This dairy farm in Starr is the pride of farmer L.D. Peeler, Jr. A third-generation dairy farmer from Gaffney, Peeler left a career in the corporate world in 1978 when he purchased 12 Jersey cows from his father and jumped into the family business. Just nine years later, Peeler relocated his farm to rural Anderson County, where it remains successful.
Though Peeler’s herd of Jersey cows, which now numbers 120, are used for dairy, he does maintain a small stock of beef cattle. All of the cows at Milky Way Farm are grass-fed, and none are exposed to hormones or steroids. In fact, Milky Way Farm grows its own hay for the cows or buys it locally, depending on how well it grows each season. The result is sweet, healthy, raw milk.
The raw milk distributed by Milky Way Farm is bottled on site, being chilled to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit immediately after leaving the cow to prevent bacteria from growing. Peeler is an advocate of the health and flavor benefits of raw milk and maintains a sterile farm that surpasses raw milk industry standards through rigorous testing beyond what is required by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). He delivers his milk to several locations for regular customers who come from surrounding states to buy gallons of the milk. Raw milk is strictly regulated and not legal for human consumption in many states due to the risk of dangerous bacteria such as listeria, salmonella, and e. Coli.
Most milk is pasteurized, or heated to 161.6 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds, to eliminate any possible bacteria. Proponents of raw milk claim that this process destroys nutrients in the milk and also makes it more difficult to digest. However, many health officials counter that argument, stating that pasteurized milk indeed contains the same nutrients and enzymes as raw milk. In any case, the option of buying raw milk is available in South Carolina, with Milky Way Farm as one of nine dairy farms licensed to sell the product.
Peeler’s business remains a family endeavor. He works alongside his son, Davis, who studied agriculture in college. Though his daughter lives and works in Rome, Georgia, milk runs through her veins, too. She studied dairy science at Virginia Tech and now supervises the dairy at Berry College.
Milky Way Farm sells both whole and lower fat milk, cream, and buttermilk. Several retail outlets throughout the state sell the milk, and it may also be purchased directly from the farm by appointment. Those from remote spots who wish to partake in the all-natural milk can place an order and have it delivered to one of Peeler’s designated locations.
Much of this information is attributed to the Milky Way Farm website, found below.
Hoyte Roberson, Jr. says
Proud of you and your family L.D.! Hope you are well! Miss ya brother! Will stop by when Kathy and I come through. Keep milking! Lol! Hug those kids for me. Hoyte Jr. 257.
Mickie Philip says
I loved reading about this dairy farm. I hope they sell their products in Hilton Head Island!
Nickie McKnight says
So love these pretty faces!
SC Picture Project says
We know, right? And we love Vanessa Kauffman for taking the time to capture them! Thank you for commenting!
Jeff Seay says
I grew up in Gaffney and drank Peeler’s milk all my life. It is the most flavorful milk ever! No other milk compares to its flavor. I went to high school with LD Peeler. I buy this milk wherever I find it.
Bill Johnston says
Been to this farm a couple of time some years ago. Love the milk and the cream, which we buy now from a retailer in Fountain Inn, SC. The pictures here capture the splendor of the farm and of those wonderful jersey cows. My favorite memory of the farm is of the cows looking at us with such curiosity, like “who are you – and what are you doing here?” The pictures here captured that beautifully! Thanks!
Marie Rainey Rhodes says
This farm was originally Hidden Hills Farm owned by my parents, Tommy and Lou Esther Rainey. It was built on my grandma's homeplace (Todd family) that adjoined the property owned by the Rainey's. My parents bought it in the early 1970's and built the 3rd Rainey dairy in the Starr area. They were named the 1977 Young Dairy Family for the southeast division. The dairy barn was lost to a fire in 1979; they were unable to rebuild. Thank you to the Peeler family for restoring the farm to it's original purpose my parents worked so hard to build.