Dairy Reinvented

Dinwiddie farm offers dairy, dinner, and more.

Photo by Laura Siegle Photography

A calf in the auto-feeder milk calf barn.

For the Joneses, Richlands Dairy and Creamery is a family affair that supports four generations. Located on 500 acres that straddle the Dinwiddie/Blackstone county line, the farm was settled as a homestead and has been in the family since the 1700s. Tobacco reigned supreme as the farm’s cash crop until the 1950s, when Ray Jones converted the property to a dairy farm and named it after Richlands, Virginia, where he had lived with his wife, Shirley, when they were newlyweds.

Photo by Laura Siegle Photography

The Creamery’s milk and cookies ice cream. 

For decades, the family—including son Hugh and daughter-in-law Tracey—sold milk to a cooperative that handled the pasteurization, distribution, and sales. While this system was mutually beneficial, the Jones family and other dairy farmers couldn’t negotiate milk prices, which eventually lead to the widespread folding or selling of small- and mid-sized dairies. Faced with the decision to sell, increase in size, or reinvent its business model, Richlands Dairy turned to the third generation—Ray’s grandchildren, TR and Coley—for help. In 2013, the family began agritourism events with a pumpkin patch and corn maze to educate the public about agriculture, farming, and dairy. Since then, TR’s wife, Brittany, has added Dairy Days and Third Friday tours during the summer, an annual fall festival, and school field trips.

Photo by Laura Siegle Photography

A selection of milk from the Dinwiddie farm.

The Creamery, launched in June 2019, was Coley’s brainchild. A separate business located steps away from the grazing cows, the Creamery purchases, pasteurizes, and bottles milk from the dairy for sale on the property and in restaurants and grocery stores, including the Little House Green Grocery in Richmond. Open to the public, with a viewing area for watching the pasteurization process, the Creamery also serves ice cream and milkshakes; offers lunch and dinner at The Kitchen Table cafe; and partners with other local farmers to offer peanuts, jam, granola, wool, candles, and even skincare products.   RichlandsDairyFarm.com 

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