Pure Éire Dairy

Richard and Jill Smith
Photos courtesy Dani Smart.

Producer Profile

Producers: Richard and Jill Smith

Located in: Othello, Wash.

Supplying PCC since: 2010

milk

Supplies PCC with: Pure, creamy, and vat pasteurized non-homogenized milk and rich, decadent heavy cream from a grass-fed herd in Washington's Columbia Basin.

Just Jerseys: Jersey cows are legendary for high-quality, creamy, nutritious milk that's easier for many to digest than milk from other breeds. Richard and Jill Smith raise an all-Jersey herd.

Irish roots: The name Pure Éire is a nod to Richard Smith's Irish heritage (pronounce the Éire like "era," says his wife, Jill).

Rich, decadent, nutritious dairy

Nestled in the heart of the Columbia Basin, Pure Éire Dairy is the realization of Richard and Jill Smith's dream to create a product they'd be proud to stand behind. The Smiths raise an all-Jersey, 100-percent grass-fed herd that produces luscious and nutritious milk.

We milk our cows just once a day. The lower stress our cows have, the higher quality the milk. — Jill Smith

Both hail from farming families (Jill's parents grew "everything from corn to hay to peas" in Othello, Wash.; Richard's parents emigrated from Ireland to Florida and ran dairies, a tradition he has carried forward). The name Pure Éire (pronounce the Éire like "era," Jill says) is a nod to Richard's Irish heritage.

calf

"It was always our dream to have a little thing we could probably even do together into our retirement. This is how we want our kids to grow up," Jill says. For now, every drop of milk from the 180-acre spread is spoken for. But as the herd of 35 grows in the future, the Smiths hope to add butter and farmstead cheese to their offerings.

walking cows

What makes this milk exceptional? Jersey cattle are one of the world's oldest breeds and produce a milk easily described as decadent. Dairy from grass-fed cows is high in nutrients, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a beneficial fatty acid which has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties and helps inhibit the formation of body fat. Milk from grass-fed cattle contains as much as five times more beneficial CLA than milk from grain-fed cows.

Pure Éire's milk is free of antibiotics and added hormones, is vat pasteurized, and is non-homogenized (which helps it retain its farm-fresh creaminess and retains nutrient-rich fats in their natural form. Through careful pasture management, the herd munches grass even in the winter months.

"We milk our cows just once a day. The lower stress our cows have, the higher quality the milk," says Jill. She welcomes visitors to their dairy in Othello, Wash. "We have long believed that you should always know where your milk comes from and be able to see for yourself what the cows eat and how they are treated. Our goal is to be a transparent operation for customers, so they can trust their milk source."

More about: local food, milk, pastured meat and dairy