Monthly Archives: June 2010

Rent a Cow

So I’ve decided that I’m going to rent a cow for a month this August. Rosette, albeit probably unknowingly, is going to become a happy member of the Ingram household.

Renting a cow, of course, is not a decision to be taken lightly. In fact, it wasn’t even a decision that I was aware I could make until coming across an article in the free newspaper that gets distributed at Nyon train station every morning.

You can tell by the excited look on Rosette's face that she can barely wait for my visit

Michael Isoz is the proud owner of a dairy farm at Le Fenil aux Veaux in Vaud. It was his inspired idea to start renting out his cows to city dwellers in order to demonstrate that “farm life is very different to what they think”.

Renting a cow does not come without responsibility. Once you have decided on your particular cow (yes, you get to choose), you pay either CHF180 for one month or CHF380 for a season (June to September) and receive a contract. This contract stipulates that you have to come to the farm for a visit and do a maximum of four hours work, which could be anything from bailing hay to chopping firewood.

There were a couple of things that really attracted me to this idea. The first was the chance to get to see life on a farm, how the animals are treated, what they eat and how they end up on my dinner table. Eating good quality food is a mainstay of what we preach at CrossFit Leman. That means opting for meat that comes from farms where the animals eat a natural diet (i.e. grass and not grains), live outside as long as possible, are allowed to roam free and are not treated with any antibiotics or steroids. The question is, how do we really know that the meat we buy in the supermarket was reared under those conditions?

If you buy bio in Switzerland, you can more or less guarantee the above as the regulations are pretty stringent (this is Switzerland after all). Nonetheless, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to go to a working farm and talk to a real life farmer about how he looks after his animals. I come from London and have lived in cities my whole life. I’m about as familiar with farms as the England football team is with winning major championships – very little experience.

The other bonus is that you get to buy meat and dairy products directly from the farm at a discounted rate. I’ll probably pass on the cheese as that is a no-go on the paleo front. But I do use butter for cooking and cream in my coffee and the meat is very reasonably priced at CH44 for a kilo of steak or CHF52 for rumpsteak. If, as I suspect, that beef is grass fed and not treated with any articificial methods, that will be an absolute bargain.

Once I get my contract I will go up to the farm, which is about an hour from Nyon. I’ll definitely report back once I have visited and am excited about getting my hands on my cow! 

If anyone is interested in renting their own cow, you can find out more at