By Kim Buddington
Happy June, everyone! Do you know what that means? Well grab a glass of real milk, snack on some cheese or spread that butter on your toast because it’s June Dairy Month, 2019!
Yep, this month is all about dairy cows, dairy products, and of course, dairy farmers. If you’re a dairy farmer or work in the dairy industry, we sincerely thank you for all the hard work that you do! If you’re a consumer of dairy, we encourage and challenge you to go all out and celebrate this month.
Add an extra milk product (or five) to your shopping list this week, look up some new dairy recipes to try, and tell your friends about the wonders of your favorite dairy foods! At this time, in particular, dairy farmers across the United States really need all the support they can get from consumers. So please, get out there and do your part…and hey, the benefits are delicious!
In celebration of this month, we’d like to take you on a nationwide tour of some dairy farms. No, you won’t have to get on a bus or a plane, we’re taking a virtual journey right here, all you have to do is keep reading!
For our tour this year, we’re focusing on producers who are in the business of processing and selling milk their own milk directly to retail customers. Adding processing and bottling equipment on a farm is a huge and costly undertaking. While it may sound simple, or conjure up romanticized images for many people, there are many unique challenges involved in running a “cow to bottle” operation.
The 13 farms that we’re shining the spotlight are spread throughout different regions of the country. Some we’ve had personal interactions with, and others are on our bucket list of dairies to visit someday. If any of these farms are local to you, and you don’t already have a hometown dairy that you buy from, please check them out and try their products. From Massachusetts out to Washington, and from Minnesota on down to Texas, here we go!
Stop #1- Minnesota
Autumnwood Farm has been in the Daninger family since 1902. They are located in Forest Lake, MN. The dairy herd at Autumnwood Farm is primarily raised on pasture, and they emphasize the use of natural farming and animal health methods whenever possible. (1)
According to their website, they choose to use glass bottles (returnable) to package their milk and milk products. Some of the delicious dairy offerings from their creamery include whole and chocolate milk, 1% and skim milk, half and half for your coffee, and even eggnog when it’s in season! Autumnwood products are available at the farm or can be found at over 30 retail and restaurant locations in the Minneapolis area. (1)
We highly recommend that you connect with them on Facebook. The Autumnwood Farm page is full of great photos and regular updates. We love following along online with their adventures, and if we ever get to visit MN, this dairy is certainly on our list of stops to make!
Stop #2- North Carolina
Located in Wadesboro, NC, you’ll find the lovely Jersey herd that belongs to Brown Creek Creamery. The Poplin and Stovall families opened their creamery in the fall of 2014 to process and market their milk. The main focus of production appears to be cheese. Seems like a great choice because who doesn’t love cheese? (2)
The mouthwatering product list on their website includes cheddar cheeses, cheese curds in multiple flavors, formage, and pimiento, to name a few. They also offer fudge and butter, as well a soft serve ice cream on a seasonal basis. If you’re a raw milk fan, Brown Creek Creamery also offers a cow share program. Under NC law, this type of program provides a way for consumers to buy and farmers to sell raw milk legally. (2)
Brown Creek dairy products can be purchased at their farm, or from a number of farmers markets and retailers in the local area. Check out their charming website, or follow along on their Facebook page. (2)
Stop #3- Ohio
Just a few miles from I-71 in Ashland, OH, we come to Buckeye Country Creamery. The Lahmers and Hulse families raise Holstein, Jersey, and Brown Swiss dairy cattle and bottle the milk in their onsite processing plant. What sets Buckeye Country Creamery’s milk apart from other milk? It’s A2/A2 milk! (3)
A2 milk production is one of the hottest trends in dairy right now. Cows carry genes for either A1 protein milk, A2 milk, or a combination of A1 and A2. Regular A1 milk is linked to causing digestive issues for many people when they consume dairy. A2 milk, on the other hand, tends to be easier on the stomach, thanks to A2 genes having a shorter structure. Have you just always assumed that you can’t have dairy because you’re lactose intolerant? It might not be the case! Give Buckeye Country Creamery’s A2/A2 milk a try and see how you feel. Each milking cow at the farm has gone through genetic testing, to ensure that they only carry A2 genetics. (3)
The creamery’s product list offers a wide variety of tasty treats for you to choose from. Enjoy cream top whole, 2%, chocolate, cookies & cream, and strawberry milk. Each month, they also offer a different limited edition flavor. Another signature product is their drinkable yogurt, available in strawberry, vanilla, blueberry, and raspberry. If that wasn’t enough, they also make ice cream, mozzarella cheese, and for your skincare routine- handmade milk soap! (3)
We know the folks at Buckeye Country Creamery personally, and they do an amazing job caring for their cows and producing the best tasting dairy products. Stop by the farm store or visit their website for a long list of Ohio retailers that carry their milk products. If you’re on Facebook, follow their page for regular updates.
Stop #4- Washington
On to the Pacific Northwest! Ever since 2004, Golden Glen Creamery of Bow, WA has been devoted to manufacturing dairy foods from their own cows. They state that they use the low-temperature vat pasteurization method to help preserve the natural qualities of their milk. They milk Jersey, Guernsey, and Holstein cows, and all that wonderful milk goes into the production of butter and cheese. Parmesan, Gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar are just a few of their offerings. (4)
Something that seems unique about Golden Glen Creamery is the number of cheddar flavors they have available. Lavender or cardamom cheddar anyone? If those don’t speak to you, there are many more options, including tomato & basil, salsa, dill, chive, and red pepper cheddar. (4) Yum, sounds like something to please every taste!
But they don’t stop at flavored cheese. Try ordering butter with flavor added, such as cinnamon, lime & cilantro, honey, and garlic & sea salt. You can buy Golden Glen Creamery products directly from their farm store, or at many retailers and farmer’s markets in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Their products can also be ordered online. (4)
The farm’s Facebook page is full of up to date information and mouthwatering photos of cheese, so check it out!
Stop #5- Tennessee
The Hatcher family, of Hatcher Family Dairy, have been involved in agriculture since 1831. The farm is located in College Grove, TN. Among the many values central to their operation, are their family, Christian faith, environmental stewardship, and providing the absolute best cow care. (5)
To keep their farm profitable, they began selling their milk retail from the farm in 2007. Hatcher Family Dairy offers a full line of pasteurized fluid milk products including whole, skim, 2%, chocolate, and buttermilk. You can also buy whole cream and half & half. Are you a fitness fanatic who loves to spend a lot of time in the gym? The Hatcher’s have the dairy-based protein/energy beverage for you, called the “Jumpin Jimmy!” (5)
Their dairy products are available at many retail shops and cafes, including locations in Nashville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, and many more! The Hatcher’s also offer tours of their farm for school and other like groups. Seems like a great farm to check out. They have a very active social media presence, so get connected with them on Twitter, Facebook, and or Instagram. (5)
Here we are in the Green Mountain State! Want to take a wild guess as to what kind of cows the folks at Jersey Girls Dairy might milk? Why yes, since 1999, Lisa Kaiman has been raising Registered Jersey cattle on her Chester, VT farm. When we say she started her farm from scratch, she really did…check out the website for more of the story.(6)
Creamtop milk, cheese, and butter are the primary dairy products they have available. They advertise a specialty soft cheese that we’ve never heard of before, but it sure sounds interesting. That item is Vermont Quark! (6)
If delicious raw milk is what you’re after, you can buy that directly at the farm. In addition to their milk carefully packaged in light-resistant bottles, they also offer veal that was raised in a free-range manner, along with other meat items. Jersey Girls Dairy sells products at other retail locations, farmer’s markets, and eateries. It looks like visitors are welcome to come and see the cows, so if you’d like to experience traditional Vermont agriculture up close, this appears to be the ideal place to do it!
Check out the farm’s Facebook page for the most up to date news and information. (6)
Stop #7- New York
In the Madison county town of Cazenovia, NY, we come to Ju-Vindale Holsteins, another small family dairy. The husband and wife team behind this farm, Vincent and Julie Wagner, raise Registered Holstein dairy cattle. The milk they have available from their on-farm store for retail purchase is raw. They are licensed according to NY state laws to sell raw milk directly to consumers. According to their recent social media updates, they have also begun to offer their own ground beef for sale as well. (7) Yum!
We’ve had the pleasure of getting to tour this farm and meet the owners on several occasions. Oh, and the taste of Ju-Vindale’s raw milk is absolutely phenomenal. They state that the farm is open for tours. So, If you do go and visit, be prepared to feast your eyes on some of the cleanest cows and well-kept facilities you’ll ever see! This dairy farm is a gem, so get out and support them if you can. Connect with Ju-Vindale Holsteins on Facebook for more. (7)