Posted: Tuesday, July 1st 2014 at 2:41pm
N. Hall dairy grows tourism aspect of farm business
By Marc Eggers Staff
CLERMONT – The 10-foot tall fiberglass cow, the miniature silo, the red barn, the jumbo red and black table umbrellas; traffic always slows as curious motorists on Highway 129 approach the entrance to Mountain Fresh Creamery near Clermont.
And apparently so many of the inquisitive have slowed over the past three years and turned into the parking lot that the owners, Scott and Jennifer Glover, have decided to acquire additional cows (real ones!) and build a larger milking barn all while making that new facility a convenient tourist destination as well.
Agri-tourism is a growing sector in the farming business. “I think now for smaller farmers that are looking to stay profitable and stay in business, they can add more value to their product by taking it straight to the consumer,” Scott Glover said.
Glover believes that agri-tourism is a win-win situation. “It’s good for everybody. It gives the consumers a chance to get out and actually see where their products are coming from, and to talk to farmers about their practices and what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”
Glover admits to doing for a living what he loves doing. “I’m a fourth-generation dairy farmer. We’ve (wife, Jennifer) been dairying on our own now for fourteen years. I love it. I knew early on that this is what I wanted to do.”
In 2011 the Glovers opened the store on Cleveland Highway because Scott felt that their extensive efforts at keeping 85-cows comfortable, contented and producing superior milk, wasn’t paying off. His milk was sold to a cooperative and mixed with that from other dairies.
“That was the whole reason we started Mountain Fresh Creamery,” Glover explained. “We really take a lot of pride in how we treat our cows and we were not getting financially compensated for the higher-quality product that we were producing.”
“So we just got to thinking, ‘Let’s put it in a jug and sell it right here!’.”
Through the viewing window workers were filling jugs with milk collected that morning, low-temperature pasteurized and now ready for sale. Some of the milk is saved and used for the production of butter and ice cream.
Glover currently employs sixteen but plans to add another four to five positions once the new dairy is operational.
That new venture will be located about a mile to the south at 5909 Bowen Bridger Road on nearly 100-acres. The additional space will allow the Glovers to increase their herd from 85 to as much as 250 head.
It will also allow for a viewing barn to be built, allowing visitors to watch the daily milking operation as well as the extended measures used by the Glovers to keep each cow comfortable and contented.
“They’ll be moving into a lot better place,” Glover explained. He detailed how each cow will have a place to seek shelter during extreme weather and that a “state-of-the-art fan-and-misting-system” will keep the females cool during the hot summer months.
“We ought to be able to do an even better job of keeping them happy,” he added with a chuckle.
“We’ll also have a walking tour where people will be able to see the baby calves, and go through the process from birth to that cow coming actually online and producing milk for sale.”
And that’s good for everybody, Glover emphasized again. “Fifty years ago one farmer was feeding 25-people; twenty years from now one farmer is going to be feeding 250, and on less land.”
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