ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — Here along the property of a rolling
green pasture that remains vibrant even in winter, Traders Point Creamery has
made a name for itself and built a thriving clientele by offering organic,
100-percent grass-fed dairy products.
The first dairy farm in Indiana to be certified organic by
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the farm and artisan creamery has been in
business since 2003, when Fritz and Jane Kunz began with 150 acres of their
grandparents’ land, a small dairy operation and a big dream to bring organic,
100-percent grass-fed dairy products to central Indiana.
A trip to Traders Point Creamery is as much about visiting
the farm’s milking barn, restaurant, pasture, cropland, woods and creek and
seeing the milking herd, dry herd and young heifer stock of Brown Swiss cattle
as meeting the Kunzes and their down-to-earth staff.
While a great experience unfolds from inside a fleur de la
terre, brick street tomme, Boone County bloomy, fromage or any one of the other
members of the farm’s family of cheeses, the essence of Traders Point Creamery
is evident in the cooperative attitude present.
“A lot of people think grass-fed beef will be simpler than
it is, but every piece matters, and you must pay attention to the subtle
differences,” said Gail Alden, director of marketing and events for Traders
The Kunzes use a rotational grazing system to address a
problem on their land that many other farms share — erosion of the
The system fosters a healthy environment for earthworm
development to rebuild the soil in a floodplain.
“We do a process of intensive rotational grazing to simulate
a natural process. The cows are part of an ecosystem. If you add an animal
vector and let the land rest for 35 to 45 days as they migrate through early
spring and summer, they help build the topsoil and grow soil nutrition,” said
“Even the cows’ hooves help plant seedlings into the
ground,” he added.
Over the winter, when the fields lay dormant, the cows are
fed mixed rations of hay, spelt to give a combination of protein, carbohydrates,
minerals and vitamins.
“The total mixed ration allows us to feed all the cows the
right diet,” Kunz said. “The cows start into spring with really good body
Mark Vanderkooy, director of products, takes charge of
milking between 60 and 90 cows each day throughout the year from 7 a.m. and 4
They only milk two-thirds of the herd, leaving the dry herd
to have their calves before joining the milking herd.
The cows are about three years old when they produce their
first milk, and they must have a calf before they produce milk.
Each cow will produce about five to six gallons of milk each
day, adding up to about 130 gallons of milk daily.
The cows are bred back during the milking cycle, usually in
the first three months, and are dried off in their sixth month of pregnancy.
The Kunzes let the baby cows stay with their mothers and use
a strong genetics program to ensure their cows are productive and
“One-hundred percent of my spare time is spent reading about
cow production,” Vanderkooy said. “Grass-fed milk is digested differently in the
stomach. Finely-chopped food can hurt cows. While grain fed to cows today is
great for milk production, it is rough on the cow.”
Because the milk is not homogenized, the cream line, which
separates the milk fat from the milk, is visible at the top of the container.
The farm’s Dutch chocolate milk yields a thick, creamy taste resembling
chocolate ice cream, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
Kunz, a doctor who has done extensive research on the health
benefits of foods such as milk, said the farm is selling medicine as much as
Still, the experience begs the question, what’s so special
about grass-fed cows’ milk? Isn’t corn a grass, too?
“The problem with cows eating corn is when they eat the corn
seed, which contains a lot of starch, it’s like eating cotton candy, and the cow
does not get the nutrition it needs,” Kunz said. “In the same way, it’s
important for a cow calf to be brought up on its mother’s milk rather than a
The Kunzes buy milk from other similarly-sized regional
100-percent grass-fed farms and host Indiana’s only continuous farmers market,
which shifts to the Red Party Barn, a restored pig sty and corn crib from
Geneva, that now is configured in tandem style as the farm’s milking parlor
during the cooler months.
Amos Schwartz, a close family friend, has helped relocate
the historic barns found at Traders Point Creamery, located at the northwestern
edge of Indianapolis in Zionsville.
One barn originating in Bluffton, near the Wabash River, now
houses the Loft Restaurant, Dairy Bar and Creamery Barn, an essential stopping
point and hub for visitors to the farm to check in and chat with the Kunzes or
any of the farmers or employees who are enjoying a hot cup of tea or homemade
meal in the middle of a busy day.
Guests to The Loft can dine on seasonal menu items including
artisan cheese fondue, 100-percent grass-fed beef, Traders Point Creamery mac n’
cheese, pastured pork, elk, ostrich, yak, wild boar and wild-caught seafood
under the structure’s soaring barn ceiling, round rafters and original hand-hewn
“In the beginning, this barn was only envisioned as the
Dairy Bar, but it has expanded to include a restaurant specially prepared menu
of fresh items for guests to enjoy as they learn about the creamery and cheese
and milk-making operations at the farm,” said Lauren Bobbitt, communications
Guests who visit the Green Market Lawn from May to October
can enjoy the farm’s Summer Friday Night farmers market featuring a dinner
cooked from local organic fare.
At the winter market held November through April on Saturday
mornings from 9 a.m. to noon, they can buy meat, dairy, spices, coffee, tea,
bread and other items.
One of the remarkable things about Traders Point Creamery is
its prime location, in the Eagle Creek Watershed, near Interstate 465 and within
driving distance of the big city and small neighboring town.
A Burr Oak Tree from virgin growth timber, more than 300
years old and measuring 16 feet in circumference, juts from the trail near the
creek, suggestive of a tree house.
It’s hard not to notice, between the lively work
environment, elfin decorum and bustling scenery, how much Traders Point Creamery
evokes Neverland, that fantastic place in J.M. Barrie’s classic fairy tale,
While the elixir for immortality has not been discovered,
the Kunzes haven’t ruled out the possibility of finding it in a bottle of fresh