Raw Milk at James Ranch
Our Philosophy on Raw Fluid Milk
The primary focus of the dairy on the James Ranch is to provide the cheese making business a supply of the most gorgeous, clean, healthy milk possible. In the process of doing so, the families on the James Ranch were partaking in the same raw milk to nourish their families.
Well, word got out and we were inundated with requests by the general public about the same time Colorado legislation was passed to allow herd share programs. We were delighted to fill this food void for our community. Our herd has grown since then and while our focus continues to be the creation of wonderful raw milk cheeses, we allow the public the opportunity to own a portion of our herd and thereby gain access to raw milk.
A spirited debate exists over whether raw milk should be made available to the general public or not. Raw milk advocates have an uphill battle to shatter paradigms that remain from a time when little was known about microbiology and modern refrigeration did not exist. We believe it will come down to a person’s right to choose what food to put into their own bodies. We make a point to keep informed on and involved in the issues related to raw milk. We encourage you to do the same.
While all of this is going on, we continue to do what feels right to us. That is to raise cows the way nature intended eating grass and hay, while allowing them to calve with nature (seasonally). We milk our cows in a low stress environment and treat their milk with the utmost care and respect.
Your job is to research both sides of the equation (some links are provided below). There are those who will refer to raw milk as the elixir of life and others who will claim drinking it is like playing Russian roulette with your health. We encourage you to become well-informed about raw milk. Talk to some current James Ranch herd share members. Please ask as many questions of us as you like. We want all of our members to be comfortable and confident with their decision to consume raw fluid milk.
How a Herd Share Program Works
To make it legal for you to obtain raw milk in the state of Colorado you must become an owner in our herd.
Herd Share Documents in PDF format (click on title to load in a new page):
This entitles you to a percentage of the fluid production. A share in the herd costs $50. An owner can choose to sell his/her share back to the James Ranch, thus opting out of the program, at any time. One share entitles you to one gallon of milk per week for the season (mid April – mid Nov.) Milk pick up is at the ranch. You pay us a boarding fee to care for and milk your portion of the herd. This fee is $40 per month. Here is the breakdown to get going:
Herd Share Purchase: $50 per share (one-time fee – refundable)
Jar Deposit: $8 per share (this is $4 per jar)
Boarding Fee: $40 per mo. per share (due on the first of each month)
$98 per share to get going
You will receive an invoice with your first pick up, then monthly thereafter. You may pay for the season in full, if you like. Let us know if you would like this option and your first (and only) invoice will reflect this.
Please email us at
or call 970-385-9143 if you are interested in purchasing a share.
About the Milk
The milk you receive through our herd share program is very high quality. We are one of only a small number of dairies in the United States that feed our cows 100% grass (their natural food!). This means that they are rotated onto fresh, green pastures after every milking and fed hay in the winter. To learn more about why grass-only agriculture is such a good thing, we invite you to visit www.eatwild.com
We milk our Jersey and Jersey-cross cows in a New Zealand style, Grade A, Colorado State inspected dairy barn. Our milking area is open on three sides. We can do this because we are a seasonal operation (only milking during the “green season” April-November). It makes the dairy barn a pleasant place for both cows and humans. We keep our milking facility impeccably clean as you will see every time you pick up your milk.
Through participating in our herd share program, you will have the opportunity to enjoy fresh, raw, locally-produced milk. This milk is not pasteurized and therefore retains all of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes some of which are destroyed in the pasteurization process.
This milk is also not homogenized which means the milk is in its natural state and is therefore more digestible. Your milk will be waiting for you in wide-mouth half gallon glass jars from which it is easy to skim the cream if you so choose. Remember, cream = butter, ice cream, sour cream, clotted cream, crème fresh, Yum! We can guide you through the process for any and all of these amazing products, just view our ideas on what to do with your cream…
We are a member of the Raw Milk Association of Colorado and, per their standards, test our milk regularly.
While we make a point not to tout the health benefits of our milk, we encourage you to visit the below websites to further your research in deciding if raw milk is right for you.