Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of shelf life does your products have?


Since our products do not have preservatives in them and are low temperature pasteurized, they do not have as long of a shelf life as commercial milk. We put a 2 week sale by date from the date the milk is bottled. The butter has a 3 week sale by date from the date the butter is made. As long as these products are properly kept, the milk and butter will be fine for up to 4 days past the sale by date. Everything we produce must be kept refrigerated!




What is Pasteurization?


Pasteurization is the process of heating milk up to a certain temperature in order to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in milk. We heat our milk to the lowest legal temperature for the shortest amount of time the health department allows, this maintains more flavor and nutrients. It is illegal in the state of Virginia to sell unpasteurized or "raw" milk for human consumption. We pasteurize our products at the following temperatures for 30 minutes: Cream (165 degrees), Eggnog (155 degrees), Flavored milk (150 degrees), and Regular milk (145 degrees).




What is Homogenization?


Homogenization is the process of breaking down fat particles within milk to create an even distribution of fat. Our milk is non-homogenized because we want to leave the milk as close as possible to its natural state, so this allows the cream to separate to the top of the milk. Non-homogenized milk needs to be shaken or stirred very well before each use.




Do you add vitamins to your milk?


As regulated by the state of Virginia, any milk that is less than whole milk, has to have vitamins A and D added. Since vitamins are found in the cream, anytime the fat is taken off of milk the vitamins are also being taken out. We do not add vitamins to our whole milk or to our chocolate (which is made using whole milk). We do add vitamins to the 2% milk and skim milk per regulations.




What are the cows fed?


The cows are given daily access to plenty of grass pasture. We do supplement their diets with a mixture of corn, soybeans, hay, and grains grown on our farm.




Do you use hormones?


We do not give our animals any kind of growth hormones.




Do you use antibiotics?


Animals can get sick just like humans and we want our animals to be healthy and comfortable. We do use antibiotics only if an animal is sick. The milk that the cow gives is thrown away for 4 days after the last dose of medicine is given (or longer depending on the treatment). At Mt. Crawford Creamery, we strive for healthy and happy cows.




How many cows do you milk?


Depending on the season, we will milk anywhere between 65 to 80 cows.




Why does your milk come in plastic?


We understand the nostalgia of milk arriving to your home in glass bottles. But unfortunately in today's world glass bottles just aren't practical. Glass is very heavy to carry, breaks easily when dropped, and requires a lot of extra chemicals and hot water to maintain properly. The cost to buy and maintain glass bottles are passed on to you, the consumer. Plastic is lightweight, doesn't break easily, and is easy to recycle. Using plastic also allows us to keep the price of our milk more reasonable, because we believe that local, great quality milk should be available to every person, not just those with a more disposable income.




What kind of environmental practices do you employ?


We pride ourselves in taking care of the land, animals, and resources we have available to us. We practice crop rotation, strip cropping on steep hill, and we keep our animals out of North River, which runs along our farm. In the mid 1980s we recieved a conservation award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for our practices. We believe in conserving and caring for the land and environment for future generations to enjoy.




Is your milk organic?


No, our milk is not certified organic. Our milk is referred to as "natural" or a product that has had minimal processing and maintains no preservatives.Since our cows do receive medicine if they are sick, we cannot be considered organic.





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Photo Credit: Bessie Black Photography