21st Century Small-Scale Cheese Industry
On last week’s episode we ended up at Mountain Valley Farm – a dairy farm in the Creston Valley of B.C. operated by Wayne and Denise Harris and family.
Mountain Valley Farm is a working example of an organic dairy farm that is quickly recognizing the economic potential of tapping into the growing public interest in organic and locally produced food. The farm is one of many models in Canada that is moving in a much different direction than most of the industrial food system. For the Harris family, this ‘direction’ is already proving itself to be socially and environmentally rewarding, and as they’ve gradually begun to recognize since the launch of their Kootenay Alpine Cheese business – economically rewarding too!
On this episode we take a tour of the farm and their new cheesemaking facility, and we’ll hear from Wayne Harris on the challenges and opportunities found from operating a small-scale organic dairy.
Rounding off the show, a segment from a talk recorded in Burnbay, B.C. in October 2007 at an event hosted by Health Action Network Society (HANS). Speaker Mark McAfee is the founder of Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) – the first raw milk dairy with certified organic pasture in the State of California. Since the 1950s, McAfee Farms have been leading advocates of “nature-friendly farm practices”. Organic Pastures is one of the few remaining family-owned and operated dairies in California.
Wayne and Denise Harris, Farmer, Mountain Valley Farm / Kootenay Alpine Cheese (Lister, BC) – Towering over Mountain Valley pastures is the magnificent Thomson Mountain range, and it’s alpine meadows and forested slopes maintain a sentinel over this dairy farm. The farm is situated in the heart of the Kootenays, on benchland above the Creston Valley, 10 minutes from the Idaho border and 4 hours from the Alberta border. Mountain Valley uses no pesticides, GMO’s or chemical fertilizer on the land. They nurture and replenish the soil through many sustainable management practices, including the application of composted manure from the farm and whey from their new cheesemaking facility. The health of the herd is maintained following organic practices, with no hormones being used. They are certified organic with Pacific Agricultural Certification Society and also belong to Kootenay Local Agricultural Society whose mandate is to foster local, sustainable agriculture.
Mark McAfee, Founder, Organic Pastures Dairy Company (Fresno, CA) – Founder of Organic Pastures Dairy, Mark is internationally recognized as an expert in raw milk production, and has spoken in over fifteen states and three countries on the subject. He invented the first dietary supplements made from fresh raw colostrum, and secured their certification from the FDA and DHS. Mark created and published the first international raw milk safety standards at www.rawusa.org.
Photos From Mountain Valley Farm / Kootenay Alpine Cheese
All photos taken by Marinko Jareb
Jon Steinman and Wayne Harris