Called “ahead of their time”, “old-fashioned”, “trend setters” and sometimes “just plain crazy”, George and Sally Shetler have been dairy farming sustainably since 1979 when they bought their farm in Kalkaska, MI. Originally one of a dozen dairy farms in the county, there are now only two.
George Shetler has been farming since he was 10 years old, and he and his wife Sally raised their five children on the farm.
The Shetler’s commitment to alternative, sustainable farming led to the land being organically certified from 1993 to 1997. Although all of these practices are still followed, they no longer pay to use these marketing words.
In 1990, the Shetlers began to practice a managed grazing system with their cows. This practice involves taking the cows to the food instead of the other way around. In 1995, the Shetlers faced a dilemma. Costs were rising while the price of milk was falling. They decided to take a new approach and began the process of bottling and distributing their own milk to local stores. In 2000, the bottling plant was complete and over the past decade the nostalgia inducing glass bottles are showing up in more and more store coolers. Additional items, such as hand-crafted, small batch premium ice cream, butter, iced tea and more are available in stores throughout northern Michigan and at the on-site store as well.