In an attempt to answer most of the questions you might have about your herd share at Windy Acres Dairy Farm and about the uses of high quality raw milk, we are providing this sheet of frequently asked questions. Please let us know if you need more information.
1. How is the herd share with Windy Acres Dairy Farm set up?
You make a once every year payment of $60 to buy a share in the Windy Acres Dairy herd. This annual payment is due on January 1st of each year for all members.
Note: in late 2013 the decision was made to transition all current members’ herd share fees to become due on January 1, 2015 by pro-rating payment amount in 2014. For example: all current herd share members whose payments are due in February should pay $55 for 2014 and your next payment will be due Jan. 1, 2015 in the full amount of $60. If your annual herd share payment is usually due in March – pay $55, if due in April – pay $45, if due in May – pay $40, and so on. On January 1, 2015 all members pay the full $60. All new members also pay a pro-rated fee for their first year according to the month they become a member. For example: if you join in July – pay $30, in August – pay $25, and so on until January 1st when the full annual amount of $60 is due.
You will be asked to sign a contract for your herd share at the time of its purchase. From that point on you actually own a share of the dairy’s herd. In addition to this annual payment, you pay a boarding fee each month for the feeding and care of your share(s) in the herd. This boarding fee is according to where you live as it includes delivery to an area drop point so varies with the distance traveled from the farm. See our boarding fee sheet here. Also note you pay this fee for each share you own, meaning if you buy two shares you pay twice the boarding fee each month and get double the amount of milk. One share entitles you to one gallon of milk each week. This fee also includes funds to add replacement cows every three years as this is necessary to assure continuing quality milk to meet your demand of Windy Acres Dairy Farm. Note that you may sell your herd share to a third party. Shares cannot be sold back to Windy Acres Dairy Farm. Additional milk, cream and other items from the farm can be obtained as premiums in exchange for donations to Windy Acres Dairy Farm. See our list of premiums here. Please note that additional products are offered as premiums only to herd share members in good standing. They are NOT available to the public. Milk is delivered weekly to Bend, Redmond and Portland, every other week to Hood River and once a month to Medford / Ashland.
2. Are Herd Shares legal?
Yes, they are. It is not legal in Oregon to sell raw (unpasteurized) milk to the public. However, since you own a share in Windy Acres Dairy Herd, you may legally use the milk from your share(s) in any way you see fit. Many cow share / herd share programs have been implemented in this state and have been functioning with no legal challenges. Windy Acres Dairy Farm has consulted with the legal team at the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund in setting up its herd share program. Also, Windy Acres Dairy Farm works with the State Department of Agriculture and has obtained its approval in setting up this herd share program.
3. How are the cows milked at Windy Acres Dairy Farm?
The cows are milked, six at a time, inside a dairy parlor once a day in the morning. That is, the milk is drawn from the cow’s udder using a suction device and a set of tubes that empty the milk into a sealed stainless steel refrigerated container. Since there is no exposure to air at any point, the most scrupulous level of sanitation is assured. The system has a sanitation cycle before and after each milking.
4. Is the milk ever tested for E. coli or other bacteria?
Yes, the milk is tested.
5. How should I handle the milk that is supplied to me?
The milk supplied will be raw, meaning it is not heat-treated (pasteurized), nor is it homogenized. It will be chilled and you should take care that it remains so until you get it home and in to your refrigerator. If you have some distance to drive or stops to make before you arrive home, it is imperative that you make provision with insulated containers and ice or chillers to keep the milk at refrigerator temperature until you return home. The milk is supplied in new (unused) plastic milk jugs. We never reuse containers. Also, please don’t set raw product on table or counter for a meal, return it to the refrigerator without temperature change.
6. How long will raw milk keep?
If you handle as above, the milk will easily keep a week with no change at all in quality. Indeed, we have kept raw milk in the refrigerator for as long as fifteen days, and it was still sweet and good. It is very good practice to date your milk as soon as it is received.
7. What are the cows fed?
When the grass is growing the cows are grazing in the farm’s field. When winter is upon us and the grass is not growing we feed grass hay. Currently we are working on growing our own “fodder.” This consists of sprouting barley and other seeds to provide a nutrient rich, rapidly growing green “sprout” to supplement the cows diet when the pasture is dormant. During milking in the parlor the cows eat a small amount of grain. Please note that no soy is fed to the animals at Windy Acres.
8. Are there any other products available from the farm?
Yes, pastured-based pork (also fed the skimmed milk left over from cream and butter production), lamb, ground beef, chickens and heritage turkeys are offered at various times throughout the year. Please call for pricing and availability.