Here in dairy country, we value our cows and the dairy industry
. The shiny milk trucks making their pick ups at dairy farms along our two-lane highways and county roads are a familiar sight. And Winnsboro is proud to have Keller's Creamery
right here in town.
There are a growing number of folks who prefer milk in its raw, unpasteurized state. The State of Texas, recognizing this niche market, allows dairies to produce and sell certified raw milk
under close scrutiny.
One of the restrictions is that the milk cannot be transported to a local store (even a health store or farmer's markets), but must be sold right from the dairy. Out here, that presents no problem. And candidly, adds to the enjoyment, as far as I’m concerned.
You see, just a quick 5.2 miles east of Winnsboro on Highway 852 East, a small sign on a fencepost quietly announces you have arrived at Jersey Girls. Keep your eyes open so you don’t miss it at a bend in the road.
Hint: there’s a sign for African Boer Goats across from the dairy’s driveway. If you’re a visitor unfamiliar with our roads, Hwy 852 East intersects with Hwy 515 (Coke Rd.) by Alco. Turn toward Perryville.
The Courtney family produces milk for commercial dairies. In 2008, they were approved by the state to also sell certified raw milk. A relatively small group of cows is segregated from the rest of the herd. All of the cows are pastured when not being milked and are completely rBST and rBGH free.
If you’re of a certain age, you may remember watching the cream rise to the top of the bottle at home, or at grandma’s house. You may have taken a turn with the butter churn out on the porch, or watched a relative make yogurt or cheese.
Those happy days are here again. Linda Courtney has cream, yogurt and gallons of milk ready for you Monday through Saturday from 8:00-10:00 am and 3:00-5:00 pm
. She also sells free range eggs
from small, local producers, as well as some lovely goat milk soaps and lotions
from Fairmeadow Farm
in Hawkins, certified raw goat milk dairy. Last time we were there, daughter Lori's stout German bread
and popular pumpkin roll
were laid out on the table for sampling.
Go up the curving drive and turn left around the first building to get back to the barn where the milk is sold. Expect to be welcomed by happy, energetic farm dogs and then a happy, energetic Linda, who is a pure delight.
“Toey” Courtney, her husband, is obviously a farm boy at heart, but he’s frequently gone to his day job as a pilot for Southwest Airlines
, flying out of Love Field in Dallas. When he’s home, he helps run the dairy, along with Lori and their son Brady. There are many of us eagerly awaiting the completion of whatever equipment Toey is in the middle of constructing so he can make larger quantities of cheese.
One note – and this is from me, not the Courtney’s: This is a working dairy farm. Please don’t arrive with a van full of children expecting a tour, petting zoo or live demonstrations. And you won’t get to say howdy to the Girls who bless you with their milk either. OK? Linda and Lori will do their best to answer your questions, however.
You’ll find Jersey Girls listed on the “Where can I find Real Milk?” Directory at www.realmilk.com. See their listing here
5326 E. FM 852
Winnsboro, TX 75494