Shetler Family Dairy set to close its doors this Saturday

By: 
Ted Wendling, Contributing Writer

Photo by Ted Wendling

The Shetler Family Dairy and Farm Store on Tyler Road is set to close its doors this Saturday after 40 years of operation. 

 

KALKASKA – Devastated by the deaths of their mother and father in a span of just over a year, members of the Shetler family have said they are closing their bucolic Shetler Family Dairy and Farm Store on Tyler Road after 40 years of operation.

In an announcement made on the dairy’s Facebook page, the Shetler family said they are selling their bottling equipment, recipes, processes, and even their memorable slogan (“Our cows aren’t on drugs, but they are on grass!”) to Farmers’ Creamery, an Amish start-up dairy in Mio, Michigan. The Shetler children will continue to own the farm, livestock and Farm Store, although the Farm Store will close its doors on Saturday.

“As you know, it’s been an incredibly difficult 14 months for the Shetler family after the sudden loss of our mother, Sally, last May 2018, and then again with the sudden loss of our father, Farmer George, this past January 2019,” the family wrote. “Along with that loss, we have continued operating the farm and dairy in their absence and moving forward with some very big decisions that they had previously set in motion prior to their passing.”

Mike Biehl, a Shetler family friend and spokesman, said the Shetlers did not want to discuss their difficult decision to shutter the family business.

“That was their wishes, to just let the (Facebook) letter stand,” Biehl said.

Nathan Hochstetler, a member of the Farmers’ Creamery board of directors, said the purchase of the Shetler Family Dairy resulted from a longtime friendship that George Shetler developed with Amish farmer Edward Yoder, who also serves on the Farmers’ Creamery board.

According to Hochstetler, the creamery is scheduled to open on M-33 north of Mio sometime in September, when the property transfer between Farmers’ Creamery and the Shetler Family Dairy will occur.

Hochstetler said Farmers’ Creamery will continue to sell milk and other products to the stores and co-ops currently served by the Shetler Family Dairy. He noted that the new owners also would maintain Shetler’s production values, including selling non-homogenized milk in glass bottles, utilizing low-temperature pasteurization, and never giving their milk cows antibiotics or bovine growth hormones to induce the cows to produce more milk.

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