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A Vt dairy success story - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A Vt dairy success story

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NORTH FERRISBURGH, Vt. -

Kimball Brook Farm in North Ferrisburgh has 200 cows and produces about 3 million pounds of organic milk a year. The third generation of the DeVos family runs it now.

"My grandfather had grown up on a farm in Amsterdam and they milked about 20 cows by hand," J.D. DeVos said.

Times have changed a lot for the family, and now in a very big way. The DeVoses have just started up their own creamery. A way to have better control, they say, over what they get paid for their milk, by cutting out the middleman.

"We felt in 2008, 2009, when the whole economy crashed, they dropped our price significantly and made it really hard to survive. We felt like we did not want to be in their hands anymore. We wanted to hopefully partially control our destiny," Cheryl DeVos explained. "And this is how we are doing it."

The DeVoses are leasing space in the old Saputo plant in Hinesburg which has been brought back to life following a devastating fire in 2008. They share the space with another home grown company, Vermont Smoke and Cure.

The creamery will start out bottling about 400 gallons of organic milk and hopes to increase that to 2,500 gallons within a couple of months.

"We are going to do whole milk, 1 percent skim, a 1 percent chocolate, whole chocolate and we are going to do a cream line," J.D. said.

The milk will cost about $4 a half gallon. It will be sold  in local independent grocery stores to start. But outside of a 50 mile radius of Hinesburg, the creamery will use Black River Produce to distribute their milk.

J.D.'s 93-year-old grandfather recently toured the creamery.

"He is pretty excited. He thinks it is a neat extension of the farm," J.D. said.

It has taken the DeVoses four long years of planning and lining up funding through loans and private investors to make the creamery a reality.

"Looking back over the past 4 years I am not sure that J.D. and I would have gone through the whole process. It's nice to be ignorant about what is going to go on. But we are really happy that we are at that point where we can put milk on the shelves," Cheryl said.

There are currently six employees. The goal is to grow the business to be able to hire another 20 or 30. But that will all depend on consumer's demand for locally-bottled organic milk.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at 1 p.m. followed by an open house to welcome Vermont Smoke and Cure and Green Mountain Organic Creamery to Hinesburg.

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