A MORE SUSTAINABLE DAIRY
Cherry Valley Dairy is committed to sustainability and we address this concept through a multi-faceted approach.
We keep our herd small, which allows us to utilize all the milk from our herd to turn into our signature and seasonal products, and reduce our carbon footprint. We will never use bovine growth hormones on our herd and whenever possible, we keep our cows' diets natural and free of artificial additives and harmful chemicals.
The dairy uses environmentally-friendly cleaning agents in daily operations, and recyclable and/or compostable packaging for all of our products.
It will take time, foresight, our customers’ support and thoughtful herd management to convert this formerly commercial barn into a truly sustainable, natural farmstead creamery, but Cherry Valley Dairy is committed to this mission, especially when it comes to the well-being of the herd, the health of our pastures and the quality of our products.
In December 2013, the dairy was designated as a Salmon-Safe farm. Since 1996, Salmon-Safe and its implementation partners have worked with more than 300 West Coast farms to provide incentives for the adoption of practices that protect water quality and fish habitat. The Salmon-Safe farm certification program is focused on management practices in six primary areas: riparian area management, water use management, erosion and sediment control, integrated pest management, animal management, and biodiversity conservation.
CREEK BED RESTORATION
In 2012, Stewardship Partners began planting shrubs and trees along a portion of Rasmussen Creek, which runs through Cherry Valley Dairy on its course to join Cherry Creek. They have been working to minimize the reed canary grass which had overgrown the creek banks and choked out native plants. Adding native shrubs and trees while keeping the canary grass trimmed will eventually allow those native plants to grow tall and shade the creek, taking up space the canary grass would otherwise occupy. Shading the water allows the temperature to remain more stable, creating a more hospitable environment for its varied inhabitants.
In the summer of 2013, The Snoqualmie Tribe removed a series of waterfalls from the 1300 foot section of creek immediately below the Stewardship Partners planting. The waterfalls were created by large boulders in the narrow creek bed. As the boulders did not have sufficient pools beneath them, they acted as barriers, preventing salmon from reaching the upper sections of stream. In removing those barriers, logs were used to create a more navigable course for the water to follow as it heads down the steep hill. Reed canary grass and Himalayan blackberries were the dominant plants along the creek bank, but those have now been removed.
In November 2013, Mountains to Sound Greenway mustered 50+ volunteers to plant over 1,000 trees and shrubs along the newly refurbished creek bank. Their work has already generated positive results: By December, salmon finally returned to the creek to spawn, well above the area where the fish barriers used to halt their journey.
In 2015, we worked with partners to install a bridge that allows livestock to move to pasture without interfering with the creek, and are actively considering new opportunities for creek restoration and conservation. We welcome new partners and volunteers in 2016 and beyond!