Humility is the first thing that comes to mind when we think about Todd Fliehmann. Todd runs Swallow Hill Jersey Dairy and last week he walked us through his farm and introduced us to the cows that make the milk for our retail shops.
Todd started milking cows in high school and immediately began putting more thought into better ways to do it. His grandfather and father milked Holsteins but Todd worked his way into Jersey cows after some analysis on taste and efficiency of the cow. His process starts before most of us even thinking about being awake and continues until late in the evening keeping his cows on a happy, regular schedule. Evidently, his cows are on such a tight schedule that even daylight savings time throws them for a loop. The cows on Todd’s land seem to have as much grazing area as they could want and are smart enough to even start lining up when it’s dinner time.
Swallow Hill is almost completely vertically integrated allowing most of the food the cows consume to be grown and harvested from the farm itself. This admittedly keeps the number of cows on the farm capped at a certain number but provides a platform for higher quality from the cows, allows for consistency in feed, keeps feed pricing volatility out of the equation and makes for a manageable work load for Todd. The transparency of the farm blew us away when we could see a list of the exact cows that were milked for our milk delivery earlier in the week as well as the milk fat percentage analyzed to the 0.1 percent. Being able to get our milk within thirty six hours of the cows being milked and actually seeing the production information for each cow involved was truly special for our retail development team.
From the honor system milk purchasing shed at the entrance of the farm to the precisely monitored pasteurization system, Swallow Hill exudes a sense of purpose and authenticity and perfectly aligns with our quality oriented approach to sourcing raw ingredients. Most will never get to see the daily work of Swallow Hill Jersey Diary, but we hope that when you step into our shops and purchase a milk based drink you’ll be able to taste the attention to detail and care in the process. If you do get to visit the farm, we hope you get “mom’s chocolate chip cookies” like we did.