Ravalli County Coverage

Aug 2, 2012 9:28 PM by Robin O'Day - KPAX News

Gearing up for the Stevi creamery picnic

VICTOR - It's a career that has you up at 4 a.m, but for Victor dairy farmer David Lewis, there's no other business he'd rather be in.

"A lot of people don't really realize that milk doesn't come from the supermarket," says Lewis.

From growing up on a farm to owning his own, Lewis knows the business of dairy.

Lewis became one of more than 550 farmer-owners of Darigold two years ago and told us it was a good business move on his part.

"A lot of the time gallon milk aren't real profitable items, they're kind of a 'get people in the door' items," he said. "When that market might be really low or really poor, butter might be really good, so we've diversified in the business."

The Stevensville Creamery Picnic celebrates their 100th year this weekend. It's an event David remembers attending as a little boy, and now it's his turn to teach kids about farming.

"There's a lot to it. And it doesn't matter if it's 10 below, 100 degrees out, we do the same job everyday, trying to do a quality product with happy cows," Lewis said.

Monitoring 260 milking cows is no easy task, but some savvy technology helps David produce over $1.2 million worth of dairy a year.

"The meters keep track of everything about the cows, how much milk she gives, so I could walk up there and know what number 745 gave, three days ago, I can know with the touch of a button. It's like quick books for cows," Lewis said.

Farms are dying off in the Bitterroot Valley, but Lewis says Big Creek Dairy is here to stay.

The events for the Stevensville Creamery Picnic start on Friday and run through Sunday and David will be driving a vintage 1928 Darigold truck in the parade.

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