Avery's Branch Farms
|Address:|| 16923 Genito Road
Amelia Court House, VA 23002
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This farm does not have visiting hours. Please see their website for raw milk share information.
• Located southwest of Richmond, Virginia, this family run farm raises dairy cattle and sells raw milk.
• Foodwaze has visited the farm to learn about their practices first-hand. The farm is run by the Alexander family.
• The dairy cows feed on pasture and are supplemented with non-GMO grains either grown on the farm or nearby.
• Additionally, the farm also raises 100% grass-fed beef cattle, pastured pork, and free range chickens, both broilers and egg layers. The chickens natural diet is supplemented with certified organic feed.
• The farm sells its raw milk through a cow share program.
• Please read more about them under our Details tab.
Located southwest of Richmond, Virginia, Avery’s Branch Farms is run by the Alexander family. They raise Jersey dairy cows and sell raw cows milk, in addition to raising a variety of other livestock. Foodwaze visited the farm in Fall 2015 and to observe first-hand the sustainable practices on the farm.
Joy and Tim started the farm in 2007 after Tim had worked several decades in the building industry. Neither had any previous experience in farming, but they believed it was their calling so they read and studied voraciously about sustainable practices, and have learned by trial and error. Their six children have been instrumental along the way, each taking on particular aspects of the operation.
The first thing they did to get their farm started was purchase a dairy cow and dairy has continued to be their mainstay. They sell the milk raw, which means unpasteurized and non-homogenized. This allows the milk to be consumed in its purest, most natural state. Unfortunately some states do not permit raw milk to be sold at the retail level. But consumers can purchase it under a nuance in the law that allows for consumption of raw milk as long as you own, or partly own the cow. Thus, Avery’s Branch uses a cow share/boarding system, where consumers pay a monthly fee much like a CSA, which guarantees weekly deliveries of the raw milk.
The dairy cows at Avery’s Branch Farms receive most of their nutrition from the grass and legumes in the farm’s pastures. As is a common practice on dairies, they are supplemented with a very small amount of non-GMO grain supplement while they are being milked in order to boost production. The grains come from their own harvests, as well as from local farms in the area who the Alexanders personally know. The cows do not receive antibiotics or hormones in their feed and the pastures are not fertilized. Our discussion with the Alexanders validate their concerns about chemicals and artificial methods of farming. They have stated their desire to eventually move their cows to a 100% grass diet and are working hard to make their pastures more lush to sustain the herd’s needs.
Also sharing those pastures are the beef cattle. They raise Hereford cattle entirely on grass. The cattle are rotated regularly to keep the pastures fresh, and they are followed in their path by pastured chickens. The farm raises a cornish cross for its meat birds and it also maintains a flock of hens for eggs. The chickens are all supplemented with a soy-free, certified organic feed.
Last are the pigs, which are given access to the woods on the property where they are free to forage on their natural diet of roots, nuts, and berries. They are supplemented with non-GMO feed.
Avery’s Branch Farms, which gets its name from a nearby creek, is a very welcoming place, inviting visitors to the farm and holding farm tours several times a year. They also operate an apprenticeship program for young aspiring farmers, and they rent their property out for events like weddings.
They don’t sell their product wholesale to restaurants and markets so really they only way to get it, is through their online ordering system which offers multiple drop off points around Virginia. Those drop off points are also used for their raw milk shares. Foodwaze lists many of those drop sites but some of them, such as gas stations, are not applicable.