We primarily source the dairy in our storefront through Hatcher Family Dairy. With roots stretching back to 1831, the Hatchers are the fifth generation farming the same land in College Grove, Tennessee. With close relationships to their cows that’s difficult to maintain in large-scale dairy operations, they provide quality milk. The Hatchers take great pride dairy farming and working the land in the same places where their ancestors walked.
A Hatcher is involved in every aspect of the operation from feeding the cows, to milking the cows, to processing the milk, to transporting the milk, to the marketing of the milk and to managing the store. If you purchase milk on the day we process, you could be drinking milk from one of our cows milked that very morning. We call that “farm fresh”. – Hatcher Family Dairy
Pic Right- Jacqueline Price Hatcher, Matriarch of Hatcher Family
The color of the milk fluctuates throughout the year and reflects the seasonal diet of the cows, especially the cycle of grass and other vegetation. Right now, the cream in the milk is a rich yellow and is keratin rich, indicative of the tall, late summer grasses in their high quality pasture. Their milk is not homogenized, the mechanical process used to disrupt and disperse fat globules to prevent cream separation. As a result, there is substantial cream that rises to the top of every jug of whole milk, what is known as cream line milk.
The flavor is unlike most pasteurized dairy. The Hatchers pasteurize using a system referred to as continuous flow. Instead of holding large batches of milk at high heat and then cooling it, they pass the milk through lines that heat the milk only for 15 seconds and then quick cool it. This eliminates disease causing microbes while retaining the taste and nature of milk.
We depend on Hatcher Cream Top Whole Milk to keep our milk kefir cultures healthy. We make coconut kefir using milk kefir culture, traditionally used in the Caucasus Mountains to ferment dairy. In place of milk, what is used to make milk kefir, we ferment coconut milk instead.
These milk kefir cultures cannot thrive on coconut milk alone. They need to be fed dairy regularly to nourish their bacterial and fungal cells. When we do this, we make a batch of milk kefir. When we feed the cultures this cream line milk, there is so much cream it balls and forms small clumps of cultured butter. If you are interested in purchasing milk kefir through Short Mountain Cultures, let us know and we can set some aside for you.
At the Franklin Farmers Market on Saturdays, you can also purchase butter and gelato from the Hatcher Family Dairy booth. Our booth at that market is nearby. A full list of Hatcher dairy products and locations that stock them is available on their website. In addition to whole milk, we often have half & half, heavy cream, and chocolate milk available in our Woodbury shop.