Find fresh milk, cheese and ice cream at these Northern Michigan dairy farms and stores. If you’re lucky, you can even meet the friendly cows and goats!
Shetler Family Dairy, Kalkaska
Open since 1979, this farm is rooted in family values. If you visit the property, you’re likely to run into the friendly owners, their children and their grandchildren all working and hanging around the farm. The farm delivers its milk in glass bottles to over 65 locations in Northern Michigan including Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate, Ric’s Family Center, Burritt’s Meat Market, Oryana and Olsen’s Food Store. Your kids can even drink their 8-ounce bottles with lunch at school!
Shetler Dairy has a saying: “Our cows aren’t on drugs, but they are on grass!” Unlike bigger dairy corporations, Shetler cows are treated well and without harmful hormones or chemicals, feeding on grass and wandering the farm’s 500-acre property. The only process that is done to the milk is low-temperature pasteurization. Compared to the more common method of high-temperature pasteurization, this process doesn’t kill off the good, natural properties found in dairy. The way Shetler treats their cows is one of the reasons they’re the only dairy farm left in the county.
The farm store in Kalaska is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Try one of their 20 different ice cream flavors including Grazin’ Grasshopper, Blueberry Delight and Chocolate Cow Pie. All the milk variations you desire can be bought in the store: fat free, whole, 2%, chocolate, heavy cream, buttermilk and even yogurt smoothies. They also sell butter, cheese, eggs, lean beef and pork. In the future, Shetler hopes to expand to homemade sour cream and cream cheese. Come out and bring the family to one of their farm days, July 29 and August 26, 2017, for hay rides, farm tours and lots more fun. Their cows are particularly friendly; they might even lick you if you get close!
Check out this video of Shetler Family Dairy!
Moomers, Traverse City
Moomers is well known for their world-renowned ice cream, but you probably didn’t realize how much care and effort this family-run farm puts into their cows. All 40 cows are feed fresh-cut oats, corn, hay and peas grown on Moomer’s 80-acre property. For the past 27 years, the cows have been milked twice a day, every day; there really is no vacation when it comes to dairy! Within two days of being processed, the milk product is on the shelf of local stores like Oleson’s Food Stores, Oryana and Tom’s Food Markets. Every week, 400–500 gallons of milk are produced and pasteurized in Moomers own creamery, allowing the farm to stand on its own without the help of the ice cream store.
While milk makes up a small percent of the business, ice cream remains the “breadwinner” of Moomer’s, comprising 95 percent of the company. With few dairy farms left, co-owner Jon Plummer says you have to be inventive. Over 160 different flavors are made at Moomers Homemade Ice Cream and all in small, delicious batches. Their popularity has featured the ice cream on national news outlets, such as Good Morning America, often with the signature Cherries Moobilee flavor which lets Traverse City’s cherries take center stage.
The name Moomers was given by proprietor Nancy Pummer, a 1st grade teacher, who used to call baby cows little “moomers.” The store sits right next to the farm allowing families to sit outside and view the cows and operating dairy farm. Farm and store tours are available weekly as are ice cream cakes and catering opportunities.
Cream Cup Dairy, Kaleva
Cream Cup Dairy is the only farm north of Lansing that will home deliver glass bottled milk right to your front door. They serve non-homogenized whole, 2% reduced fat, skim and chocolate milk along with heavy cream, half & half and fresh cheese curds. Besides home delivery, you can also find their products at Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm, Market Basket and The Crystal Lake Catering Company.
Michigan Farm Cheese Dairy, Fountain
While this store stands without its own farm, Michigan Farm Cheese Dairy is still able to produce world-class, Baltic-style farmer cheese. Committed to using natural, premium ingredients, the Andrulis family has been making cheese for decades, passing their traditions from generation to generation. Products include basil, garlic and onion, smoked and jalapeño cheeses. You can order online or visit the store to taste the work of a passionate family company.
In Northern Michigan, we are not limited to just cow products. Check out these outstanding goat farms and creameries too!
Idyll Farms, Northport
Resting on the edge of Lake Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula, Idyll Farms offers some of the finest goat cheese in Michigan. Grass-fed through rotational grazing, the goats are of the Alpine persuasion which is a breed known for its nutritious and sweet milk. There is no wait time from the production of fresh milk to fresh cheese because the farm requires no transportation. In fact, it takes only four days for Idyll to transform Michigan’s grasses into supremely fresh goat cheese. Idyll’s products are available all over Northern Michigan including Anderson’s Market, Symons General Store, 9 Bean Rows, Burritt’s Fresh Markets and The Cheese Lady. Some are even sold in New York and Chicago! The farm also offers tours perfect for a family and friends outing.
Read more about Idyll Farms in this story featured in Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
Kandyland Dairy, Scottville
The first and only Grade A-licensed goat creamery in Michigan, Kandyland Dairy started bringing quality goat products all along the coast of West Michigan in 2015. Kandy Potter began milking goats in Shelby, Michigan when she found out she was lactose intolerant, starting with just three rescue goats. Soon enough, friends and family started asking for milk, and the three goats expanded to a small herd. “Next thing I knew, I had more milk than I knew what to do with,” Potter says.
After winning the 2016 Momentum Business Plan Competition in Mason County with a grand prize of $50,000, Potter had the means to expand her business. “Momentum has been a life saver.” The prize allowed her to build her own creamery on Kandyland’s 45-acre property in Scottville, which now has over 160 goats. Milk, bottled yogurt and cheeses like feta and chèvre are produced on the farm with plans to include cow milk and cheese in the future. Kandyland products can be found at Ludington, Manistee, Frankfort, Hart and Muskegon farmers markets; Port City Organics; Up North Farm Market; Iron Works Cafe and Blu Moon Bistro. Kandy welcomes scheduled visits to her farm.