Southern Swiss Dairy, Burke County

I was born at the tail-end of the era of home milk delivery and therefore, had never tasted “fresh” milk. After reading an article by Damon Lee Fowler about Southern Swiss Dairy, I decided it was time to try it for myself.

I liked what I read about Jimmy and Ginny Franks, who during the economic downturn of the late 2000s decided to transform their cattle operation into a commercial dairy that would focus on non-homogenized low-pasteurized milk, with no use of growth hormones. They also sell butter, ice cream, beef, and fresh eggs. Southern Swiss Dairy has been in business since 2010.

They source their milk from these wonderful Brown Swiss cows, which are among the top milk-producing breeds. Besides productivity, the Brown Swiss are just happier cows than most. They’re friendly, even.

Southern Swiss Dairy wasn’t the easiest place to find, and though they sell most of their product in retail locations, I wanted to see the cows myself. I could tell that Ginny Franks was busy when we pulled up to the dairy office but she was very welcoming. This isn’t one of those “tourist farms” that source their products from all over the place and call it local, but a place where what you see is what you get. And there are a lot of those “tourist farms” around the state.

We bought some whole and chocolate milk and some fresh butter and I’m impressed with the taste, which is slightly different than what I’m used to. But more importantly, I have a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into making milk. The dairying life is a hard one and at Southern Swiss Dairy, it’s obvious that it’s a labor of love.

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