Mills River Creamery
Contact: Bradley Johnston
Address: 4193 Haywood Road Mills River, NC, 28759
Email Address:
Phone: 828-891-4007
About Us
Mills River Creamery exclusively uses Jersey cows, whose ancestry links back to the British Isle of Jersey near the coast of Normandy, France. Known for their smaller size and friendly demeanor, Jersey Cows are best known for the quality of their milk. Naturally high in butter fat, Jersey Milk is rich, creamy, and makes amazing foods from butter and ice cream to cheese and yogurt. Jersey cows are one of the best milk producers of all of the breeds, making them a fantastic choice for our products.

Jersey History
All of our cows are ancestors of the original Jersey cows purchased by George Vanderbilt for his Dairy business at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Vanderbilt acquired his first Jerseys in 1889 from a reputable breeder in Vermont and from Rockwell Park Stock Farm in Rowan County, NC. Vanderbilt later imported Jerseys from the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel to grow his herd. Mills River Creamery’s cows are all descendants the cattle that Vanderbilt used to supply his home, and later the region, with milk and milk products.

A2 Milk
At Mills River Creamery you will frequently see and hear references to our milk and “A2”. Another important benefit Jersey cows bring to our milk is the A2 beta-casein protein. There are two types of beta-casein proteins – A1 and A2. Most breeds of modern or “hybrid” cows have the A1 beta-casein. A2 milk typically comes from ancient breed cows, cows who are ancestors of native breeds, or cows whose heritage is long running and have not been mixed genetically with foreign or other hybrid breeds. Our cows have been tested and all test positive for the A2 beta-casein. Even our calves are tested to ensure that they will produce A2 milk.

What’s so special about A2 milk? It’s all in the digestion! Both A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins start out as peptides but later take the form of amino-acids as they break down in the small intestine. There is a particular protein in milk called Beta-Casomorphin-7 (BCM 7) that cannot be digested by the human body, causing inflammation, indigestion and other gastronomical issues, some of which can mimic lactose intolerance. The amino-acid in A1 milk cannot break down BCM 7 through the digestion process, and it is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream. The amino-acids in A2 milk, called Protin, prevent BCM 7 from being absorbed into the blood. More importantly, cows with A2 milk do not produce BCM 7 in their milk, which means that the human body does not have to waste energy trying to break it down.

In short, A2 milk is higher quality milk and much easier for the body to digest!
While our main focus at the Dairy is milk and all of the products we make, there are many other things that go on at our Farm. From the health and well being of our herd to growing feed and maintaining our fields, there are a lot of tasks going on in the background that most people do not think about when they drink milk or eat ice cream.

Herd Wellness
As with all pets and livestock, there are a number of tasks that have to be performed throughout the year to insure that our herd remains healthy and hardy. From required vaccinations to quarterly visits from the farrier to make sure their hooves are in tip-top shape, we do everything we can to keep our cows safe, happy and healthy.

Raising Calves
Our herd grows each year with new babies that are born from Spring though late Summer. We have a special nursery section of the Dairy where calves are raised by hand until they are old enough to join the juveniles, and then the adults in the fields. Our cows are bred carefully to ensure that our new calves carry the A2 genome and will produce A2 milk when they are old enough.

Growing Feed Crops
Our cattle are mainly grass fed but we supplement their feed, particularly in the winter when grass is not readily available, with corn, grains and hay. All of the feed our Jerseys consume is planted, grown, and harvested by us in fields around Mills River. Starting in early Spring, we plow the fields in preparation for planting. After the plants start growing, we focus on keeping the fields watered and weed free, and at the end of the growing season, we harvest the feed and store it where we can access it easily when the weather gets bad. Keeping our cows fed is a year round job in itself!

General Maintenance
Naturally there are a lot of other tasks around the Farm that keep us busy year round. Multiple grazing fields means lots of mowing to keep the grass low. The area where the cows are milked must be cleaned twice daily. The calves must be fed and their living areas cleaned and lined with fresh bedding materials. All of the milking and bottling areas and machinery must be cleaned and sanitized at least once daily. Hay must be mowed and bailed throughout the summer. Needless to say, there is plenty to do around the Dairy on a daily basis!