Christine is a hardworking mother and a seventh-generation farmer. She owns and operates Cast Iron Farm, a small farm in McMinnville, Ore., where she and her family raise a number of different animals. Among them is a Brown Swiss dairy cow named Willow and a Jersey named Hazel.
Christine is passionate about her cows and the milk they produce. She is also meticulous about providing her customers the safest product possible. That begins with treating her cows well. For most of the year, they are kept on pasture that is rotationally grazed. That means the cows return to a new, clean piece of ground after every milking. The pasture contains a mixture of orchard and timothy grass, as well as alfalfa and clover—legumes that provide high-quality nutrition to the cows and, in turn, to Christine’s customers. From November to March, the cows are kept in a dry lot in Christine’s barn. When they are brought to the milking parlor for milking each day, their pens are cleaned and re-bedded with fresh straw. Even during these winter months, the cows go out to pasture a couple of times per week.
The quality of Cast Iron Farm’s milk is attributable not only to the cows and the way Christine treats them, but also to Christine’s careful milking and bottling protocol, as well as regular testing. Christine sends milk samples to an independent lab monthly, and she posts the test results for everyone to see. She also keeps daily samples for a full month so that milk remains available for additional testing if the need ever arises.
The final key to the quality milk at Cast Iron Farm is transparency. Christine is so committed to responsible farming practices that she maintains an open-door policy at Cast Iron Farm. There is a standing invitation to anyone who wishes to visit the farm and watch Christine care for and milk her cows.
Christine’s meticulousness has paid off. In fact, Cast Iron Farm is one of only four dairies listed with the Raw Milk Institute, a nationwide organization that provides training and promotes common standards to safely guide the raw milk market. Naturally, Christine is proud of Cast Iron Farm’s milk and the measures she takes to ensure her customers get the best product possible.