One of 2 licensed camel dairies in the US is in eastern Colorado – CBS Denver
WRAY, Colorado (CBS4) – People with food allergies and lactose intolerance are always looking for options other than cow’s milk. There is an older alternative that is produced in Colorado.
In the far eastern region of the state, eight miles from the Nebraska border, is a dairy farm called “Camelot.”
“I was looking to do something unique, something different…just kind of a ‘wow’ factor,” said first-generation dairyman Kyle Hendrix.
In his case, the “wow” factor is 40 camel heads.
“The camel is a very neglected animal, that’s for sure,” Hendrix told CBS4.
Hendrix and his family started with three cows and a bull in 2013. They grew their operation from there.
“It will be five to six years before they have their first calf, so it’s a long wait to get one into production,” he explained.
Majestic, intelligent and inquisitive, camels are kind, each with their own personality.
“You have to get on a personal level with each one, and just work with them and work with their personalities,” Hendrix said.
Camelot Dairy is a family business. Kyle, his wife Holly and their children – Evan, 16; Asher, 12; reed, 7 years; and Sara; 5 – everyone works together on the farm.
“To milk a camel, you must maintain a cow/calf relationship at all times,” Hendrix explained. “It’s quite a process and you only have about 90 seconds to harvest that milk.”
The harvest yields up to a gallon and a half of milk per day.
“We’re averaging 8 to 16 pints a day per cow,” he said.
Each pint is pasteurized to kill bacteria, then bottled and frozen for shipping.
“We are one of two licensed camel dairies in the United States right now,” Hendrix explained.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture licenses the operation, checking it monthly to make sure it meets sanitary standards. The camel milk market is growing in the United States.
“Many mothers buy our milk for their children with similar sensitivity issues,” Hendrix said.
Camel milk is considered healthy milk. It is higher in antioxidants and has low levels of sugar and saturated fat. Some consider it a perfect substitute for people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk.
“There are potential benefits for adults, even children — not for infants and young toddlers who must consume formula,” said Bonnie Jortberg, registered dietitian and nutritionist at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University. ‘University of Colorado. “You wouldn’t want to replace camel milk with formula or certainly not a mother’s regular milk.”
However, there are cultures in the Middle East and Africa that primarily drink camel milk.
“Milk has helped a lot of people around the world,” Hendrix said.
One downside is that it’s expensive in the US. The long milking process and the limited supply drive prices up. A pint sells for $12 to $16.
LINK: Camelot Dairy