Dairies at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon's Pioneer Farm is bustling with activity at this time of year. Beginning June 2, the historic trades interpreters will demonstrate how to create dairy products with 18th-century methods. While the team uses store-bought milk and cream in these demonstrations, Washington would have used milk from his cattle to make cheese, butter, and ice cream.

George Washington's cattle


Cheese was made by combining hot milk, vinegar or lemon juice, salt, and herbs in a cheesecloth. The interpreter pours milk into saucepan that resembles a bucket and heats it over an open fire until the milk starts to simmer.


Using a small churn that sits in an ice bucket, the interpreters churn two pints of cream into butter by hand.

Ice Cream

The first reference to ice cream made at Mount Vernon comes from May 1784 when Washington purchased a "cream machine for ice," the first of many items needed to make and eat the dessert he would purchase throughout his life. 

Watch these demonstrations at the Pioneer Farm throughout the summer!

Check our events calendar for today's demonstration times.

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