"What is a herd share program?
In herdshares, people buy shares of a milking animal or herd, and pay the farmer to care for the animals and milk them. As owners, the shareholders are entitled to the milk from their own animals. Shares are sold based on an expected milk volume. For our goat share program, one share entitles the owner to 1/2 gallon of milk per week. Owners can buy the number of shares they need to ensure the milk supply they want. We even offer half shares.
"Why participate in a herdshare program?
Well, other than getting delicious, nutritious, fresh raw goat's milk, you are helping to support small agriculture in your own community. You are promoting the ethical treatment of animals and sustainable, responsible farming and land management. Animals in industrial agriculture live very sad lives and those types of operations are extremely polluting to the environment. Here at A Better Way Farm & Goat Dairy, the animals have large, lush pastures to graze. They are rotated through pastures using a system that actually improves the soil. Here at A Better Way Farm & Goat Dairy, we believe that a happy goat is a healthy goat and happy goats make sweet, yummy milk! With every food dollar you spend, you are casting a vote for the type of food system, land management and animal care you want. Make your votes really count. Keep your food dollars in your local community when possible and help support local agriculture. With big ag subsidies, its impossible for small producers to compete with big ag... it's people like you that can place your vote that you prefer quality and responsibility over the artifically low price that comes from big ag products. Of course another benefit is that you don't get the unnatural processing that industrialized food goes through.
Here you can SEE how and where your milk is produced. You can see for yourself the conditions that the animals are raised in. It just takes one visit to the farm to see for yourself that these are happy animals. I am happy to give any prospective (or existing) shareholder a tour of the facilities, including the milk processing room. You will see that things are kept very sanitary and clean! :)
"Why choose A Better Way Farm & Goat Dairy?
We are a licensed dairy inspected and certified by the state of Virginia. We are held to strict sanitation and quality control standards. The health of our animals is also part of the inspection/certification process. Each animal's blood is pulled, by a vet, and tested for diseases that can be passed to humans through milk. Our raw milk is tested by the state periodically for bacteria and unallowed substances. Where ever you get your milk from, it is important to ask questions about health and testing standards! Our herd is certified Brucellosis free by the state of Viriginia and we retest for all diseases that can pass through milk regularly.
Our animals are healthy and happy! They have lots of room to roam and satisfy their curiosity. Quite simply, they live a very good life here on this farm!
Why choose goat milk over cow milk? Does it have a “goatie“ flavor?
Goat's milk vs. cow's milk. There are many advantages to goat milk! Goat's milk is more nutritious than cows milk, easier to digest, kinder to the Earth (cows are hard on the environment) and its naturally homonogized too! For more detailed information about these reasons and more, click here: http://www.mtcapra.com/benefits-of-goat-milk-vs-cow-milk
So does it have a “goatie“ flavor? We invite you to a taste test anytime! We raise Nigerian Dwarf goats which are specifically known for their non “goatie“ flavored milk! Their milk is sweet and delicious! Side by side, it tastes very similar to raw cow's milk, but maybe a touch sweeter and a bit creamier. I can't really speak for how other breeds of goats milk tastes as I've only tasted milk from my own animals! But I can attest to the taste of the milk my animals produce and it is DELICIOUS!
Is raw milk safe? What are the benefits of raw milk?
Of course this is something you should research and decide for yourself, but here are some facts:
Raw milk contains many components that kill pathogens and strengthen the immune system. These include lacto-peroxidase, lacto-ferrin, anti-microbial components of blood (leukocytes, B-macrophages, neutrophils, T-lymphocytes, immunoglobulins and antibodies), special carbohydrates (polysaccharides and oligosaccharides), special fats (medium chain fatty acids, phospholipids and spingolipids), complement enzymes, lysozyme, hormones, growth factors, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptide, beneficial bacteria, bifidus factor and B12-binding protein. These components are largely inactivated by the heat of pasteurization and ultrapasteurization.This five-fold protective system destroys pathogens in the milk, stimulates the Immune system, builds healthy gut wall, prevents absorption of pathogens and toxins in the gut and ensures assimilation of all the nutrients.So powerful is the anti-microbial system in raw milk that when large quantities of pathogens are added to raw milk, their numbers diminish over time and eventually disappear.
Raw milk that has been produced under sanitary and healthy conditions is a safe and healthy food. It is important that the animals are healthy and do not have any infections (such as mastitis). The animals should be eating food appropriate for them, which for goats is mostly grass, hay or silage, with only a small amount of grain, if any. The milk should be full-fat milk, as the important anti-microbial and health-supporting components are in the fat. The animals should be milked under sanitary conditions and the milk chilled down immediately.
Raw milk contains enzymes and encourages beneficial bacteria that contribute to easy digestion and ensure that all the vitamins and minerals are absorbed. Pasteurization warps and distorts the enzymes and other proteins in milk so that the body thinks they are foreign, and has to mount an immune response. This makes pasteurized milk very difficult to digest. In fact, the market for fluid milk has been declining at 1 percent per year for the past thirty years. Fewer and fewer people can digest processed milk.
For more information on the benefits of raw milk and links to studies about its safety, click here: www.realmilk.com
Are there drop off points in Charlottesville or other surrounding areas?
Part of our mission here is to be kind to the Earth and have a light footprint. It wouldn't make sense to have each shareholder drive out to the farm each week from all the surrounding areas. If you live in Charlottesville, or another surrounding area, don't let that deter you! We are approximately 35 minutes from downtown Charlottesville and while we do not do deliveries, what we do is help coordinate - within your own area - a type of carpool effort. For example, if four people from your immediate area are shareholders, each one of you will come pick up all four shareholder's milk once a month and then host the pickup at your home. A once a month 35 minute drive to have fresh, awesome milk weekly isn't such a bad deal! And the added benefit is that this way really does help build community! You will have a chance to meet and get to know likeminded people in your own community that share the commitement to supporting local small agriculture and the enjoyment of raw milk as you do!
Groups are ideally held in number of four, to keep things personal and not to overwhelm any particular host on thier host day. As new shareholders are added, a group may have six or even seven members before a new group can be formed and broken off. Of course, if members decide, they can choose to keep the group number high so they only have to do the drive/host day once every other month. This is all about working together and community involvement so you get to decide how you'd prefer it to work! We are happy to assist in the facilitation though! :)
How much does it cost?
To buy a single share, it costs $40. If you ever want to discontinue owning, we will buy your share back for the same price you purchased it at. There is a monthly cost to board and care for the herd and as a shareholder, you pay a share of that cost. The monthly cost per share is $40. One share entitles the owner to 1/2 gallon of milk per week. Owners can buy the number of shares they need to ensure the milk supply they want. We even offer half shares. When considering the price of owning, you have to consider it as more than just the price of milk. You are helping to support small agriculture in your own community. There are many benefits to participating in a herdshare! Click on this link to read more about the reasons: Why participate in a herdshare program?
When comparing the cost of a cow herd share to the cost of a goat herd share, you have to consider that goat's milk costs quite a bit more to produce than cow's milk because cows produce so much more. Goat's milk really is the superior milk but cost is the reason why cow's milk is the nation's top milk. A single cow can produce anywhere between 8-13 gallons of milk per day! WOW! Goats, depending on the breed can produce anywhere between a quart to close to a gallon a day for the very best milkers of full sized breeds. Here, with our Nigerian Dwarf goats, which are known for producing milk without a goatie flavor, we average about a quart a day from each of our milkers. When you start looking at the number of goats that have to be managed, fed, housed, and milked, you can start to understand why it costs more to produce their milk.
How do I get started and become a herdshare owner?
If you are interested in our herdshare program or if you have more questions, please contact us at:
We are conveniently located along Route 340 with easy access to and from I-64 and I-81.
We are 1/2 mile North of Eastside Speedway and 2 miles South of
We are between Charlottesville, Staunton and Harrisonburg.Click the GET DIRECTIONS link right below the map to get exact directions from your location.