Christine Goodrich walks with her cow Jody at her farm in Bowdoinham. The 7-year-old Jersey dairy cow at one point had been the last dairy cow in Bowdoinham, Bowdoin and Lisbon for a few years, which is the origin of the name of her business, The Last Cow Ice Cream. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

BOWDOINHAM — Jody was the last milking cow for miles and miles when Christine Goodrich had an idea.

Christine Goodrich gives Jamie some attention at her farm in Bowdoinham. The 8-month-old calf is the daughter of Jody, who was at one time the last dairy cow in Bowdoinham, Bowdoin and Lisbon. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Friends liked the ice cream that she and her husband made from Jody’s milk. And Goodrich was ready for something new after 30 years as a teacher and case worker.

The Last Cow Ice Cream hit local grocery stores in the summer of 2018. Just a few months later, she received difficult personal news: Cancer.

Jody helped her through that, too.

“Having a cow to milk every day has just been such a huge, huge part of my ability to heal,” said Goodrich. “I can’t speak enough about it. People that do come and milk her, it’s just an incredible experience and you can’t put it into words. It’s something very healing and therapeutic about it.”

When she and her husband first met, Goodrich said they discovered something unexpected about the other: “Both of us wanted Jersey cows — it was really a neat connection. You can’t find too many people that that’s something that they want in their life. So for a Mother’s Day gift, he got me these two little Jersey steers, and then we moved to Bowdoinham with those two.”

They bought their first milking cow, Josie, in 2002.

“We were just drinking her milk ourselves and making butter,” Goodrich said. “It wasn’t until the third generation of our cows that we started experimenting with ice cream on a small scale.”

The Last Cow ice cream. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Jody was quickly ruled out for a commercial sized-operation — they wouldn’t have been able to hand-milk her, and one cow couldn’t provide the amount of milk they needed — but Goodrich did use Jody and her calf, Jimmy John, for the picture on the label and inspiration for the name of The Last Cow Ice Cream.

Jody had been the only milking cow for several towns in 2017, when the name was developed, Goodrich said. A few more have since moved to the area.

Goodrich got to work on her recipe, lining up Oakhurst, getting licensed, reaching out to stores.

“The whole business world was completely new to me,” she said.

Her first customer was the Bowdoinham Hardware Store, which purchased a cooler just to stock the ice cream.

“They heard about all of our ups and downs starting the business, and the owner, John Cote, said, ‘You let us know when you can make the first sale, we’re going to take it,'” said Goodrich. “It’s been constantly wonderful. The people in town have supported us so much.”

Small, local grocers have been equally supportive, she said. The ice cream is stocked in Food City in Lisbon, Bow Street Market in Freeport, Brackett’s Market in Bath, Pierce’s Market in Richmond and Gowell’s Shop’n Save in Litchfield and Greene.

“We don’t have any profit margin yet. This has just been going along, a day a time,” Goodrich said. “The interest is growing, the sales are growing.”

She makes 10 flavors on their small farm: Pumpkin spice at the holidays, vanilla, pure maple, salty caramel, coffee, special dark chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, banana coconut and very berry.

Each label is applied by hand, each pint hand-packed. The special dark chocolate has Wilbur’s of Maine chocolate added. Maple, the top seller, uses syrup from Maine Maple Products.

“People have loved that because we haven’t put any nuts in it. That’s one of the reasons they like it,” Goodrich said. “The other is because it tastes so good.”

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