Dove Song Dairy is an 85-acre farm located in Berks County, PA. We proudly offer their raw goat milk and organically-raised duck eggs at all six Kimberton Whole Foods stores.
Today, Dove Song Dairy operates under the leadership of Lena Schaeffer. The farm was originally founded by ancestors of Lena’s husband, Rodney, during colonial times. After exchanging hands a few times, the farm was later purchased by Lena’s parents, shortly after WWII. Lena and Rodney, who had grown up together in the area, bought the farm from her parents once they were married. In 1996, the Schaeffer family began selling their milk commercially.
The Healing Benefits of Goat Milk
Lena has loved animals all of her life. At 15 years old, she told her father that she wanted a goat for her birthday – and she got one! In addition to Lena’s fondness for the breed, she later discovered its usefulness in providing nutrition to her family. The Schaeffer’s two daughters are lactose intolerant and cannot digest cow’s milk, but can enjoy goat’s milk without digestive upset. Lena is passionate about sharing the benefits of goats milk with her community. They even supply a wildlife rescue center with milk to feed to everything from baby bats, to fauns.
She explains, “The first week we started milking, a man showed up asking if he could buy some because he had a stomach ulcer. The following week, it was a young mother whose baby wasn’t doing well on formula. More and more people kept showing up in need of goats’ milk for various health reasons. We started to see an increase in corn and soy allergies so I decided to stop feeding corn and soy to my animals for the safety of my customers and livestock. Today we still have many customers who need our milk, yogurt, eggs, and other products because of health issues. I think we have just as many customers who want quality products with superior taste. Hmm, good for you and taste fantastic? That’s how food should be.”
A Family Business
Today, three generations live and work on the farm. The Shaeffer’s oldest daughter, Naomi, along with her husband and 5 children, help with daily chores and manage the sheep and laying hens. Emily, the Schaeffer’s second child, followed in her mother’s footsteps and asked for a goat on her eighth birthday. Emily still lives and works with her parents on the farm, managing the goat dairy as well as packaging cheese and eggs and preparing orders for delivery. Lena’s youngest, Isaac, along with his young son, helps with repairs and also assists with field work. Starting this year, he will be managing the beef herd.
The farm is organic (although not certified), and values sustainable practices. A modern-day milking facility, built to maintain the quality of the milk and the comfort of the animals, allows the Schaeffer family to milk their 200 goats. Individually named and loved, their goats are of the Alpine, LaMacha, and Nubian varieties. The goats are milked twice per day, and the milk is sold raw to local markets.
Pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers are never used at Dove Song Dairy. In addition to the goats, the Schaeffer family also cares for chickens, ducks, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and other livestock, all raised on pasture and fed organically-grown barley, spelt, and sunflower seeds. They also add kelp, flaxseed, and other mineral supplements to keep their animals healthy and thriving. Corn, soy, wheat, and silage are not part of the animals’ diets, nor are they given antibiotics or hormones. Their rich and delicious duck eggs are not to be missed!
Says Lena, “I’ve been greatly blessed. Not only do I live on the farm of my childhood, I get to work with animals that I’m fond of and produce food that is helping improve our health but most importantly, I’m surrounded by the best friends and support team…my family.”