After pushing and pushing for an entire 13 months, we looked around and found that things were ready enough to bring the cows to their new home.
What started as a far more simple plan - our vision was, a rustic dairy run by simply plugging in the milking cans, and to take 3 months time...
Well we ended up mulling the idea over for a whole 3 months and what resulted after a ton of thought, study and labor is an elaborate, beautiful facility, complete with automated milking, a commercial grade cleaning system, a 200-gallon bulk tank, along with a beautiful sorting, loafing, and bedding area for the girls.
As Dan unloaded our cows into their new home, they started frolicking about, kicking their heels up and then nuzzling their soft noses into the fresh hay bedding, both signs that they approved and were comfortable and happy - what a success!
We were still worried about tomorrow morning - where the rubber would hit the road, during our first day of milking with the brand new systems.
Would we be able to get the cows in the milking parlor, or would they refuse to go in? Would the milking parlor (built within our greenhouse frame) be sturdy enough to hold everyone in or would it buckle under the weight of each massive cow? Would the automated system work??
Leader, Queen Hannah, the first cow in the lineup to be milked at our new parlor.
Luckily, we were able to get all the cows into the parlor with some difficulty but with success. Nothing broke other than a poorly welded gate, and the automated milkers worked so well, milking out each teat gently, evenly and efficiently, milk flowing from teat to sanitized steel milking line, though a plate chiller, chilling the milk to refrigerated temperature in just a few moments time, straight into the steel bulk tank, a professional system built for maximum cleanliness and safety.
Seeing it all happen, with having just loaded our beautiful cows into our brand new parlor built from scratch, the pulsators alive and milking the cows, with fresh clean raw milk flowing into the tank - having our dream come together after so much striving brought tears to our eyes.
We are overwhelmed with joy, having created a small, raw dairy from scratch, in this modern age where small dairies are dead, and only a few mega dairies of many thousand cramped, dirty cows flush our nation’s shelves with ultra-pasteurized dirty milk that would be horribly unsafe if consumed raw.
To bring cows to Copia and regenerate the land, while providing real milk that is produced in a clean environment, for so many of you passionate members of our community, along with our very own babies… it brings so much joy and meaning to life.
May you, Raw Milk Patron, know that it is all for you and because of you; you should feel the same pride and connectedness to the land as if you were out there with the cows.Thank you!
So as our family remembers the story of the origins of our raw milk herdshare for generations to come, let me also record the story of why this dairy even happened:
It was in October 2020 that Snowville Creamery was selling off a number of their legendary original grass-fed cows cultivated by Bill and Stacie Dix. Dan found this out and knew that I longed to have cows. What better genetics than to happen upon these cows, we thought.
At that time, we had a neighbor who was working with us full time, who was a dairymen, at least with a long lineage of dairy folk in his family, along with a dairy. We thought, with his guidance, we would feel confident to start our own little herdshare.
Little did we know that only an hour after our son Owen was born at home just a few months later,, that neighbor would quit the farm and boot us out of the dairy, due to immediate personal family issues.
We were stranded without a home for the cows and it was looking like we would have to sell them and shut our hershare just months after starting!
A few days later, our fate changed. Dan happened to be sharing our plight with the angelic woman who works at Granville Milling. She said, “Well Dan, there’s someone you should know who I think can help you. He’s a very good man and I’m going to give you his phone number.”
Tom, a retired dairymen who was once Ohio’s leading producer of Jersey A2/A2 cows, was our shining light and took us under his wing for the last year. Teaching us much, and providing the hinge pin piece to keeping the dairy going.
After tons of work by primarily by Dan, along with James, Gary, Joe, Grandpa Bergman, and guidance from Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), Warren, Tom, and Hills Dairy, we now have a safe, sweet little dairy built from scratch! Cows comfortable, clean, and happy, milking system is exceedingly hygienic and milk is clean and safe for our patrons. May the dream continue for ages and may we feed countless members of our community this blessed milk!