Twin Brook Creamery Puts Milk Back in the Bottle
"we know we can count on good advice from NABC."
-Larry Stap


As if running a 250-cow dairy herd to produce milk for the Darigold facility in Lynden didn’t get them up early enough in the day, Lynden area farmers Larry and Debbie Stap and daughter Michelle and her husband Mark Tolsma decided to take on the challenge of bottling their own milk and marketing a custom dairy product to retailers and consumers.

NABC coached the Staps in developing a marketing plan and introduced them to key individuals in the retail grocery trade. With NABC’s help, Twin Brook Creamery was able to evaluate packaging options, navigate licensing and permitting hurdles, examine pricing, establish a web site, and conceptualize a strong new brand for the farm’s cream top milk product.

Earlier this year, Twin Brook began production, using eight of their premium Jersey cows. As production has increased more cows have been added to the initial herd. Twin Brook’s product is processed in their new on-farm facility before bottling for delivery to area retailers. In addition to several smaller Whatcom county groceries, the product is carried by Haggen Food and Pharmacy and Community Food Co-op.

In the case of Twin Brook Creamery, the value-added product development process resulted in a distinctive, separately branded, pasteurized milk. The milk isn’t homogenized, resulting in a cream-on-the-top product. Twin Brook chose a glass bottle for their delicious fresh milk to reinforce the quality, retro brand image. This creamier milk is safe to drink because it has gone through low-temperature pasteurization, but its natural flavor and cream are intact — ready for the consumer to enjoy.

Best of all , the new product has utilized existing resources. It didn’t require the Staps to add more cows or acquire more property to hold a larger herd, thus reducing their risk.

“We enjoy running Twin Brook Creamery, and the reaction from consumers across the county has been very favorable”, stated Larry Stap. “We look forward to considering other value-products once this new milk product is firmly established. Whatever direction we take, we know we can count on good advice from NABC.”

[NOTE: Northwest Agriculture Business Center staff and board conform to a rigorous set of confidentiality procedures to protect the business interests of client farmers. For this issue, Larry Stap and his family agreed to let us tell the story of their premium milk product.]