Chestnut, and Corner Kitchen, partner with many local farmers and vendors. Featuring local products like, jams, honey, mustard, meats, milk, cream, cheeses, eggs and so much more is incredibly important to us. Why? Because it stimulates our local economy and it tastes GREAT!
This month we are showcasing Mills River Creamery. Here’s what we buy from them: Buttermilk and Whole Milk.
1. Give us the “origin story” for your operation
The Mills River Creamery and Dairy is owned and operated by Bradley Johnston. Bradley is a third generation dairy farmer. His grandfather started selling fresh milk to the public in 1917. His father was born in 1920, raised his family in the Avery’s Creek community, and realized that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. In 1975 Johnston moved his family from Avery’s Creek to Mills River and continued to operate the family dairy farm. Bradley is the youngest of five, and following a long career in the family’s commercial dairy business, decided to start a specialty grass-fed dairy. In 2016, the Mills River Creamery and Dairy milked and bottled its first Jersey cow milk. Our grass-fed Jersey herd directly descends from the original Biltmore Dairy herd, the third oldest herd of registered Jersey cows in the US; Vanderbilt brought his first Jerseys to Asheville in 1897. Jersey cow milk is known for its high butterfat content, which can be seen by our milk’s slightly yellowish color. In addition to the grass in our pasture, we grow non-GMO corn for silage that our cows have access to in the barn before and after milking. We do not give our animals any growth hormones, and only use an antibiotic if our veterinarian prescribes that it be done for an individual animal.
Additionally, all of our cows have tested positive for the A2A2 gene. This influences the protein they produce- A2 beta casein. A2 beta casein is the same protein present in human milk and goat milk- it aids in the digestion of lactose and has proven to have several health benefits. All of our milk is non-homogenized and minimally pasteurized, making it the closest thing to raw milk available for public consumption.
On top of our wholesale and retail ventures, we have opened our dairy up for school field trips and public tours, to teach folks about the dairy side of our local food system- we serve ice cream onsite for all of our tours. Our Creamery is located 1 mile from our dairy and features all of our whole milk products as well as homemade ice cream, milkshakes, and a wide array of canned goods and other specialty products.
2. What is your list of products (within reason…)
Whole milk, buttermilk, chocolate milk, half & half, heavy cream, and butter
3. Where is your distribution range? Asheville? Regional?
We distribute to grocery and convenient stores, farm-stands, restaurants, and coffee shops in Asheville and its surrounding areas. Check our website for a complete list of all of our partners.
4. Who are the important people in your organization?
We are a very small organization- everyone plays a special and integral role to our functioning. If we had to choose who is absolutely most important, it’s the cows.
5. Any anecdotes about your crew?
Our dairy owner Bradley is known around Mills River as “SOB” for “Sweet Ole Bradley”
6. What’s next for you and your company?
We have just moved into our brand new processing facility which is located onsite at our dairy. We hope to get into yogurt and soft cheese production by late 2018/early 2019.