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Jersey milk foundation of Duchess Dairy in Virginia
By JANE W. GRAHAM
RURAL RETREAT, Va. (Aug. 16, 2016) — The milk produced by two purebred registered Jersey herds is the foundation for Duchess Dairy Products, a small commercial dairy processing plant owned by two local families.
The owners are Huffard Dairy with brothers John and James “Jim” Huffard and Slemp Creek Dairy owned by Danny Slemp and his nephew Joey Blankenship located in nearby Sugar Grove.
The Huffard brothers are third generation dairymen and are being joined by the fourth generation, Jim’s son Trey, 24.
“The milk that is used to make our high-quality product travels less than five miles from the farm to the plant,” the processor says on its website. “We understand that consumers are more concerned than ever about the origin, quality and safety of their food supply. We know that you want to know where and how milk is produced and where our cows spent the afternoon. In our case, you can drive by the dairy and see the cows on pasture and know that the milk produced by them today will be on the store shelves tomorrow.”
Jim Huffard said promoting the nutritional qualities of the all Jersey milk is just as key as it being locally produced.
According to the American Jersey Cattle Association, compared to the average glass of milk, Jersey milk contains 15 to 20 percent more protein, 15 to 18 percent more calcium and 10 to 12 percent more phosphorus, along with high amounts of vitamin B12.
While the dairy farms go back generations, Duchess Dairy is a relatively new operation. It was founded by the two families who raise registered Jerseys in 2010.
The dairy supplies high quality milk to retail customers in an 80-mile radius of its Wythe County location, Huffard said.
It offers several different kinds of bottled milk.
They include whole milk, two percent milk and some pints of chocolate, strawberry and mocha latte, Huffard reported.
They also make four flavors of liquid yogurt, the kind of yogurt found in overseas, he explained.
Huffard said that currently all the milk processed at the plant comes from his family’s dairy.
He said it does not use all the milk produced on that dairy or at this time any from the Slemp farm. That farm is a back-up if needed, he said.
The name of the business comes from two sources.
Jim Huffard said his dad referred to his wife as “my duchess” and they view their Jersey cows as royalty on the farm.
Their products have the “Queen of Quality” label, a registered trademark that features the picture of a Jersey cow with a crown above her.
The Huffard Jerseys are known nationally and internationally for their quality.
Hufford said that one of their bulls was number one on a young sire list for about 10 months. The bulls are sold to AI studs which market their semen around the world.
Huffard said he visited 12 dairy farms in South Africa one year and found daughters of his bulls on 11 of them.