Here are a few questions you may have about us.
What is a Herd Share? A herd share is a program where you buy into and become a partial owner of the dairy herd and are entitled to a portion of the dairy products produced. Cast Iron Farm does the daily work, management and boarding of the cows and you are entitled to pick up a share of the milk they produce. You can buy a half share or as many shares as your family requires.
What size is a share? We bottle our milk in ½ gallon glass jars with a plastic lid. For simplicity, a 1/2 share weekly equates to one 1/2 gallon jar of milk each week, a full share equates to two 1/2 gallon jars each week (1 gallon) etc. You may buy as many shares in half share increments as your family requires.
How do I pick up? You select which pick up day will convenient for you to pick up, Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Then, each week, on your day, you come out and collect your share of the milk from our farm store.
What are your store hours? Our milk pick up is self-serve. When we initiate an agreement, you will get a brief farm tour. After that, your milk will be put in the fridge each week. On your day, you may come any time that is convenient (8am to 8pm) to pick up your milk. You are welcome to say hi to your farmers and the cows.
Payment? You will get an invoice in your email once a month from us that will be your total for the month. You can pay online with a credit card, you can set up auto pay through our system or you can leave a check (made out to Cast Iron Farm) or pay in cash.
What is raw milk? Raw milk is milk as it comes out of the cow. It has not been heated or pasteurized with the intention of killing bacteria. Pasteurization came into general practice after some uninformed and unethical producers put out raw milk that was sickening and killing many in the 1800’s. Here at Cast Iron Farm, we have done a lot of training and research in clean milk practices and we follow strict protocol to ensure that your milk is safe and clean. That said, raw milk can have a chance of carrying very real, very harmful bacteria in it, (listeria, campylobacter, e-coli, salmonella, etc.)
Do you test your milk for safety? We send a sample to an independent lab at least once a month to check the bacteria counts in the milk. Our test results for the past many years are posted here for all to see. We are happy to answer any specific questions related to our test results and what they mean.
Do I pick up my milk on a holiday? We milk the cows every day of the week. If your pick up day falls on a holiday, the milk will be in our milk fridge on that day with your name on it for you pick-up and you of course can come whenever it is convenient for you within reason after the holiday. We are happy to accommodate you if you communicate your particular needs.
What is your jar policy? The herd share members collectively own the milk jars and you are entitled to the use of them when you buy into the herd. Please practice good jar etiquette. These jars circulate around our raw milk community. A jar you return this week will have another family’s milk in it next week. Please wash the jars after you have emptied them. The dishwasher is best. If you lack a dishwasher, please rinse them out well and allow them to dry before you put the lid on. Try to not forget your empty bottles at home. We realize that this happens occasionally, but please do not make a habit of it. If you break a jar or a lid, do not worry. If you break several, compensation is appreciated (the jars cost $3). Taking good care of the milk jars helps keep the herd share costs down.
How long will my milk last? Your milk should last 10 to 14 days in the fridge without spoiling. If it is going bad more quickly than 10 days this indicates a high bacteria count and you should let us know what you are experiencing. We will ALWAYS replace milk that did not meet your highest expectations and work to find the source of your specific problem.
Do you milk goats or sheep? We do not have goat or sheep milk for sale to the general public.
Will you deliver milk to me? We do not currently have any drop sites off the farm. We will let you know if this changes.
Can I recieve, butter, cream, colostrum? We do not process milk beyond chilling and bottling it for you. To safely process milk requires additional equipment and increases the possibility of bacteria. We are happy to teach you to skim cream, make cheese, churn butter, etc., but this is not a service we offer at this time.
Can I come learn how to farm from you? We have assisted many other farmers start their micro dairy ventures. We are happy to lend a hand and will happily give a tour and answer any questions. We do ask a $50 fee for this service to compensate for our time.
Thank You: We enjoy milking your cows very much, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide a micro dairy experience for our community. Thank you for supporting our farm and small farms in Oregon.