Evergreen Farms – Utterly Fresh!

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Got milk? Evergreen Farms does for now, but probably not for much longer. On their rolling 400+ acre farm, Jan and Walt Haybert specialize in producing raw milk from a herd of Guernsey and Jersey cows that are primarily grass fed, receive no hormones or antibiotics. But the cows are such high quantity producers that they do have to be fed grain, a combination of beet pulp and corn, at milking time. Then they spend the rest of their days grazing on lush grass and legume pastures on the rolling hills of Evergreen Farms on Hwy. 125 near Middleton, TN. The luxurious farm was scheduled for Auction May 26, but it hasn’t sold yet.

The Hayberts moved to this farm 17 years ago from Germantown, TN. They got into the milk producing business in July 2009 after the TN State Legislature passed the “cowshare” law. The Tennessee “Cowshare” bill legalizing cow shares, signed into law May 21, simply states that nothing in the law “shall be construed as prohibiting the independent or partial owner of any hoofed mammal from using the milk from such animal for the owner’s personal consumption or other use.” The House sponsor of the bill was Frank Nicely (R-Knoxville, District 17); the Senate sponsor was Mike Faulk (R-Kingsport, District 4). The Brentwood Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF: http://www.westonaprice.org/ ) and Tennesseans for Raw Milk (www.tennesseansforrawmilk.com) were major supporters of the bill.

However, the production of raw milk for human consumption in Tennessee remains problematic with many myths and misperceptions abounding about raw milk. The Hayberts and other milk producers across the state say they have faced “difficulties,” put mildly, with officials from USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) and the TN Dept. of Agriculture. Some have called it harassment. The Hayberts were told to build a retention pond to hold 1 million gallons of wastewater, when the farm only uses about 50 gallons a day.

Evergreen also tried to establish pasteurized milk production alongside their raw milk products. The officials specified that they would have to “write up a program telling step by step how they would clean up a raw milk spill. Any tools used to clean it up, such as a mop, would have to be strictly dedicated to use with raw milk. Then the USDA sent a pesticide inspector from the TN Agriculture Dept. to the farm. Because of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, they would be required to register their product, i.e., raw milk, with the FDA as a hazardous substance,” Jan said. “But we were in compliance with all requirements to pasteurize milk. In fact, we went above and beyond the requirements, but it didn’t seem to matter.

The Hayberts had 28 cows, but are now down to 14. The cows come in twice daily for milking. Raw milk comes directly from the cow under sanitary milking conditions at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “We pump it into the bulk tank and it is cooled to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Then we put it in glass bottles, half gallons or quarts.” They have whole milk, skim milk, half and half, buttermilk, and butter. “We also have Kefir, a fermented milk beverage that many people mix with fruit and drink as a smoothie,” Jan said. “It has 96 probiotics,” making it a very nutritious beverage.

Evergreen Farm also has free range chickens, Moyer’s chicks, that produce a bountiful supply of brown eggs daily. They have two Berkshire sows, one named “Miss Sally,” and one boar. There used to be several Tennessee Walking Horses on the farm. “Now we have two and one draft mule. They’re pure pets; we don’t ride anymore,” Jan said.
Evergreen Farms still has quite a number of customers to whom they deliver fresh milk, butter, and eggs every Wednesday. Jan also delivers whole grains in 50# bags. She says that it is better to grind grain into flour just before baking. “After one week, all health benefits of grain are lost. So grind the grain just before you make anything with the flour.”

For more information about Evergreen Farms, visit their website at: http://www.utterlyfresh.com/
Sources of info:
Article in Edible Memphis magazine, fall 09: http://www.ediblecommunities.com/memphis/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=261:tennessee-gone-raw&catid=57:fall-09-issue&Itemid=90

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