The City Magazine Since 1975

Cream of the Crop

August 2018
Cream of the Crop
WRITER: 

Inside Lowcountry Creamery, the Bowman dairy farm crafting yogurt and milk products

Milk Men: (From left to right) Josh Brooks, Patrick Myers, and Kent Whetsell

As a teenager, Patrick Myers spent more time with cows than with kids his age. While his friends palled around their hometown of Bowman, he was putting in hours at his family’s 50-acre Lansdowne Dairy farm. “I went to Clemson to reclaim my weekends,” he laughs, but a master’s degree in animal physiology and nutrition later, he returned to the farm in 2010. Though his family had shut down dairy production in 2004, Myers felt driven to resurrect it. “It’s something that happens when you get a little older,” he says. “You want to return to your roots.”

To launch Lowcountry Creamery, Myers teamed up with fellow Clemson graduates and childhood friends Kent Whetsell and Josh Brooks. Each brought different skills to the table: Myers and Whetsell were primed to run the dairy, as both grew up on farms and were educated in animal science; Brooks’s finance studies helped in crafting a business plan for the creamery, which opened in the spring of 2015.

Get Moovin': Four hundred Jersey cows have room to roam on Lowcountry Creamery's 50 acres of pasture. "To make a high-quality product, we have to have well-cared for, happy cows," owner Patrick Meyer says.

Depending on the calving season, the team tends to an average of 400 Jersey cows (including calves, adolescents, and “dry” and milking cows), 180 of whom are milked twice daily at 3:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; each time, the process takes four to five hours to complete. After their morning session, the animals graze on rotating areas of pasture or escape the sun inside open-air barns.

A mile and a half down the road, the creamery is housed in a renovated restaurant that was once attached to a BP gas station. While the facility is, according to Myers, “nothing grand,” the high-quality products certainly turn heads. It took just one taste of Lowcountry Creamery milk during a 2016 field trip with NC State’s Dairy Science Club to lure Lauren Clemency to the team. She was the company’s first hire, and “a huge key to our business,” Myers says, referencing Clemency’s help not only with caring for the animals but also crafting the dairy products.

What makes the farm’s milk unique is a carefully calculated science. According to Myers, Jersey cows produce milk that’s higher in nutrients, proteins, and fat than other breeds; the result is a more flavorful sip. After milking the cows, the crew pasteurizes the raw substance slowly at a low temperature, retaining the milk’s nutrients and creating a sweeter taste. The product is then turned into whole and chocolate milk varieties (the latter so rich it has the consistency of a milk shake), buttermilk, crème fraîche, and Greek yogurt, with whole milk Swiss yogurt in the works.

Though the farm is about an hour northwest of Charleston, you can taste the milk in dishes at restaurants such as FIG, Husk, Butcher & Bee; and you can purchase Lowcountry Creamery goods at several retailers in the area, including Veggie Bin, Boone Hall Farm, and Bert’s Market. To find the closest vendor, visit lowcountrycreamery.com.

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Photographs courtesy of (3) Lowcountry Creamery