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OUR HERDSHARE

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Become a member of Reverence Jerseys and enjoy raw milk from a herd of cows that you co-own. We carefully nurture green pastures, taking sunshine and turning it into the richest and most nourishing milk we know how to make. A friend once told us that he could actually taste our cows’ well-being. “I don’t know how to say this…,” he said shyly, “but is it possible I’m actually tasting that your cows are happy?”

 

Exceptional care goes into each and every animal, and our beloved cows transform pasture and our locally grown hay — which we make in partnership with retired dairy farmers in our area — into whole, living food.

 

Our cows are mothers first, and we treat them with the honor that such a title merits. Cows don’t make milk for our convenience — they make milk for their calves, and we allow them to be mothers and for each cow to raise their own calves, including the bull calves. No other farm in the U.S. that we are aware of calf-shares on this scale for both bulls and heifers until they are at least 5-7 months old, respectively. Whatever our cows offer in the parlor is freely given on top of what their calves need to thrive. The calves are separated at night so we can milk their moms in the morning, and they spend the rest of the day together. We have never owned a calf hutch.

 

We have a relationship with each animal, knowing them by name from the day they are born, and nurtured for the entirety of their lives. Our herd is an old-fashioned dual-purpose herd, and so you will be able to participate in holistic dairying by eating beef from the herd, as well. (Beef is sold separately through bulk meat and through our farm store.) Since cows need to have a calf every year or so to continue to produce milk, the exponential growth of the herd requires careful culling and each animal’s life is honored and respected until the last moments. Knowing animals by name makes this act more intimate, but also keeps us humble as to what it really requires.

 

Suzanne retains majority ownership of the herd and Hue milks, cares for, feeds and shelters the cows, young stock and calves in his role as "agister." You will pick up your fresh, raw milk weekly, and can visit the herd as well. The herd lives as our Creator intends: grazing, frolicking, socializing with their mates, having shelter from bad weather, and wide-open spaces to roam and grow. Suzanne and Hue personally shepherd the herd from pasture to pasture, continuing to monitor and husband this unique and beautiful group of varied Jersey cows, that like cows on the Island of Jersey, are all colors.

We have almost entirely A2A2 cows.

Our herd is almost completely A2/A2. We milk 75 A2A2 registered Jersey’s, and two sister cows are A1A2, Pocahontas and Paloma. Vivian, Suzanne & Hue’s daughter who helps care for the cows, particularly loves Pocahontas, who is a cuddle bug.

 

We are certified grass-fed, grain-free by A Greener World (AGW).
Our herd is certified grass-fed, grain-free and they eat only a combination of fresh pasture and fermented grasses called hayledge or baledge, along with dry hay and occasionally Chaffhay, which is bagged alfalfa. We occasionally use molasses to administer medicine and supplements, as allowed by AGW.

 

We are certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW.
The herd is animal welfare certified by A Greener World (AGW).
We didn’t need to change any of our practices to become AWA certified, and our calf-rearing program leads the industry in welfare and far exceeds the requirements of the program.


We use natural husbandry whenever possible.
Hue is a veterinarian and sees the animals every single day to insure optimal well-being for our herd’s health and milk quality. We use his herbal formulations as the first line of defense for common illnesses, but we don’t deny our animals life-saving conventional medical treatments, as necessary. We meet or exceed all legal withholding times for medicines. We do not use mRNA vaccines.

     

We are state-licensed and inspected and voluntarily test for pathogens.
We are a licensed and inspected dairy farm by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. We regularly test the milk at a third-party lab for four common pathogens.

Our cows help us build soil, create a biologically alive ecosystem that provides a robust wildlife habitat.
Our pastures are fertilized with compost and bedded straw from the barn, as part of the regenerative practices that Reverence Farms embraces. No herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, or synthetic fertilizers are used on the farm. Ever.

Our cows help us build soil, create a biologically alive ecosystem that provides a robust wildlife habitat and every year we sequester more carbon than the year before.
Our pastures are fertilized with compost and bedded straw from the barn, as part of the regenerative practices that Reverence Farms embraces. No herbicide, fungicide, insecticide, or synthetic fertilizers are used on the farm. Ever.

How does it work?

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Herd Share FAQ
Q: What is raw Milk?
A: Milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of partially sterilizing food or drink using heat.
Q: Why would someone want to drink milk that isn’t pasteurized if pasteurization reduces contamination with pathogens?
A: Pasteurization turns lactose, which is the sugar in milk, into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is more soluble and is more rapidly absorbed by the body, potentially causing blood-sugar spikes. Pasteurization also kills beneficial lactobaciili, which are essential for producing vitamin K2, help absorption of nutrients, and enhance healthy gut function. Pasteurization also does not kill all bacteria, and studies have shown the living microbes in raw milk actively suppress novel pathogens. (For more information on raw vs. pasteurized milk, check out realmilk.com.)
Q: What are the risks associated with drinking raw milk?
A: Any food can be contaminated with pathogens. This includes both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. To date, there have been more cases of health issues reported from pasteurized milk than raw milk.
Q: How long will raw milk keep?
A: When kept at the optimal temperature of 36-38° F (2.2-3.3°C) you can expect fresh raw milk to last up to 10 days or even longer. Higher temperatures allow the normally occurring lactobacilli to get busy making lactic acid, which gives soured milk its characteristically tangy taste and reduces its shelf life. (Although there are plenty of uses for clabbered milk…) Bring a cooler bag and ice or gel packs with you when buying milk on hot summer days or if you have a long drive home — it’ll stay fresher tasting longer.
Q. Is it okay to freeze raw milk and butter?
A. Yes, It is fine to freeze raw milk and butter. There is no harm to the enzymes in milk nor to the fat-soluble vitamins in butter. You can freeze milk, although the texture will be different after its defrosted. Some people strain it afterwards.
Q: What if I want to go on vacation?
A: The cows don’t stop producing milk or needing care when you are on vacation. For that reason, cheese, butter, ice cream or yogurt are the most historically normal things people would do if they couldn’t consume all the milk in a specified period. That said, we allow you to place your account on temporarily if you cannot make your pickup. This can be done exclusively through our online software program, and cannot be handled with a call or an email.
Q: What if I want more milk for projects or company?
A: If there is additional milk available, you are welcome to increase your weekly share disbursal through our online software and you will be charged a commensurate increase in boarding fees for that week. Likewise, you have the option of decreasing as well, and those credits will be applied to your account.
Q: What happens when I don’t pick up milk?
We have a two-day grace period, after which time your milk will be donated. If the end of your two-day grace period happens to fall on a day our farm store is closed, it will be held until close of business on the next open day.
Q: What if I want to cancel?
A: Your boarding fees are paid in advance. You can cancel with 30 days’ notice.
Q: What if I don’t like the way the cows in “my” herd are managed?
A: We will gladly hear your suggestions, although your herdshare does not qualify you to make herd management decisions.

Q: Are the milk containers BPA free?
A: Yes. You can also decanter your milk into containers of your choice upon arriving home.
Q: Do we sell raw butter?
A: Not at this time.
Q: Can I include meat in our herd share orders?
A: Not at this time. You can buy bulk meat through our website and limited selections of retail meat are available in our farm store.

Q: Can I bring my own glass jars?
A. No. Long ago we were given the advise from a sage of the regenerative ag movement that every single person he knew who did a herd share with glass jars quit doing it. And we understand why. Just the glass jars that our staff has brought to us over the years to fill (our staff gets free milk, meat and eggs) have been often in need of re-washing, and we don’t have the facilities to do so. Glass jars break. We are sorry, as we understand why you want glass, but we just can’t logistically do it. 

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