Tim and Grace Lukens of Grace Harbor Farms are farmers through and through. But if you ask them what they raise, they won’t give you the obvious answer – cows. They will say they farm grass on their farm between Lynden and Birch Bay in Whatcom County north of Bellingham.
The Lukens’ cows are entirely grass-fed and are never given hormones or GMO feed. The phrase you are what you eat could not be more fitting – an exclusively grass diet means that the grass better taste good, or the milk won’t be tasty. (In the winter, when the weather isn’t great for grazing, the cows are fed hay – dried grass.)
On top of bottling their milk, the Lukens have a line of yogurt, which we offer in our stores. Customers often rave about the cream top and European style of the Lukens’ yogurt. The milk for this creamy yogurt comes from the lesser-known Guernsey cow. These sweet tempered cows make up a small fraction of the national dairy cow population, so it was challenging for the Lukens to find cows to build a herd. Guernsey cows produce milk higher in beta-carotene, making it light golden in color and sweeter than milk from other types of cows. They recently acquired five Guernsey cows from a local farmer and fortunately for the Lukens, those five cows had never tasted grain.
When the couple cannot get enough milk from their eight-cow herd, they partner with another local farmer who owns a herd of 25 Guernseys. They also partner with Wil-O-Acres Goat Dairy in nearby Ferndale, beginning with the purchase of two goats in 1999. They started making soap from the goat milk and sold it at farmers’ markets. They soon expanded to making goat cheese, bottling goat milk and experimenting with a variety of lotions and soaps. Though the couple no longer makes goat cheese commercially, they do bottle the milk, which is available in our stores, and have an extensive line of creams, lotions and soap.
The Lukens’ operation is considerably smaller than other farms in the area, but their size allows Grace the opportunity to cook lunch for her husband, grown children and employees. The group sits down to a traditional family meal every weekday. This is something Grace would not trade for the world.
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