New Producer Spotlight: Richlands Creamery
Our newest producer offers a wonderful line of products in a variety of sizes!
When you pull up the Richlands Dairy and Creamery web page, the first things you see are a picture of their beautiful Holstein cows and a tag line underneath that says, “Honest to Goodness Dairy.” If you meet any of the Joneses or have an occasion to visit this beautiful family farm, you’ll see just what they mean by that phrase. Their dedication to keeping happy cows and being good stewards of the land is clear. So is their dedication to offering delicious, high-quality milk and cream, with no misleading labels or added ingredients. Just straight-up good milk that you can trust.
We’re excited to be offering milk and cream from Richlands Dairy and Creamery on Fall Line Farms and Local Rootsts! Our members will be able to choose from whole milk, 2% milk, chocolate milk, half-and-half and heavy cream. And the milk is available in a variety of convenient sizes. Of course, like most of the other items you’ll find on our pages, it comes from right here in Central Virginia.
Located at 460 Cox Road in Blackstone, Virginia, Richlands Creamery and Dairy sits on 500-plus acres that have been farmed continuously since the 1750s by the same family. Currently, four generations of Joneses work on the farm. They maintain a happy herd of over 500 cows, which until recently included faithful old Quasi—the oldest member of the herd and a retiree from milking. She was distictive from the others, as she wore her very own cowbell. Sadly, Quasi passed away earlier this year, but her legacy lives on in story and the photos you'll see on the Richlands Creamery walls.
Lots of school and family groups come to Richlands Dairy Farm and Creamery to learn and have fun in the country.
In 2018, the family broke ground on the new Richlands Creamery building, which houses the ice cream counter, the Creamery Kitchen (their new family restaurant), and the farm store. This space is designed to bring people together and create community. Whether they’re savoring an ice cream cone, picking up a gallon of milk from the farm store, or sitting down to a sandwich or soup in the Creamery Kitchen guests will feel mighty welcome at Richlands. And there are also windows that let guests look right into the dairy where the milk is bottled and the ice cream is made. One hallmark of this place is certainly hospitality. Another is the family’s sincere desire to inspire and educate visitors, introducing them to the principles of agriculture done right.
The creamery mission statement hangs on the wall as guests enter the building.
Coley Jones Drinkwater, Sales and Marketing Director for Richlands Creamery and Dairy, grew up on the farm. “I’m one of four family members who work here on the farm,” says Coley. Her father, Hugh, and her brother, TR, are agronomists, handling the planting and harvesting that keeps the cows fed with a healthy diet of food raised right there on the land. Her sister-in law Brittany is the farm manager, putting her Masters degree in Dairy Science and Microbiology to the service of the operation. “We all wear a lot of hats,” explains Coley. “It’s a lot of work, but worth it. We want to promote and support agriculture in all of its aspects. We want to be a trusted voice for agriculture as a whole. Everything we do aims for that goal.”
After graduating college, Coley traveled around the world for nearly a year, working a number of jobs, visiting far-flung places, and all the while reinforcing her belief that, as she points out, “you can really get to know people by their food—and agriculture is at the heart of that.” She came home to the farm and went into the family business because, as she sees it, “dairy is my family heritage. It just gets in your bones! I do it for the love of it—the cows, the outdoors, the feeling of being a close-knit family. If we sold the dairy, the family wouldn’t live and work together. That’s the driving force behind all of this!”
“Our number one goal in creating the Creamery,” Coley explains, “was to create a sustainable business. We had to change the current business model of a dairy. We need to make money by the end of three years—as of the end of January, we’ll have been open for 7 months. We want to increase our quality of life and to do the same for others in our community.”
This beautifully renovated barn holds the ice cream counter and the family restaurant, The Creamery Kitchen, as well as the farm store. Guests can take a peek into the bottling and ice-cream-making operations, too.
“It was important to us to make a place where people could gather and connect,” she says. “I love seeing people talking and enjoying a meal or an ice cream cone. It’s great to see the kids playing. We intentionally don’t offer free WiFi here, because we put a premium on family time and community. We want people to put down the cell phones. We want them to gather, pay attention to each other, and have real conversations.”
There’s a lot to enjoy at Richlands, so be sure to plan a visit. The ice cream is delicious, and their recipe steps back from the sugar to let the flavor shine through. (This author can personally attest to the deliciousness of the Salty Monkey and the Triple Chocolate Chunk!) The farm store stocks local fare, along with Richlands dairy products And the Creamery Kitchen serves sandwiches and hearty comfort food for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and stays open for dinner on Friday and Saturday. All year long, Richlands offers farm tours, special dinners, and seasonal celebrations like a pumpkin patch and corn maze in the fall, a dairy month celebration in June, homeschool days, and Fall Festival weekends in October.
We’re proud to add Richlands Dairy and Creamery to our producer lineup. Like us, they’re dedicated to preserving Central Virginia’s farmland and rural culture. They offer what’s fresh, local, and thoughtfully produced. And last—but certainly not least—they offer dairy products that just taste really great!
For more information on Richlands Dairy or to see what’s coming up next on the farm, check their website (www.richlandscreamery.com) or follow them on Facebook ( @richlands.dairyfarm ). The Kitchen Table has its own Facebook page: @richlandskitchentable. You can call them at 434-233-3014.