Meet The Locals: Crystal Ball Farms
Nestled within beautiful farmlands on the outskirts of Osceola, Wisconsin sits a small, family-owned dairy farm, Crystal Ball Farms.
Troy DeRosier grew up on a dairy farm and knew he wanted to continue that into his adult life. After a short hiatus following encouragement from family to explore a different career path, he came right back to dairy farming and didn’t look back.
Troy and his wife, Barb, opened the creamery in 2003 in order to provide a more stable and predictable income for their family and to ensure their son with disabilities has everything he needs. Beginning with glass-bottled milk, they expanded to more varieties of milk, half and half, specialty cheeses, butter, and ice cream throughout the years. If you’ve tried it, you know that their chocolate milk is beyond delicious!
Farming is one of the most challenging careers; the days are long and the work is often thankless. The DeRosiers have experienced even greater challenges after losing their cow barn and organic certification to an electrical fire in 2018. The majority of the animals were rescued thanks to the help of neighbors and friends, and they lived off-farm while they rebuilt; however, this tragedy caused significant financial stress to the business. Following the re-opening of Crystal Ball Farms, they made the tough decision to not re-apply for the organic certification to allow for more flexibility in their business, but they continue using non-GMO and natural practices.
Following the rebuild, the cows returned home and business resumed as planned. Troy and Barb raise and breed cows and have been focusing on breeds that naturally have higher a2 protein contents, making their products easier to digest. They vat-pasteurize their non-homogenized milk and bottle it in glass on their farm. This allows them control over all aspects of the process from growing feed to processing and packaging, which Troy says is his favorite part of owning a dairy farm.
The impact that COVID-19 is having on local farms and businesses is more significant than you may realize. Most farms, but especially dairy farms, supply to restaurants and coffee shops in addition to grocery stores, so when restaurants closed, Crystal Ball Farms immediately lost half of its market.
The price of raw milk has also dropped to lows not seen since the Great Depression, and while prices are expected to rebound slightly, Troy expects it to be a long time before they are back to where they were pre-COVID-19. Small businesses and farms are losing tens of thousands of dollars each month, and many will not be able to sustain that for much longer, including Crystal Ball Farms. Our local farms and businesses need our support more than ever.
To show your support for Crystal Ball Farms, look for their products in-store on your next grocery run or shop for them online now! And if you’d like to help others, look for the teal “local” tags around the store to show our farmers and producers extra love during this challenging time.
Shop for These Products & Others from Crystal Ball Farms Online Now
This article was originally published in the June/July 2020 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.