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Orange County Dairy Survives by Cutting out Middleman

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HILLSBOROUGH — Among the saddest sights and sounds in North Carolina is watching yet another dairy farm go under... selling out. One family in Orange County feared the same fate. But the Nutter's found a way to keep their dairy in business.

Maple View Dairy Farm owner Roger Nutter says they weren't getting much money for their milk.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."The price fluctuates pretty bad from one time of year to another time of year and we decided if we could bottle our own milk, maybe we could sell our own milk, maybe we could set our own price and be able to make a living."

And so they did, by bottling their own milk. Farm manager Russ Seibert says there are only two farms in the state that bottle milk on the farm. The Nutter dairy is the only one to use glass bottles.

Roger Nutter says milk is made to be put in bottles.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."I mean everything tastes better when it's put into a bottle. You wouldn't drink wine that comes out of a plastic jug."

The venture required a major investment in used bottling equipment, in a new facility where milk is homogenized, pasteurized, bottled, capped and shipped out.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."We produce the milk here on the farm. And we only bottle milk that our cows produce."So far, Nutter says the risk was worth taking.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."We've started off with one truck and 11 stores... And now we've got two trucks and deliver now to about 60 outlets... We've had a lot of people calling up and telling us thank you for doing it... And how their kids would never drink milk before until they tried our milk. And it's really just a great feeling."The quality product starts with healthy animals on a rich vitamin and protein diet. Nutter says his milk has more milk solids and milk protein than your average milk.

It's better perhaps, because this is not an average farm... and not an average dairy farm family.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."We're not out to make a million dollars. We just want to make the farm profitable and be able to stay a farm for my generation and possibly the next generation."

The Maple View Dairy Farm is only one of several farms on the The North Carolina Farm Stewardship Farm Tour this weekend in Orange and Chatham Counties. The tours run from 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon both Saturday and Sunday. For more information... pick up a brochure at the Weaver Street Market in Chapel Hill.

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Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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