Wielding a wooden spoon worn down by the sheer number of batches of toffee she’s made, Janel Wailes starts off with the recipe’s central ingredient: butter. — The Holyoke Enterprise | Johnson Publications
Toffee: A very dairy dessert
Many desserts that can be made with butter yield similar results when prepared with margarine or other substitutes. That’s great for folks who can’t eat butter, but for someone with dairy at the center of her life, finding a “true dairy dessert” has given her a way to combine her passions for cooking and dairy, while also contributing to the youth that are the future of the industry.
It’s not unusual to find Janel Wailes in her kitchen whipping up a batch of toffee, a tasty treat that happens to fit the bill perfectly. At the heart of the recipe is butter, and substitutes simply will not do.
Wailes’ husband, Marc, owns Double W Farm Dairy with his brother Gregg and brother-in-law Glenn Huwa. Her interest in the dairy industry, however, predates her marriage into this particular third-generation operation. Though she grew up in Florida, she was fascinated by visits to her uncle Keith Holcomb’s dairy near Wages. It was part of what influenced her move to Colorado.
At times she’s had other jobs, but Wailes has always tried to work with her husband at the dairy as much as possible. Why? Because she loves the cows, plain and simple. “Everything in the world seems right when you look in the eyes of a cow,” she said.
Double W has over 1,200 cows that are milking. Today that number is made up of about half Holstein and half Brown Swiss. In the past, they milked mostly Holstein, but Brown Swiss is their passion. Their’s is one of the largest registered Brown Swiss herds in the world. Including heifers, there are about 1,800.
Wailes and the others at Double W take their passion for cows beyond the everyday duties of working at a dairy. As members of the Brown Swiss Association, Janel and Marc traveled to Buffalo, New York, for the July 2-5 national Brown Swiss convention. Marc serves on the national board, and Janel has created a tradition of making and selling toffee in a fundraiser auction at the national convention each year.
2019 marked the fourth time she’s taken toffee to the national convention, but she also takes it to the Southwestern National Brown Swiss show in Stillwater, Oklahoma, each year.
She describes the auctions as something fun for the members that benefits youth programs. People donate such things as quilts and one-of-a-kind Brown Swiss paintings. On her most recent trip, Wailes carefully packed four jars of homemade toffee into her checked baggage before flying across the country.
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