The Larson Farm
Larson Farm has over 300 acres of hay fields, pasture and woods, one mile south of the small village of Wells, Vermont. Larson Farm has been in business since June 1976 when we operated as a conventional dairy farm. Cynthia and Rich received production and milk quality awards, and were named Outstanding Young Farmers of the Year in 1985. The herd peaked at 150 milkers, but due to declining milk prices and shrinking profit margin, the conventional dairy operation was closed in 1993. The farm has since operated on a much smaller scale.
In 2007 the dairy was reactivated with four Jersey cows, selling ‘raw’ unpasteurized milk to friends and neighbors who appreciate the flavor and nutritional benefits of truly fresh milk. As demand for quality products increased, we added to the dairy herd and invested in soil improvement, became USDA-certified Organic, and are 100% Grass-Fed. Our farm store is open daily, offering raw milk and grass-fed beef, as well as our pasteurized creamery products. We now are part of a raw milk CSA, and our yogurts, gelato, butter, and pasteurized ‘cream-top’ milk is sold in area country stores and natural food markets.
Rich and Cynthia are fully dedicated to making our delicious and nutritious unpasteurized raw milk, which contains natural enzymes and is therefore easier to digest, available to our customers. Furthermore, we’ve bred our cows to produce milk with A2 beta caseins, further enhancing the digestibility.
Rich is from a long line of dairy farmers going back to Swedish immigrants. He and Cynthia are constantly researching truly sustainable farming methods. All life depends on the health of the soil, as healthy soils high in organic matter resist drought and produce plants with high levels of nutrition, just what our grazing Jersey cows need to stay healthy and produce nutrient-dense milk for our consumption or to be made in to Larson Farm yogurt, gelato, butter and cheese.
Our cows are 100% grass-fed. Cows are ruminants, and did not evolve to eat grain, which is the basis of the cow’s diet on large commercial dairy farms. At Larson Farm, the cows are on pasture from May 1st through early November, at which time they are fed a diet of dry hay or fermented hay (silage). They always have access to fresh water, salt, and a vitamin/mineral supplement, kelp and clay. The no-grain diet results in milk with a high level of CLAs and Omega-3 fatty acids, both beneficial to human nutrition.
The cows are milked twice a day and the milk cooled immediately to maintain freshness.
When our cows are on pasture, we utilize an intensive but very low-cost grazing system. The cows are given access to a small area (a paddock) where they stay for 3-6 hours. The paddocks are sized to allow the cows to eat the top half of the grass and clovers, which is the high-energy portion of the plant. The cows are then moved to a fresh paddock. Water is available at all times. What we are doing, on a very small scale, is to mimic what happened on our great plains when the American Bison herds roamed, eating, depositing their thank-you plops, and moving on to clean fresh grass. In so doing, the large herds did not degrade the soil, but rather built up deep rich soil that retained water, reduced erosion, and sequestered carbon. It is a wonderful and exciting dance! At Larson Farm, we are always seeking ways to work with nature, not against it.
A2A2 Beta Casein
The Jersey dairy cows at Larson Farm are all genetically tested to have A2A2 beta casein in their milk. We’ve included links to the following research papers, but in short, there is some evidence that indicates milk from cows with A2A2 beta casein is more easily digestible.
“Raw Milk’, meaning milk that has not been pasteurized (heat-treated), is milk just as it came from the cow. Raw milk has all the enzymes and natural good bacteria that nature intended to help babies digest the milk. Larson Farm is a Vermont-licensed “Tier II” raw milk dairy. Our dairy facility is inspected by the state twice a year, and the milk is tested at a federally-licensed laboratory twice a month. The results are posted in our sales room and a copy sent to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. “Raw milk” may be sold at the farm and may be delivered to customers at farmers’ markets.
The farm store is open from 7AM to 7PM every day.