Homestead Creamery

Last Saturday, Nick and I met Lauren (from Vegology) and Kyle at Homestead Creamery, our local dairy in Wirtz, Virginia.

It turned out to be a beautiful day and we had a fantastic time touring the creamery and seeing the farms that support it.

IMG_3733

IMG_3700

We met at 10 am on Saturday and looked around their store and scoop shop until Donnie, the Creamery’s Co-Owner met us for the tour.

IMG_3699

IMG_3701

I already want to go back so I can see the creamery in action – I seriously couldn’t believe that they don’t run the creamery on weekends after hearing how much they produce each week.

IMG_3704

Although the creamery wasn’t humongous, it seemed so efficient.

They have one tank where the milk comes in, which then goes into the mixer (if they’re making one of their flavored milks) or into the homogenizer and then into the pasteurizer.

IMG_3705

This machine (above) is their bottle washer from the 1960s.

Homestead Creamery bottles all their milk, cream, buttermilk, and half and half in glass bottles, which lets customers drop them off to be washed and reused. It saves an incredible amount of waste each year – plus, I love the look of the glass bottles.

img_8101_thumb_thumb

IMG_3707

I don’t remember all the details, but because of the way they pasteurize their milk, each type is much creamier and more flavorful than regular store bought milk. And we can vouch for that!

Nick and I buy their milk every week and I hope we always live in a place where we have it available because it is incredibly rich and creamy.

Their logo – The Way Milk Should Taste – is spot on.

IMG_3709

IMG_3711

This is why I wished everything was running! I want to go back and see the bottler in action, filling the bottles with milk, putting the lids on, and scanning on the dates.

IMG_3716

And this little machine (above) is where all of their butter is made.

For as much product as they make each year, there is only one person that makes all of their butter and only one person that makes all of their ice cream. Incredible, right? And all of their butter is hand-shaped and hand-wrapped – not automated at all.

IMG_3717

IMG_3718

Side note: Have you ever seen the I Love Lucy episode where she gets stuck in the deep freezer in the basement? That freezer made me think of that – and made me want to dive in there with a spoon and try all of that ice cream.

IMG_3719

After we toured the creamery itself, Donnie took us over to his house and farm, where he has 100 cows. There’s one other co-owner of the creamery a few miles away that also has 100 cows, which makes up the entire dairy.

IMG_3720

I think the neatest thing I learned that day was that they grow almost all of the food for the cows right on their farms. The cows mostly eat grain and corn, which is grown on the acres that Donnie owns. They also graze in other areas of the land on grass during the warmer months.

These cows were happy cows – hanging out in the shade of the afternoon, grazing outside in the fields.

IMG_3722

The milking is done 8 cows at a time at Donnie’s farm at 4:30 every morning (by Donnie himself) and then later in the afternoon by his son or nephews who help out at the farm.

Donnie was the perfect host for the tour and you could really sense his passion for his farm, the creamery, and everything he does every day. After we exhausted him with questions, we headed back to the creamery to have some sandwiches and finally get some ice cream.

IMG_3729

We regularly buy their ice cream at our local Kroger, but they also had flavors in the scoop shop that they only make for the creamery. I had no choice but to try some of those!

I had a scoop of strawberry cheesecake on the bottom and coconut chocolate chip on the top. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sending a letter soon to request the coconut one at the grocery store.

If I wasn’t already a customer, I can definitely say that I would be after touring the creamery and dairy. Seeing the love and hard work that this business is based on simply reinforced my commitment to buy not only from this dairy but to buy local as much as possible.

Do you have a local dairy or other local places that you love?

22 Responses to “Homestead Creamery”

  1. #
    1
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — July 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    That is so fun, I’d love to see the behind the scenes of some businesses. That ice cream looks delicious, too!

  2. #
    2
    Lauren @ What Lauren Likes — July 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I am soo jealous!! this looks like a great time. ( that ice cream sound heavenly!)

  3. #
    3
    VeggieGirl — July 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    What a great local dairy source!

  4. #
    4
    Andrea — July 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Hooray for local dairies! I wish more people would spend the few extra and get the local stuff. So much better than even the “organic” mass produced stuff. Our creamery is Snowville. :)

    • admin replied: — July 1st, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Exactly! Their milk is TONS better than anything else at our stores.

  5. #
    5
    Erica — July 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    What a cool place! Kind of makes you wish everything was made the way it used to be made. coconut chocolate chip? That sounds delicious.

  6. #
    6
    Sues — July 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    What a fun tour! That freezer looks amazing… When I was a kid, I was a HUGE I Love Lucy fan and that was one of the best episodes!!

    • admin replied: — July 1st, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Me tooooo! I have almost every episode on tape :) We would tape them from TV when they were on in the summer on Nick at Nite. I LOVE that show. Maybe just a bit obsessed :)

  7. #
    7
    Jess — July 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    My mom grew up on her family’s dairy, and our land is still on the original homestead. My aunt carried on the majority of the cattle business, but we still get fresh milk straight from the udder (yes, it’s unpasteurized and amazing) and make butter and ice cream from that. Talk about local!

  8. #
    8
    Brandie — July 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    We love Homestead Creamery! What a great post! They do tours for area school groups too. They really reach out to the community. And there really is nothing like their milk!

  9. #
    9
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — July 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    What a fun tour! And who doesn’t love milk in a glass bottle–it is the way it should be! :)

  10. #
    10
    Brittany — July 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    It looks like you all had a great time on the creamy tour. I sooo wish I could have come. :/

    I typically use almond milk now but Isaac has definitely bought Homestead’s milk before and enjoyed it very much! I have yet to try the ice cream though. I really hope they bring the coconut flavor to stores because it sounds amazing.

    • admin replied: — July 1st, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      I hope they bring the coconut to the stores, too! It was so good – there were pieces of coconut in the ice cream, too!

  11. #
    11
    Shannon — July 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    oh wow, that is so awesome!! and please lock me in a freezer with a spoon ;)

  12. #
    12
    Sarah R — July 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    What a fun day! Coconut + chocolate is probably my all time favorite combination. Wish I could get some!

  13. #
    13
    natalie (the sweets life) — July 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    any tour that ends in ice cream is a major win! so fun!!!! :)

  14. #
    14
    Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free — July 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    How fun! I would LOVE to visit a local dairy farm….or any kind of farm for that matter! In fact, why not? I should go!

  15. #
    15
    Paige @ Running Around Normal — July 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    That’s so cool you can buy local ice cream at your Kroger! As far as I know, there’s no local dairy around here. There’s a local cheese….making…place though!

  16. #
    16
    Lauren @ vegology — July 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I picked up some Homestead Creamery chocolate ice cream after work today; it truly is the best! Such a fun trip, hope you guys have a great weekend.

  17. #
    17
    Maria Werling — July 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Maria Werling here, I have been looking for info regarding Homestead Creamery on the internet. So grateful to have reached http://www.branappetit.com/2011/07/01/homestead-creamery to learn about this knowledge. Was able to save myself lots of time, thankyou.

  18. #
    18
    Lisa — June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    We love Homestead Creamery! There was a dairy in the Charlotte area that used to delivery Homestead Creamery to our house in glass bottles. It is the best milk I have had since I was a child. We recently moved to the Winston-Salem area and I was disappointed that we would have to give up our milk. Luckily I found a great butcher shop in the Winston-Salem area called Olde World Meat Market that not only has the greatest local meat but also carries Homestead Creamery milk! It is the ultimate in recycling because you bring the glass bottles back to be refilled!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Frog Jam

Leave a Comment