By Emily Buehler, Weaver Street Market Website Coordinator
Last month on the Piedmont Farm Tour, we visited one of our favorite producers, Ran-Lew Dairy. Ran-Lew bottles unhomogenized milk from their small herd of cows, who spend their days on pasture. You have to shake the bottle to break up the layer of cream that separates on top… or just scoop off the cream to enjoy on your coffee!
Ran-Lew Dairy is located off Highway 87 near Saxapahaw. As we left our vehicle, the welcome crew of black and white terriers came out to meet us and lead us to the registration table. From there, we immediately came to a table sampling Ran-Lew milk and selling homemade ice cream. Yum!
We walked around the farm machinery and buildings. A handful of cows in the closest fields gnawed bales of hay and watched us pass. Farm volunteers let us pet cows and explained the old-fashioned milking parlor. Most of the herd was out in the fields–some clustered at the far end in the shade, perhaps trying to avoid the gaze of excited tourists.
The last time we’d visited, when Weaver Street Market first planned to carry Ran-Lew milk, the bottling room (set up in a refrigerated box truck) had been largely empty. Now it contained the pasteurizer and the apparatus for filling bottles, which is done by hand. Farmhand Taylor demonstrated the bottler using water. She told us that Ran-Lew bottles milk to fill orders from stores like Weaver Street. The farm currently has about 65 milking cows.
If you didn’t get to go on the Piedmont Farm Tour this year, you can still try Ran-Lew’s delicious, creamy milk. Look for it in all our stores.