GLASGOW — Doug Jones had been planning to launch a dairy operation catering to local sales for several months, but the opening of his family business just happened to come during a time when the availability of milk is on the minds of many people.
Located in Hiseville, Legacy Dairy began selling locally-produced milk last week. Phillips Family IGA in Hiseville is Legacy’s first customer, as Jones has fulfilled a dream that began seven years ago with the purchase of his uncle’s farm after he died.
The initial dairy efforts were more traditional, and Jones said the family realized they weren’t sustainable.
“We couldn’t milk enough cows to keep up with everything, and the price of milk went down,” he said Thursday.
So the family took a hiatus from the dairy business, but their interest renewed about two years ago with a different approach.
“The only way we felt like there was a way to save the farm was to start producing our own milk and putting our own name on it and selling it locally,” Jones said. “We wanted a local milk product form Barren County supporting local farmers.”
Jones visited a friend’s dairy farm in Alabama who helped convince him that a smaller operation was the way to go instead of milking 200 cows daily.
About 18 months ago, Terry Bunnell, president of The Peoples Bank, listened to the family’s story and believed their dream was worth the investment. From there, Legacy Dairy had to be approved to sell milk for market.
After all the effort and after checking every line for the paperwork, the farm was approved for sales. Just as the Jones family began processing for market sales, the coronavirus pandemic reached Kentucky and grocery stores were overrun with customers buying milk.
“We got approved to start selling our milk and this scare comes along,” Jones said.
Legacy Dairy isn’t open for on-site purchases, but their milk can be bought at Phillips Family IGA. Trevor Phillips said Thursday having the local dairy producer available has helped the grocery keep milk in-stock during the past week’s rush.
“We’re thankful to have a local dairy that has been able to supply us with fresh, whole milk,” Phillips said.
Local and family-owned aren’t just marketing words, they mean something to Jones. Without the urging of his daughter, Ally, Jones said he would have likely given up on dairy farming.
His wife, Genelle, is a kindergarten teacher at Highland Elementary School. She already helped with the operation, but with her out of school due to the coronavirus, Jones said she’s played an even bigger role in the processing part of the business.
Then there’s the “muscle man” of Legacy Dairy, Jones’ 16-year-old son, Jagger. Jones said he’s also been a major component of launching the business.
Legacy Dairy isn’t a huge processing outfit. Ten cows are milked by hand to produce about 60 gallons of milk a day. There are no days off — dairy farming is a seven-day-a-week operation.
But Jones said the effort is worth it. The milk produced isn’t the “99 cents per gallon” type that some people are used to buying at a grocery store.
“It’s a rich and thick milk and it’s only available in whole version,” he said.
The milk is pasteurized, not homogenized. It still has cream so people can make their own butters, cheese or yogurt with the milk.
Legacy Dairy milk will hopefully be available at farmers markets this year, and Jones said they are in talks with other area grocery stores about selling the product.
Search for Legacy Dairy on Facebook to learn more.