Charlotte Smith didn't know what raw milk really was 9 years ago when a friend suggested she try it for her children who suffered from severe eczema. Her son had scabby and bleeding hands for 3 years and after 2 weeks of drinking raw milk, his hands were smooth and completely healed. She knew then she was on the right path.
6 Years ago she started her own dairy, Champoeg Creamery, after she realised that she could produce better raw milk than that available around her. Raw milk is not regulated in Oregon and state laws say they are allowed to milk only 3 cows or fewer and allowed to sell from the farm gate. With these restrictions, many similar raw milk micro-dairies have sprung up in the state to meet the consumer demand and new opportunities.
Unfortunately Charlotte have also seen many of these, vital to the community, raw milk dairies go out of business, as farmers lack the skills to market and sell milk as a sustainable business. Either they have a hard time getting the message out, or the milk is not priced right or the farmers work too hard for the amount of money they make. These are just a few reasons.
Charlotte saw how her knowledge and skills could help small farmers in her community produce raw milk for those who need it, like she and her family needed it 9 years ago.
She has branched out into business and consulting, advising and helping people build small, micro dairy businesses that are successful, sustainable and profitable. RawMilkPro.com offers classes/subscriptions and training videos to help producers operate a micro dairy. She also generously shares some of her knowledge and information for free via training articles, YouTube videos, blog posts and newsletters.
Champoeg Creamery was first to be listed with the Raw Milk Institute:
On 75 acres outside of St. Paul, Oregon, Charlotte Smith operates Champoeg Creamery, a small, raw milk dairy. The Jersey cows—chosen for their small size, mild temper, and for the rich, creamy milk they produce—stand knee deep in green pasture nine months of the year, and are moved daily to a fresh paddock. Charlotte is passionate about her calling. Her children suffered from eczema and numerous colds and ear infections before they started drinking raw milk. Since then, the whole family has been in excellent health. After losing her source for raw milk several years ago, Charlotte decided to research and begin her own pasture based dairy. The intense rotational grazing system she practices insures that she is producing the highest quality raw milk.
Each dairy listed with the Raw Milk Institute has to complete its hazards analysis, planning and testing, and pass a site visit from RAWMI, before it becomes a listed farmer. Each farm have a food safety plan and their monthly Standard Plate Count (SPC) and coliform counts (bacterial tests) are shown on RAWMI's website. This plan and its accompanying check lists will help the farmer to create the conditions that are optimum for clean, safe, delicious milk. Consumers are also able to check the Food Safety Plan, check lists and supporting documentation to see that the milk is pathogen free and has low bacterial counts.
For more information about how Champoeg Creamery become listed with the Raw Milk Institute, read or listen to this article: Raw Milk Producers Aim to Regulate Themselves. This article is about how raw milk producers came up with their own guidelines for testing and safety, to create accountability and transparency.
Charlotte was recently invited to speak at the annual Raw Milk Symposium 2015 in Anaheim, California and gave a dynamic, engaging and emotional talk about her family’s journey and their thriving, sustainable small farm. In the the video she shares that she helps people from all over the world, from countries like Sri Lanka and Australia when they encounter obstacles in their dairies. Click here to watch the Raw Milk Symposium 2015 video: Building, Managing, Marketing and Sustaining a Raw Milk Micro-Dairy