MOUNT VERNON — Although consumers won’t find labels on dairy items that say “Made in Knox County,” they can have peace of mind knowing that local dairy producers sell their product to companies that produce goods sold in the county.
While consumers do not have the option of buying directly from a local producer, they can purchase products indirectly from area farmers. Numerous health regulations prohibit farmers from being able to sell their products on location. Dairy farmers must take their product to a certified processor to assure adequate safety measures are met before the products are sold to consumers. Dairy processors are not found in the immediate area, so farmers must choose to sell their product to a processor in one of the outlying areas of Mount Vernon.
Howard Straub operates an organic dairy farm near Fredericktown. Due to the specialized product from his organic operation, his milk goes to a processor in Indianapolis. Prior to him going all organic, he sold much of his product to Smith Dairy in Orrville. “They’re very good. They’re privately owned,” said Straub, adding that a number of dairy farmers take their milk to Smith Dairy.
One local farmer who does sell milk to Smith Dairy is Bruce Robinson who milks 38 cows daily on his farm near Fredericktown. “They’re a really good processor to sell to,” said Bruce’s wife, Vonda Robinson, in explaining how Bruce took over the longtime family business.
Selling milk to Guggisberg Cheese in Charm is Dale Grassbaugh who operates a 120-head herd of cows near Howard which produces nearly 8,600 pounds of milk each day. Guggisberg sells cheese products to numerous retail outlets in the central Ohio area.