Fall Creek Farms
2011 Cow Share Program
Information and Boarding Agreement
Thanks to the efforts of many people like you, Tennesseans can now legally obtain real milk, fresh from a local farm! Here at Fall Creek Farms™, our goal is to provide wholesome and healing foods for our family and yours. Through our Cow Share Program, you too can enjoy the benefits of drinking delicious milk that is both good and good for you.
- How does a cow share program work and what does it cost?
When you join the Fall Creek Farms Cow Share Program, you purchase a share in our herd of Jersey milk cows for a one time fee of $50.00 (which includes the herd share and bottle fee.). At that time, you will also sign a Herd Boarding Agreement, and receive a Bill of Sale. Thereafter, you will pay a monthly boarding fee that works out to $8.00 per week for the feeding, milking and care of your portion of the herd. One cow share entitles you to one gallon of milk a week. (We do also offer half shares)
- How do I pay my boarding fees?
The boarding fees are paid monthly and can be paid with cash or check. We also now offer online invoicing that can be paid with a card. To sign up for invoices, email JoAnna at FallCreekFarms.Milk@gmail.com
- Where do I pick up my milk?
We have delivery locations from Cookeville to Chattanooga and all in between. See our delivery list for details.
- What if I am unable to pick up my milk?
You are responsible for getting your milk from the per-arranged site; however, if you are unable to come for any reason, you may designate someone else to pick up your milk for you. However, if you fail to pick up your milk, we are unable to save your milk for the following week, nor can the boarding fees be altered. Whenever possible, we ask you to e-mail us if you will be unable to pick up your milk and we will try to make arrangements.
- What if I no longer want my cow share?
The ownership of a cow share is good until you no longer want to own it. Then you can sell it back to Fall Creek Farms for the price of $5.00. You may not sell it to a third party (as per Tenn. Law) however, if you know of someone else who is interested in a herd share program, please share this information with them and ask them to get in contact with us.
- How do I care for my milk after I pick it up?
It is critical that your milk stay chilled once you pick it up. Many customers routinely bring a small cooler (with ice) for this purpose.
- What about jars?
We use uniform, conveniently-sized jars that are a part of your share and are thus, returned if you no longer wish to continue your share. Each week, you will receive milk in 2 jars AND return 2 jars for the next week’s delivery. It is CRITICAL that your jars be scrupulously cleaned and dried. When cleaning milk containers, begin by rinsing with lukewarm water (too hot or too cold can cause milk solids to adhere to the jar’s surface). Next, wash thoroughly with soap and hot water, rinse well, and allow to dry. We find that for the cow milk bottles, it’s best to use a bottle brush to get in the corners of the bottle.
- How long does raw milk keep?
If handled as above, your milk will easily keep a week with no change in quality. As cow milk is less delicate than goat milk, it may keep longer than this if handled properly.
- What should I do if the milk smells bad after only a few days?
DISCARD IT! Let us know right away, and we will investigate and replace it. If no one else had a problem – or if you discover only one of your jars was bad – there was likely a problem with the sanitation of that particular jar.
- What should I do with milk that is more than 1 week old?
As long as it still smells and tastes sweet to you, it is fine to use. However, during the milking season, you will be getting milk each week. Therefore, if you find you are consistently having extra milk, experiment with making fun milk products like pudding, yogurt, cheese or soap. Many pets enjoy and can benefit from the leftover milk.
- Why does a layer of cream form on top of the milk?
Unlike goat milk which is naturally homogenized, meaning the fat is suspended in the milk, cow’s milk is not. Thus, the cream rises. Our cow milk is high in butterfat and some of this cream will rise to the top of the milk. You can skim this off if you want to use the cream. For drinking or cooking with the whole milk, you can gently shake the container before pouring to disperse the cream into the milk again.
- What can you tell me about the Jersey cows?
Well now, that is one of our favorite subjects! Our herd began in the 2011 with two bred cows from another local farm. We have grown substantially since then and are now milking 13 cows. We prefer the micro dairy model to a large commercial one as it allows us to better observe and assess the health and happiness of each animal.
- What is your approach to herd health?
We take a preventive approach to our herd’s health, and thus, we rarely encounter health concerns. We administer routine vaccinations annually – like those that protect our herd against overeating disease, tetanus, and staph mastitis. We use a wonderful herbal worming product that has been proven to be more effective than those undesirable chemical wormers. Because of the health and vigor of our herd we have rarely have to use antibiotics; although we would not withhold such treatment if we deemed it necessary for the long-term benefit of any of our animals. If any of our cows were to need antibiotics, she would be removed from the milking pool for the appropriate withdrawal period.
- How is the milking done?
We milk twice daily, following a strict regimen for hygiene. This involves plenty of hand washing, sanitizing, and proper udder care. Only stainless steel containers are used for milking and processing your milk. Our recently-remodeled milking room is where much of our work is done. After the milk is collected, it is immediately strained into our bulk tank which cools the milk to 38 degrees F, usually within 15 minutes. Our bulk tank has a very gentle agitator that keeps the milk fresh and homogenized while in the tank. We empty the tank completely of milk every 4 milkings so the oldest milk ever sent out is a day and half old Finally, all the milking equipment is cleaned with a dairy detergent and sanitizer.
- What do the cows eat?
While in the milking head gates, they receive a small supplemental ration of grain (No GMOs are used in any of our feed). It’s a mix of a pelleted non GMO grain which contains mostly wheat middlings, sunflower seeds, soghum and non-GMO molasses. We also use the leftover brew mash from several local beer breweries (so non GMO barley and wheat grains). We add a small sprinkling of calcium carbonate to each ration to ensure that the cows receive enough calcium to continue producing milk.
Normally, our girls spend their day outside in our pastures, the only exception being in inclement weather, when they feel it’s too icky to stay outside. Although, often times, cows will happily graze in the rain. (especially in the summer!) In the winter, we supplement their diet with a mix of high quality hay and sorghum silage (which is also non-GMO and grass fed approved). They need a good mix of long and short fibers in their diet in order to maintain rumen health. We also make sure that they have access to free choice sodium bicarbonate (assists in keeping their stomach pH stable) as well as a loose mineral mix specifically made for cattle.