you did! I am so excited that you got to meet Alexis and see her dairy; I think sometimes it takes seeing things like her “family farm” to restore people’s faith in American agriculture. Like you said, there are so many people who only have the image of certain large corporate farms in their minds from organizations who shoot undercover video, but I too wish more people could see that a large majority of agriculture is not like that. As someone who comes from a production background with my grandparents having owned a dairy and my other grandparents growing almonds and having a custom farming business, I know that most farmers truly do care for their animals and the land, just like Alexis and Wade. As someone who cares about the future of the agriculture industry, I hope that any and all farmers who do mistreat their animals get in trouble and are forced out of business. And I think that’s where a lot of people lose trust in American agriculture, thinking that farmers are okay with people abusing animals, when in reality, we are just as horrified and ashamed as every consumer and animal lover out there! It kind of reminds me of one of the other blogs you posted regarding the need for laws to keep our society’s “nimrods” in line. It’s the same in agriculture. There are people out there who don’t follow the laws and regulations set forth, but that definitely doesn’t mean that all farmers and ranchers are like that, just like you or I aren’t nimrods who would wreak havoc on society without laws just because there are a few people out there who would.

    Well enough for my little two-sense! Again, loved this post (and all your posts for that matter!) and loved the video you created for the Negranti’s! You are extremely talented and I’m so glad I got to work with you. Best of luck in all your future endeavors!!! 🙂

  2. Sarah Wool says:

    This is a lovely written portrayal of the dairy. I’m so glad you got to experience this little treasure and make your day a little brighter. I must say how much I loved your video. It was a perfect depiction of the dairy. It was really exciting to see all the levels of production that goes into her ice cream and how they work with the animals. Although I know its a lot of work, they seem that they enjoy the work and that is what is important. Life is all about doing what you love and if you can’t do that, then is there a point? So, I hope you can find your dream, whether it’s milking sheep or not, so that you can have that sense of accomplishment I’m sure Alexis has, when she’s done milking her last ewe just as the sun is setting over the hills.

  3. Enid says:

    Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

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