National Public Radio’s Planet Money program recently did a 19 minute broadcast entitled Raw Milk Deal. They actually did a good job with it. We encourage you to give it a listen:
We, Paul and Debra, had a similar start to our Raw Milk Deal here in North Idaho. It started with a family cow in 2011. Soon, we had friends asking for milk. Then more friends asked. We then needed to get a second cow, and soon we were in the local natural foods store.
We liked the prospect of the business, and people loved the milk. I mean – they LOVED the milk. So, we decided to continue expanding.
There was competition though, and they started slightly before we did and grew fast. Like the other dairy in the NPR story, the competitor went out of business in fall 2017 and left a gaping hole in the local supply. They closed their doors abruptly and unceremoniously.
Being on a certain growth trajectory, there was no ability to immediately fill the void. There were lines at the couple stores we were in, with customers clamoring for our milk on delivery days.
The stores set a per customer limit on what each could purchase in order to leave some for the others.
Soon, we were able to fill the demand in the stores we were in, and then added new stores. We are now in 10 stores, going on 11 (Super 1 Foods in Oldtown opening this spring). We will stop there, for now, and concentrate on always producing the absolute best milk on the planet for our very loyal customer base.
Like the NPR story’s Mark McAfee and Organic Pastures, we provide raw milk from grass-based cows, and we are in transition to certified organic not only on the fields, which are mostly now certified, but also on the end product.
Unlike the story’s dairy, we are committed to A2A2 only genetics, and to Guernsey cows – which simply produce the best tasting and component milk out there, bar none.
We don’t stop there though. Instead of nasty plastic “jugs”, we bottle in beautiful reusable glass bottles. We thank our retailers for being willing to carry this, and take the bottles back. It’s a big deal, as we are the only milk in many of their stores in returnable glass bottles. We do it because glass is simply the best, and the customers want it this way!