No more milk: A Big Island dairy’s closure is impacting an Oahu farm’s operations

Naked Cow Dairy relies on milk from Hawaii Island to make their products.
Naked Cow Dairy hopes to buy about 50 cows from Big Island Dairy to continue making cheese and...
Naked Cow Dairy hopes to buy about 50 cows from Big Island Dairy to continue making cheese and butter.(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Jan. 21, 2019 at 6:22 PM HST
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WAIANAE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The looming closure of Big Island Dairy presents a major challenge for Oahu’s only dairy farm.

Naked Cow Dairy is a small operation in Waianae that makes gourmet butter and artisan cheese. The company is now scrambling to expand its herd to make sure there is enough fresh milk to produce their products.

The Oahu farm set up a food booth to raise funds at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Kapiolani Park Monday.

For the last decade, the business has been churning out specialty products with milk from its small herd and shipments from Big Island Dairy.

“When we dry our cows off, we rely on them 100 percent, and then when we milk our own cows, we only milk a very small herd so we still rely on them quite a bit,” said Monique van der Stroom, owner of Naked Cow Dairy.

The business is now rushing to try to raise $200,000 to purchase about 50 cows from the Ookala facility. The money will also be used to pay for new fencing, a fodder feed system, and upgrades to allow the farm to start bottling milk.

“We’re going to have to do it on our own somehow, otherwise we won’t exist,” said van der Stroom. “Somehow we’ll figure it out, but this is an opportunity, a sad opportunity, but an opportunity for us to actually grow and take on some of the milk that we’re losing.”

For information on Naked Cow’s fundraising efforts, click click here.

Other cows from Big Island Dairy have already been sold. A Facebook group that rescued animals during last year’s Kilauea eruption came together again to buy 61 bottle-fed calves.

“(They’re) very helpful, very kind, very professional. Really, they’re overwhelmed. This is huge to close this dairy and they are very, very helpful,” said Alessandra Rupar-Weber, founder of Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network.

The calves now have new homes at animal sanctuaries and private properties across the island. HLFARN hopes to purchase another group of cows once they raise funds and find proper homes for the animals.

“When the community gets together in an emergency, a lot of things can happen, and even little groups like ours can make a difference,” said Rupar-Weber.

Click here for more information on the HLFARN campaign.

Under a settlement reached with an environmental organization and a community group, Big Island Dairy must stop milking cows by the end of February 28. The target date to cease all operations is April 30.

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