Kootenay Meadows Farm, formerly Kootenay Alpine Cheese, is a multi-generational, certified organic, grass-based farm located in Creston, BC. Wayne and Denise Harris steward this farm along with their three adult children, Erin, Foster and Nadine, who are also involved in areas of the operation. A truly powerful example of the potential for sustainable local agriculture, Kootenay Meadows produces a line of high quality organic products with an unwavering commitment to their animals and their land.
Kootenay Meadows supplies the Co-op with fluid dairy products in glass bottles, as well as cheese, and organic beef. Their newest product is organic butter, and the Co-op was thrilled to buy up their entire limited supply for our members!
The Kootenay Meadow milk processing facility is very impressive, not only in size and scale, but also in ingenuity and effort. The milking bottling equipment was acquired from a New Brunswick prison and the bottle washers were purchased via the internet!
The Harris family has jumped many hurdles to get to this point and their dedication has paid off. The milk arrives from the milking parlour through gravity fed pipes. It is then minimally pasteurised and homogenised, and passed though tanks that are used to separate the milk to the desired fat levels. All in all, they produce an extremely high quality product with great flavour and around 18 days of shelf life. Major processors will get more shelf life through higher pasteurisation temperatures, which also kills the flavour. You can definitely taste the difference!
The cheese making process is equally fascinating. For example, the Alpindon cheese is only made in the summer when the cows are on fresh pasture because this milk endows the cheese with a sweeter, more complex flavour. We saw cheese on racks, some of it turned daily to ensure it is developing properly.
The butter, Kootenay Meadows most recent addition, is similarly artisanal. Churned fresh, on-farm, in small batches the butter is made exclusively with Kootenay Meadows heavy cream and small amount of sea salt (in the salted variety only).
Kootenay Meadows Farm follows a unique ‘closed-loop’, holistic farming process. The farm raises all of its own feed and all of its own animals, and endeavors to sustainably cycle nutrients and waste within their farm system. Every Kootenay Meadows product can be traced all the way back to the carefully managed soils of this single farm.
Bringing us Kootenay Meadows products is also very labour intensive endeavor. The cows are milked at 4am and 3pm every day and the amount of work that goes on would frighten off all but the most dedicated! We so admire the determination and will of the Harris family to provide such wonderful products to us in the very best way possible.
Watch a great video made about Kootenay Meadows here:
And there is another video documenting their cheese-making here.