A herdshare is like boarding your family milk cow at someone else’s farm. Milk is not sold; instead, members buy into the herd and pay a monthly maintenance fee in exchange for a share of the yield. Find details about joining below. Shareholders’ milk is available for pickup once a week.
The herdshare is seasonal, meaning that during some months, there won’t be fresh milk. During those months, shareholders won’t be charged maintenance fees.
We pursue milk quality through herd management practices, rigorous cleaning practices, and on-farm testing.
Any questions, want to try a sample, or want to come for a visit? Please get in touch by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To join, email me at email@example.com. We’ll get the documents below signed and arrange start date, pickup location, billing.
The Bill of Sale, Shareholder Agreement, and Processing Services Agreement constitute the legal basis of your membership in the herdshare. (These documents were prepared by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.)
One share in the herd entitles its owner to one gallon of milk per week.
- Initial Share Purchase
- $25, one time, refundable
- When you’re finished, Lake Road Farm will buy back your share for the same price you bought it for.
- Monthly Agistment Fee
- $40, monthly
- Pays for the upkeep of your share of the herd, along with collection and distribution of your milk.
- Bottle Replacement
- $5, as-needed
- Your share purchase includes two half-gallon jars. If you need a replacement, you can provide one yourself or Lake Road Farm can replace it at this price.
Your milk will be available for pickup at the farm each week.
Wash last week’s bottles and lids before returning them (for example, in the dishwasher). They’ll be sanitized before refilling.
Producing excellent milk is a top priority at Lake Road Farm. We pursue this through:
- Herd health: The herd is rotationally grazed, providing frequent access to fresh, clean pasture. Grass-fed milk is healthier and richer.
- Rigorous cleaning practices: The milking shed and dairy are kept clean. The daily cleaning routine includes pre-sanitizing, a warm rinse, hot wash with alkaline or acid detergent, and a sanitizing rinse.
- Quality checks: Microbial tests are performed on the farm, using 3M Petrifilm tests and a small lab incubator, to monitor milk cleanliness. Additionally, fermentation tests (as described by Peter Dixon and Gianaclis Caldwell) provide feedback on the cultures present in the milk.
Each cow is milked once per day, resulting in a higher butterfat and protein content than twice-a-day milking. Then, the milk is rapidly chilled in the bulk tank.
As of summer 2023, the herd consists of four dairy cows: Athena, Aurora, Aphrodite, and Artemis. They came from Meadow Creek Dairy, a grass-based cheese dairy in Galax, VA.
The herd is managed seasonally, so there won’t be fresh milk during some months of the year. In 2024, the dry season will be mid-May to mid-July.
Ideally, our season would start in late March, as the grass begins to grow, and conclude in late December, as winter dormancy sets in. We’ll be exploring options to get our breeding on this schedule in the years to come.