FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where is your farm?
Spring Mill Farm is on Spring Mill Road in Concord, VA.
Who makes the cheese?
HB Hunter makes all the cheese.
Are the goats grassfed? Do they receive grain?
The goats on both farms have access to pasture 24/7. They are fed a small amount of grain when they come in to milk. This serves a couple purposes. It helps keep the goats excited about coming in to milk and it also helps maintain good body condition. The majority of their diet is grass and hay.
Is the cheese organic?
No. It is very difficult to raise goats in a healthy and responsible manner and be organic in this region of the United States. Goats are very susceptible to internal parasites which thrive in warm and humid environments. In order to keep our goats healthy we have to use management practices that include periodically feed the goats de-wormers. We always follow milk withholding guidelines established by veterinarians to ensure that no residue from the de-wormer is present in the milk used to make cheese.
We do not use any growth hormones, nor do we feed any antibiotics. In the rare instance that we have a sick goat, we may use antibiotics under the direction of a veterinarian. In those rare cases, milk from that goat is dumped until it tests free of antibiotic residue.
Antibiotics are bad for the cheese making process. If there is antibiotic residue in the milk, there is a good chance that it will inhibit the good bacteria we add during the cheese making process and the milk will not turn into cheese. So, we have a vested interest in making sure we do not have any antibiotics in our milk.
Is your cheese pasteurized?
The Chevre, Camembert, and Crottin are made from pasteurized milk. The Feta and McLaurin are made from raw milk. Federal and state regulations require that raw milk cheeses be aged at least 60 days. The Chevre, Camembert, and Crottin are generally sold prior to 60 days.
I'm allergic to cow milk. Can I drink goat milk?
Goat milk contains only trace amounts of the protein in cow milk to which many people are allergic - alpha s-1 casein. If you are sensitive to this protein, goat milk may be well tolerated. It also has a predominance of short and medium chain fatty acids (vs. the long-chain fatty acids, predominant in cow milk). In addition, goat milk has 13% less lactose than cow milk. Some people who are allergic to cow milk tend not to be allergic to goat milk.
I'm sensitive to lactose. Does goat milk have lactose in it?
Yes. All natural mammalian milks, contain lactose (milk sugar). However, many people diagnosed as lactose intolerant are able to tolerate goat milk. It has been suggested that the reason for this lies in its superior digestibility. Quickly passing through the digestive tract, goat milk leaves less undigested residue behind in the colon to ferment and cause the unpleasant symptoms of lactose intolerance. Goat milk also has a natural buffering quality to it, making it an excellent choice for those with ulcers and/or sensitive or weak digestive systems.
May I visit/tour your farm? Do you sell cheese on your farm?
We prefer that you make an appointment to visit the farm. HB has a full-time off farm job in addition to making cheese. Danielle is a full time nursing student and we have two small children. We are always trying to figure out how to get more hours into the day and are generally on a tight schedule.
Do you ship cheese?
Yes. We can ship cheese in insulated boxes with ice packs. We generally use next day or second day delivery. Drop us an email if you’re interested in having cheese shipped.
Can I buy milk from you? Can I buy raw milk?
No. Our license with the state of Virginia only allows us to make cheese with our milk.
It is illegal in the state of Virginia to sell raw milk to anyone other than a person or entity who is licensed process the milk. In other words, no farm can sell raw milk for consumption as raw milk.
It is legal for a person to consume raw milk from their own animals. Under this premise, some farms are operating herd shares where the customer purchases a share of the animal or the herd and pays the farmer to board and care for their animals. In turn, they receive raw milk for their own consumption.
In the past we’ve offered a herd share program; however, as our cheese business has grown, we need all our milk for cheese making and have discontinued the herd share program.
The following local farms may offer a herd share programs:
- Our Father’s Farm – Gretna, VA (cow – several drop locations in Lynchburg area)
- Auburnlea Farm – Gladys, VA (cow)
- Covenant Farm – Goode, VA (goat)