Since the first days of Waves of Grain, customers have asked the coop to help them source raw milk; but, the Front Range farms we spoke to had 2- to 3-year waiting lists for a single share. We joked we could start our own herd before we’d be able to source enough shares from existing farms to meet coop demand.
Last week we learned about a new farm starting its operations and we realized this could be the way to secure enough shares to start, plus allow for growth in the future. We spoke to Jiayi or “Jay” at Stars Farm in Mack Colorado. This is a brand new farm that expects to start its milking operations in October of this year. Their model is to produce milk on the Western Slope but sell shares in the Front Range, as well as locally and along the I-70 corridor. He asked us to start with a minimum of 8 shares to get our drop site set up in Boulder, with an upper limit of 20 full shares at this time. Customers who sign up during the initial period will get a special deal that will last as long as they remain shareholders.
Coop members that opt in: You will purchase your herd share directly from the farm.
The coop cannot sell raw milk. To make this work legally, one or more coop worker-owners will also purchase a herd share, allowing us to transport the milk for other shareholders. The coop will partner with the farm to provide logistical support, sales, and customer service. Hosting the pickup site(s) will benefit the coop like a loss leader – we expect herd shareholders to also purchase other goods from Waves of Grain, since they are already picking up their milk shares at coop sites. It’s a new farm, so we can expect some growing pains. But the benefit is significant – access to a new farm with capacity to serve our members.
The biggest hurdle we face is the transportation cost from Mack to Boulder. This cost is considerable, adding $40 to a full share each month, effectively raising the cost per gallon from $12.50 to $22.50. Raw milk is not yet available to everyone -- significant sacrifices are needed to add this to your monthly food budget. The good news: If you need it for health recovery or health optimization, it is now available thanks to the collaboration between Stars Farm and Waves of Grain.
- Shareholders will buy their share on a $50 bill of sale. That $50 is returned if/when the shareholder opts out of the program. Half share sale is the same cost as full.
- There are also two monthly charges:
- Herd maintenance fee of $50 per month per full share, $25 per half share
- Transportation fee of $40 per month per full share, $20 per half share.
What You Get
- Full Share = one gallon per week (expected, not guaranteed; in rare circumstances, there could be less or more).
- Half Share = half gallon per week expected distribution.
Monthly Cost Summary
- A full share will cost $90 per month. In months with five Wednesdays, that is $18 per gallon. In months with four Wednesdays, coop members will be paying the equivalent of $22.50 per gallon. Yearly average = $20.77 per gallon.
- A half share will cost $45 per month. In months with 5 Wednesdays, that is $9 per half gallon. In months with four Wednesdays, coop members will be paying the equivalent of $11.25 per half gallon. Yearly average = $10.38 per half gallon.
Now… about the farmers
Liz is the dairy farmer. She grew up in Palisade, graduated from CU Boulder in physiology, then worked for 5 years at Johnson’s Acres, a well-regarded raw milk dairy in Brighton (Adams County). After that farm was sold in January 2023, Liz started building her own herd and found a suitable property back in her home territory just West of Palisade. She loves cows and works with them every day. Jay, her husband, helps with the business and customer relationships,
Liz will milk her cows in a single stanchion shed starting in October, while she and Jay build the new 4-stanchion milking parlor, scheduled to be ready in the spring. A neighboring Mennonite farm produces the high quality hay that will be the major forage for Liz’s herd as she and Jay develop their own pastures in the coming years.
“The cows will be living outdoors on pasture year-round. We have shade for them in the summer and a lean-to to stay warm in the winter. When the pasture is more established, they will also get access to a nice standing brush for scritch-scratching. Drive by and you’ll probably see them just hanging out like happy cows do!”
Send an email ASAP with "Raw Milk" in the subject line (send to: firstname.lastname@example.org) to get on the list.
This is a first come, first served offer due to the limited quantity available. There is a weekly pickup requirement. During the winter months, you may be required to come to Longmont or Boulder some or most weeks. We will work with our Lafayette, Loveland and Fort Collins area members to arrange a closer pickup spot for weeks during the winter when there is no web order distribution. Please reach out as soon as possible so we can start on the logistics planning. Excited? You’re welcome!