Organic Valley Farm Tour

Organic Valley Farm Tour on 100 Days of #RealFood

We recently had the opportunity to visit a local Organic Valley Farm, and I’m excited to share all the details with you in today’s sponsored post! I’m proud to be partnering with Organic Valley this year because it’s a company that truly has its heart in the right place. And there’s no better way to see that than to spend the day with one of their very own farmers, George Teague and Family. One of the things I’ve learned is that Organic Valley is actually a farmer-owned cooperative, which means that hundreds of well-meaning families, just like the Teagues, work together to produce the certified organic dairy products that we all enjoy.

Reedy Fork Farm
(An Organic Valley Dairy Farm)

As you can see from the pics, my girls had a BLAST on our tour (they even got to pet a very loving cow!). It was clearly a worthwhile day off school. We also got to meet fellow blogger Anne with Fannetastic Food and hear about farm life and the history of the Teague’s land, which is Reedy Fork Farm just outside of Greensboro, NC. And in case you’re wondering, they do offer farm tours to the public for a fee – so give them a call if it’s something you (or your kids) would enjoy!

Organic Valley Farm Tour on 100 Days of #RealFood

Transitioning to Organic

One of the things I learned was that Reedy Fork Farms was not always organic. It was a long process, but (after lots of encouragement from his wife, Cherry) George officially transitioned their land from conventional to organic in 2007. And the changes that came along with it were surprising – including vet bills that basically disappeared. George and Cherry said that they now pay the vet more for their cats and dogs than they do for their cows AND the cows are on a trend to live twice as long now that they’re organically raised. Amazing!

George got his wake-up call years ago when there was a Paraquat (a chemical herbicide) spill on the farm. In a panic, he tried to stop this expensive solution from going to waste with his own bare hands. He was then sick for days after coming into contact with this dangerous chemical – basically the final straw before officially deciding to make his land safer for both his family and his animals.

The main issue was that George wasn’t sure if it was even possible to transition from a conventional to an organic farm, much less how they would do it! So that’s where Organic Valley stepped in and became a huge blessing for their family. Not only did they provide all the resources necessary for their farm to become certified organic, but they were also able to offer a solid market for their dairy products, which in turn meant steady income for their family.

Back when they were selling conventional dairy products on their own, they wouldn’t know how much they were getting for their milk until the check came in the mail – what a nerve wracking way to live! So while they love Organic Valley and everything the company has done for their family, they also love that they still feel as though they are in charge of running their very own farm business (with a welcome predictability as far as prices and sales go).

Grass-Fed Cows

I was also amazed to learn that even though the cows on the Teague’s farm are 90% grass fed, their milk is not sold as the higher priced “grass milk” that Organic Valley offers. So that means when we buy the regularly priced Organic Valley milk – this is what we’re getting (not bad)! We enjoyed seeing first-hand the pastures of their 600-acre farm that their 100 or so dairy cows rotate through on a regular basis. We also got to see where the milking action happens – the cows just happily make their way into the facility whenever it’s time!

Organic Valley Farm Tour on 100 Days of #RealFood

Fresh Eggs, Too!

And as if that adventure wasn’t already enough, we then got to meet their hundreds of chickens, too! I think it’s safe to say collecting ultra fresh eggs (that I scrambled later that night) was one of the highlights for my girls. We had such a great day meeting the faces behind our milk, eggs, and cheese! This is definitely a brand I can feel good about feeding my family. :)

Organic Valley Farm Tour on 100 Days of #RealFood

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26 thoughts on “Organic Valley Farm Tour”

  1. We wish to be “wise and safe” about our food, but to make that real, we need to be connected to a team that produces and delivers “Real food”, Wish this organisation based on healthy Give & Take relationships, an enduring organic journey.

  2. Are the baby cows allowed to stay with their moms on the farm? Since cow milk is after all for baby cows.

  3. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful experience! I buy all my milk from an amish farm – it’s raw and is organic quality. I don’t think the amish will let us tour but who knows? We haven’t asked.

  4. If you are buying organic milk and dairy from other companies you may want to check out the drone flyover images of Organic “Factory Farm” dairy’s investigated by The Cornucopia Institute.

    http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-factory-farm-investigation/

    While we want to support the growth and demand of the Organic industry, I don’t think this is the image most of us had in mind for Organic. I’ve been buying my organic milk from one of these huge dairy’s for years now. I just recently switched most of my dairy products (other than milk) to Organic Valley. I look forward to the growth of your company and your ability to help more farmers make the switch to Organic farming so supply can meet demand. Thank you.

  5. I live about 45 minutes from Organic Valley’s headquarters here in Wisconsin. Small towns used to have a farmer’s co-op creamery, but with the push to corporate farming, we’ve lost this tradition. OV brings a bit of this tradition back in that it’s farmer owned just like the old co-ops were. Probably my favorite OV product is their Pasture Butter. I love to smear it on warm bread.

  6. Used to buy Organic Valley but their products are ultra pasteurized and their Carageenen free whipping cream is ONLY available at Whole Foods, which meant an extra shopping trip for me. Also, OV used to supply the milk for my store brand organic, so I could buy it for $1 less per gallon, now it is supplied by Organic Horizon :(
    Thankfully, my girlfriend turned me on to a local brand, Sassy Cow (farm is 20 miles from my house:) that is just pasteurized (not ultra) and make Carageenen free whipping cream. Yeah! My family and I toured the farm last summer. Was happy to see those cows standing right in the field where they should be. Definitely NOT the norm here in Wisconsin where current research encourages farmers to keep their cows in climate controlled barns eating silage 24/7. Yes, we have toured conventional dairy farms too.

    1. I love Sassy Cow! We must be from the same area, because it’s only about 10 miles from my house. I usually buy their products over OV, but I know that OV sources from local farms as well, so they are a close second :)

      A farm tour at Sassy Cow is definitely on my to do list!!!

  7. Love this post! What a great day for your family. I buy OV products regularly and love to see that their farmers are well taken care of and that they are truly quality products.

  8. I would like to echo a comment above requesting Organic Valley to offer a non Ultra High Pasteurized (UHP) milk. I buy a lot of OV products, and I appreciate having a pastured/grass-fed option for dairy products available. However, I recently noticed the milk I usually buy is UHP, and was disappointed not to be able to find a non-UHP version. I understand it improves shelf life, so maybe OV could offer a way to get in touch with a local farmer and sign up for regular pickup or delivery to ensure it gets sold within the shelf life? I’ve searched my area, and can find unpasteurized (legal in my state), but no one seems to offer lightly pasteurized.

  9. What a great story. I especially love how the family transitioned from conventional to organic – that is a story worth sharing. Thanks for writing about your visit to the farm – I am a lover of Organic Valley and glad to see that they are living up to their positive reputation.

  10. Lisa, I wanted to let you know that my family is an Organic Valley dairy farm too (15 years already). And I happen to be an absolutely HUGE fan of yours and a HUGE fan of Organic Valley, I am just so excited that you got to experience an Organic Valley farm and learn more about what we go through to produce the high quality, organic products we produce for Organic Valley 7 days a week. They have always taken such great care of us farmers. This article made me so happy as a combination of our coop and my being your biggest fan. :)

  11. I was looking to buy whipping cream, and most I pick up, including Organic Valley, have Carrageenan. Why is this added? What exactly is it?

  12. This was very interesting, thank you for sharing. I am on board with UP milk products ~ boo. I have/do purchase many of their other products. I am wondering since there Organic Valley is a coop of farms I am wondering if there is a list of farms so that we know which ones are local. One reason is that it would be fun to have a tour just like mentioned in the article :) But I do like to support as much as able local farms.

    By the way it was very interesting to learn about the vet bill!

  13. My parents live in Greensboro, I can’t wait to visit. This was a great read! My parents haven’t made the organic switch with their dairy products but maybe a trip to the farm will change their mind!

  14. We prefer a local source of milk (local to Greenville, SC…Happy Cow Creamery or Milky Way Creamery), but I always have Organic Valley butter, half and half, or whipping cream in my fridge when a local source is not available. While I would naturally prefer that dairy farms be able to sustainably and profitably market their organic milk locally, it is great they have an option for their livelihood when that is not an option. I do wish their products were not ultra-pasteurized, although I understand that is the norm with these big brands of organic milk. I did want to share that Reedy Fork Farm is where we source our organic, soy-free chicken feed! Thanks for putting a face on the farm.

  15. Cool! I live in Greensboro and have heard of this farm but did not know that they were affiliated with Organic Valley, which I love! So cool. I will definitely have to take the kids for a tour to check it out! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Thank you! :) I was hoping that would be the case! :) I can get their great products if I drive all the way to whole foods (35 minutes away) but my more local super markets (Harris Teeter) only carry the UP. Have a great day!

  17. What a great farm visit! I wish organic valley sold less Ultra Pasteurized Milk products. Everything near me is ultra-pasteurized andI I refuse to buy UP milk products.

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