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!
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).
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!
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. :)