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Family farm is making a name in the dairy business

Posted: June 8, 2014 - 12:12am
Layla Shue (left), 9, and Carissa Shue, 7, shake up a jar of fresh cream to make butter at the Mobile Dairy Classroom at the Evans Farmer's Market.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Layla Shue (left), 9, and Carissa Shue, 7, shake up a jar of fresh cream to make butter at the Mobile Dairy Classroom at the Evans Farmer's Market.

Although Southern Swiss Dairy in Waynesboro has only been in the milk-processing business for just over four years, the Frank family is making a big name for itself.

Visitors to the Evans Towne Farmers Market will know the Franks as the vendors who most recently brought their mobile dairy classroom to the market in recognition of National Dairy Month, which kicked off a week ago today.

“There are only three of us in the state,” said Ginny Frank. “There is one in North Georgia and one in Moultrie.”

The Franks don’t know exactly when they decided to expand their farming operation, but say the idea stemmed from the desire to keep the 20-year-old business in the family in light of a trying economic time. The family tinkered with the idea of making cheese and even considered selling the farm.

Though they knew their options were limited, they were determined. They looked at what other farmers in similar situations had done and even visited several producers. It was then that the idea of developing an on-farm bottling facility turned from idea to reality. During summer 2009, the Franks began building their processing facility, knowing that the registered Brown Swiss cow herd that they had developed over the past 25 years would be perfect for producing quality milk.

Following the building of the facility and the installation of equipment, the Franks set about producing their first batch of processed milk, which rolled out on Jan. 30, 2010.

Today, the Franks sell their milk, along with Greek yogurt, ice cream and butter at local farmers markets. They continue to sell beef products, including ground meat, cubed steak, chuck roast, steak and stew beef.

Southern Swiss Dairy said that they process and bottle their milk on the same day that the cows are milked, which means customers are getting the freshest milk possible. And, they pasteurize and non-homogenize their milk, which means that the cream still rises to the top.

Southern Swiss Dairy will continue to sell its products at the Evans Towne Farmers Market, which is every Thursday from 4:30-7 p.m. at the Columbia County Library Park, through June 19. After that, they will use the remaining summer months to attend conferences and do repairs on the farm. Southern Swiss Dairy products can still be purchased through Augusta Locally Grown or by contacting the Franks via email at southernswissdairy@yahoo.com.

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