Never underestimate the power of moo juice to make positive cultural change. In just two years, Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville has become a beacon for sustainable family agriculture and everybody’s favorite source for milk, ice cream, cream, butter, yogurt and soft cheeses, lovingly produced and luxuriantly good, not to mention certified organic.
Your typical factory farm dairy raises cattle in tight quarters, pumps them full of antibiotics and hormones, feeds them pesticide-laden grains and ships their product to grocery stores three states away. Traders Point does just the opposite, offering a healthier, tastier product, and embodying an ethical alternative to agribusiness.
Owners Peter F. and Jane Elder Kunz took the 112 acres she inherited and began with the philosophy that “nourishing our land will afford us a food source that has the highest nutritional qualities.” The 60 Traders Point cattle get a diet of grass and hay. As a result, their milk is rich in “good fats” and other nutrients known for their role in preventing heart disease, weight gain and cancer. “We believe strongly in the 100 percent grassfed nutritional benefit,” Jane says, “but it is very expensive to produce. Our challenge will be educating the customer to understand and appreciate this health benefit.”
The direct connection to customers is one secret to Traders Point’s success. Visit the Broad Ripple Farmers Market on summer Saturdays and you’ll find crowds thronging for a sample of raspberry yogurt or chocolate milk. The Kunzes and their three glowing children share their dairy wares in person; “marketing” was never this sincere. “There has literally been a groundswell of ‘have you tasted the milk from Traders Point Creamery?!’” Jane says. “The most rewarding aspect of our work is mingling with our customers who are truly appreciative of the efforts made by every member of our talented team.”
That team includes Neil McDonald, farm manager, who specializes in rotational grazing and grassfed animal health; Fons Smits, manager of dairy processing, who hails from Holland and has perfected the art of “letting the cow teach you”; and David Robb, manager of business development, whose wizardry has ensured that Traders Point products are available at 70 retail outlets and used by savvy chefs at Brix in Zionsville, Decadent by Design in Fountain Square, Restaurant Tallent in Bloomington and North Pond in Chicago, to name a few. (See a complete list at www.traderspointcreamery.com.)
Traders Point Creamery is also a great place to visit. During the seasonal Friday night/Saturday morning markets, in the 19th century hand-hewn barn, you can get a meal made from local products, be it a warm quiche or a spinach salad. Traders Point demonstrates its commitment to sustainable farming by inviting fellow local farmers to sell meats, honey and eggs.
What’s the best feedback Traders Point gets? Jane Elder Kunz says, “Adults tell us they love the health benefits. The kids say, ‘Your milk tastes like ice cream.’” Aside from dynamite dairy products, Traders Point Creamery’s contribution to our culture is to close the gap between the making of food and the consumption of it; the very definition of sustainability.
- Anne Laker