Founded in 2009 by Jill and Richard Smith, Pure Eire is a family-owned and operated dairy in Othello, WA.
The Smith Family proudly purports--and we happily verified--that they are the 1st dairy to be awarded both 100% Certified Grassfed by A Greener World, as well as being awarded Animal Welfare Approved.
Organic certification is a nice qualifier for many consumers, but the Smith family recognizes that the national organic qualifications don't actually speak to the degree of care and natural process that their exceptionally happy cows live with every day of their lives!
The director of the AGW had this to say about the Smith Family, "We’re honored to help distinguish farmers like Jill and Richard Smith at Pure Éire Dairy as leaders in the industry." And here at MilkRun, we want to shout that same message from the rooftops!
At the core of their philosophy in animal husbandry and nutrition, (for their heard, as well as the humans who would drink their milk,) is the notion that the natural systems that we can work in harmony with are the things we should be paying attention to.
In the case of raising Jersey cattle for their milk, that means cows eating grass. Rolling fields of grass. And not as a marketing tactic; as the natural state of these beautiful animals thriving.
The industrial model is one where the volume of milk produced is paramount. But while the industry races towards peak milk production, the nuance as well as the not-so-nuance, gets lost.
So, it is a breath of fresh air to witness farmers succeeding, as well as modeling good behavior, and it's worth noting that their business is profiting and they have a huge fan base that has committed to supporting the way they put the livelihood of their herd first!
It all feels obvious when we talk about the way that they do things, because… it makes sense. Things like:
- leaving calves with their mothers.
- the size of their herd is determined by how much land it will take for the cattle to graze; as opposed to overcrowding and importing food, they grow all the feed for their herd on the property.
All of the things they do--which all make sense--are also the things that make them stand out among so many other dairy producers.
That said, The Smiths caution against creating a perceived divide between them and the other small farmers in the area, and it's an honorable perspective: Fundamentally, if we were allowed to believe that Pure Eire's practices prove how much more they care than other farmers, we'd be misleading ourselves... The reality is, most small dairies are run by people who do love their animals, and a lot of the ranchers and cattle farmers out there only "fall short" of some pastoral "idealism" due to other agricultural business-related challenges, combined with romantic agrarian storytelling, that may or may not actually be based in fact or reality.
From where we stand, it is clear that the work they are doing is that of true stewards and teachers: They lead by example, raise the bar for the industry, and provide transparency so that we might all learn more and do better together. As milk drinkers and dairy farmers alike.