On January 5th, 2019, we opened our family dairy to the public, selling shares of our herd of Jersey cows so that neighbors could enjoy fresh, unprocessed milk here in North Carolina.
We keep a herd of registered Jersey cows–beautiful, healthy cows. Jersey cows have always been known as the best family cows, providing 3-5 gallons of the creamiest milk per day during their lactation cycle. Our cows enjoy living on pasture in the fresh air all day, every day, though they have dry shelter any time the weather gets wet.
We keep a high-quality, registered Jersey bull on the farm to keep all of our cows bred and in milk and do not practice artificial insemination.
As we continue to develop our farm, our cows will enjoy 30+ acres of pasture (for grazing) and meadows (for hay) throughout the year. We provide them with a combination of grasses to ensure that they are getting the very best forage every day–and as much of it as they want.
We also provide them with a feed made just for our farm that includes non-GMO corn, wheat middlings and soybean meal. This feed also includes several sources of fats, vitamins and minerals to meet the needs of milking cows. This feed is provided in a carefully controlled manner, on an individual basis, at milking time.
We feed our cows to make them as healthy as possible, and accept whatever quantity of milk they produce as healthy, happy cows.
How We Milk
Dairy cows must be milked at least twice daily, every day. Milking by hand is fine for a single family cow, but when milk is being collected for many families, it becomes unsanitary and unsustainable. We milk our cows using a vacuum milking system that we built ourselves which quickly and comfortably collects milk from our cows. Every cow is brushed, cleaned and examined at milking time with milk samples being drawn and checked to make sure that all looks well. Milking is done by a device that simulates the natural action of a calf, gently sucking and massaging the mother’s teats. Milking takes approximately 5 minutes per cow, so they are moved comfortably in and out of the milking room, with just enough time to eat their grain. After milking, the cows’ teats are sanitized and protected with an anti-bacterial dip and let out to enjoy some fresh water and hay/pasture.
Unlike modern dairies which collect milk into large tanks for storage, we collect milk in 7 gallon buckets that allow us to quickly process milk in a most sanitary manner. The milk is never exposed to the air or dirt of the barn, but is collected in a closed, stainless steel milk can and transported to our dairy building behind our farmhouse. There, the milk in each bucket is filtered twice and poured into bottles or buckets for use. Milk that is bottled is immediately chilled and prepared for delivery or pickup. Whatever milk is not used is fed to our chickens and pigs on the farm.
Dairy Share Program
It is not legal to sell our milk to others, but what is legal is to sell shares of our dairy herd and provide share owners with their milk collected on our farm. We prepare milk for share owners so that they always receive the freshest milk available–usually within hours of milking.
Because they are not buying milk by the bottle, but enjoy a more personal connection to our farm, share owners benefit from the success of our herd. We regularly provide our share owners with extra milk when its available, help with recipes and advice on making dairy products from our milk, and much more.
To purchase one or more dairy shares, visit our Dairy Share page here.
If you have any questions about our cows, milk or dairy, please contact us.
Bill Michael, Owner
Michael Family Farm