Creambrook Farm

Address: 189 Mish Barn Road
Middlebrook, VA  24459
Hours:

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Phone: (540) 290-3721
Website: creambrookfarm.com
Categories: Farm

THE FARM

Creambrook Farm is a family-run 100% grass-fed dairy farm in Middlebrook, Virginia, just south of Staunton. The farm is run by husband-and-wife team Ben and Kristen Beichler. They raise a herd of jersey dairy cows using holistic rotational grazing practices. Foodwaze has visited the farm and compiled a detailed description of it under the Details tab.

What They Do: Creambrook Farm is a 100% grass-fed dairy, one of very few 100% grass-fed dairies in the state of Virginia. They sell shares for raw milk through membership in a herd share program. They also distribute to a local creamery, Old Church Creamery, that makes 100% grass-fed milk products with Creambrook’s dairy. And Creambrook distributes to local cheesemaker Caromont Farm.

 Regenerative Practices: As a 100% grass-fed dairy, Creambrook Farm is dedicated to regenerative agriculture practices that produce nutrient dense food and protect the soil and local ecology. The farm practices rotational grazing, which incorporates the use of temporary paddocks and allows for holistic management, where the cows are moved to fresh pasture at least once a day and often more. Foodwaze advocates 100% grass-fed systems at beef and dairy cattle farms. There are no synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, or hormones uses on Creambrook Farm.

Certifications: None currently, but the farm is in the process of applying for organic certification for their pastures.

CONSUMER INFO

Creambrook Farm makes its milk available to consumers through membership in its herd share program. Since Virginia state laws do not allow the sale of raw milk directly to the public, those who want to benefit from this delicious, nutritious milk can do so by owning part of a cow. Please see their website for more information and for drop-off points.

 OTHER TIDBITS

The Beichlers purchased their farm in Spring 2017. It was previously a beef cattle farm and had infrastructure in place to allow for first-rate transition to a dairy farm. This includes a spacious and clean milk house where the raw milk is filtered and chilled. Next to the milk house is an open-air milking parlor which provides for a clean, and scenic, place for the cows to be milked. 

OUR RESEARCH

This listing was compiled using the following processes:

• A visit to the farm and discussion with the farm owners/operators.

• The use of other research about the farm and its practices.

Creambrook Farm is a family-run 100% grass-fed dairy located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, just south of Staunton. The farm is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Ben and Kristen Beichler. They raise a herd of jersey dairy cows using holistic rotational grazing practices. They are one of just a handful of farms in Virginia that produces 100% grass-fed dairy. Foodwaze has had a chance to visit this amazing farm to learn first-hand about their operation.

The farm totals 243 acres nestled along undulating countryside. The lush and fertile pastures - which are a polyculture of perennial grasses and forbs, and annuals such as sorghum-sudangrass - are nurtured through rotational grazing. This practice incorporates the use of temporary paddocks and allows for holistic management, where the cows are moved to fresh pasture at least once a day and often more. Once the cattle are moved out of a paddock, the pastures are allowed to regenerate. Managed grazing provides the livestock with optimal nutrition, while protecting the land, capturing carbon, and developing healthy soil, all in accordance with the principles of regenerative agriculture. No GMOs or pesticides are ever used in their fields. In fact, the farm is in the process of earning its organic certification for its pastures, which takes three years.

Creambrook Farm manages a relatively small herd, with about 80 animals on the farm when we visited in Summer 2017, and about  dozen and a half of those milked at any point in time. They expect to grow the herd over time, but still maintain a manageable size. They cows are milked once a day to reduce the stress on them, unlike many dairies that milk twice a day.

The milking parlor is an open-air shed with relaxing views of the surrounding landscape and a fresh breeze blowing through. While being milked, the cows are fed a blend of hay, molasses, and apple cider vinegar. Dairy farms can be notorious for noxious smells, mostly due to cows being confined while being milked and fed grain; but this is definitely not the case at Creambrook Farm. By using 100% pasture-based practices and using a open-air milking parlor, the farm is earthy and fresh smelling.

Next to the parlor is a milk house, where the Grade-A raw milk is filtered and chilled in a 420-gallon tank. The milk is tested every week at their on-farm lab for bacteria and cleanliness, and it often far exceeds the minimum requirements. Their cows are never given antibiotics or growth hormones. The milk is distributed in BPA free plastic containers.

The Beichlers purchased Creambrook Farm in 2017 after apprenticing for several years at other farms in region. It was at Polyface Farm in nearby Swoope, Virginia where Ben and Kristin first met. They currently live on Creambrook Farm with their children.

Creambrook Farm makes its milk available to consumers through membership in its herd share program. Since Virginia state laws do not allow the sale of raw milk directly to the public, those who want to benefit from this delicious, nutritious milk can do so by owning part of a cow. Please see their website for more information and for drop-off points.

In addition to the raw milk shares, Creambrook distributes to another local family dairy business, Old Church Creamery, which is owned and operated by Kristen’s parents. Old Church is based in the Richmond area and they use the lowest temperature possible for pasteurization. In 2017 they debuted their line of 100% grass-fed milk products using Creambrook Farm’s dairy.

Creambrook Farm also distributes to Caromont Farm, which is another Foodwaze listed farm that raises pastured goats to make raw goats milk. They also make cheese from cows milk, and have partnered with Creambrook Farm in 2017 after losing their other 100% grass-fed cows milk supplier in 2017.

Creambrook Farm products can be found at these Foodwaze verified locations:

Palmyra, VA Local Eats Palmyra Staunton, VA The Store