Shenandoah Living Magazine: Holy Cow Delivery

From Shenandoah Living Magazine by Lani Furbank:

“You might look at a giant, mechanical cow driving down the freeway like something from a sci-fi film, but Samantha and Tim Stern would disagree. That mechanical cow is actually a delivery truck, and it’s the Sterns’ way of bringing back an old-time tradition: the neighborhood milkman.

The Sterns began their business in 2005 when Tim saw a gap in the market. “We just saw an opportunity and something that nobody else was doing in this area,” he said. So they launched Holy Cow Delivery, a home delivery service that delivers fresh, local dairy, meat and produce right to your door.

When they first started, they sold at farmers markets in addition to servicing their single delivery route in the Winchester area. This route only had 11 customers.

Tim and Samantha have always had a passion for farming. They both studied agriculture at Virginia Tech, and they went on to pursue careers in their field. Samantha still works as an agriculture education teacher at James Wood Middle School. Tim worked as an arborist for the City of Winchester until 2006, when Holy Cow Delivery needed him full-time.

“The milk delivery business was growing so fast that I really couldn’t do both, and it got to a point where I had to choose,” Tim said. It seems he made the right choice. Holy Cow Delivery now works with 12 producers to serve over 300 customers a week.

These customers can choose from a variety of local goods. The Sterns’ farm provides beef, lamb, pork and chicken, and they work with vendors in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania to deliver everything from grass-fed, organic dairy products to homemade soup and gourmet popcorn.

Sharon Ritenour, a Holy Cow customer of two years, loves the convenience and the variety offered by the service. As a stay-at-home mother to two young children, the right-to-your-door delivery couldn’t be beat.

They have a standing order of whole goat’s milk and whole milk yogurt, but they also love to splurge on specialty items. “The salted caramel ice cream is to die for,” she said.

Ritenour’s 2-year-old son, Joseph, has trouble digesting cow’s milk, but does much better with goat’s milk. “Fresh goat’s milk is a lot harder to find on a regular basis, so knowing that that’s coming every week is just wonderful,” she said.

But it’s not just the quality products that keep Ritenour coming back, it’s the relationship she has with the Sterns. “You always get your weekly email, and so you kind of get to catch up on their lives,” she said. Even though they’ve never met, Ritenour says, “it feels kind of like a friend that I don’t know.””

Continue reading and view the rest of Matt Schmachtenberg’s photos here. The article starts on page 39.

(Photo by Matt Schmachtenberg)

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