I love a good farm visit. And I love getting to know where my food comes from and who is responsible for it. When I was invited to come and check out Buckeye Country Creamery in Ashland this week, I jumped at the chance.
It’s a family run dairy farm (two generations at work) that’s been operating for more than 25 years. But only in the last year and a half have they launched their creamery, an endeavor that required a significant leap of faith and capital investment on the part of the Lahmers Family. But they’re banking on the “If you build it, they will come” concept. Or rather, “If you milk it, they will come.”
They have a herd of 130 cows right now, which they milk twice a day, and produce 900 pounds of milk daily. What makes their milk different? The A2A2. It’s the type of beta-casein protein that is easier on your digestive system. Many people who cannot usually drink milk, and consider themselves lactose intolerant, can drink A2A2 milk without side effects. That’s a game changer for some families.
The other thing that differentiates them from other nearby creameries…flavored milk. It’s a heckofa lot easier to get a child to drink a tall glass of “cookies and cream” milk than plain old cows milk, right? Buckeye Country Creamery’s line of products include strawberry, chocolate, cookies and cream, and mocha flavored milk. (They add the powdered flavoring during the pasteurization process) These varieties are especially creamy, because the flavors are made with whole milk. They also make drinkable yogurt, mozzarella cheese and ice cream with the same A2 properties. We got a chance to sample milk flavors, the yogurt and ice cream from Buckeye, and my girls guzzled it all down! I think the yogurts were gone in a day!
For those food conscious readers, their pasteurization process is also worth noting. The milk at Buckeye Country Creamery is pasteurized slowly, at a low temperature, to keep more enzymes and proteins intact. It’s not homogenized, so the cream rises to the top, as they say.
Locals can buy up the products coming out of the Lahmers Dairy Farm, at their modest store on site…a glorified hallway, really. They stock the fridge and operate on the honor system.
“Sometimes we get an IOU in there,” jokes dairy farmer, Christy Hulse.
Word is getting out in the Ashland area. People are popping in on a weekly basis and pick up the essentials.
“We’re going to need a bigger fridge,” Hulse said, with a smile.
You can find Buckeye Country Creamery’s line of products at 120 locations between Cleveland and Columbus, including the West Side Market, Case Western Reserve University and Miles Farmers Market. (runs about $3.99 for half gallon, $6.99 a gallon) Click here for a complete list.
Disclosure: I was invited to visit the farm and write about my experience, in exchange for a sampling of their products.