Crooked Creek Farms Keeping It Fresh All The Way To Your Table
April 5, 2023 | View PDF
Hayley Darnielle and her husband, Shayn, are first generation farmers, operating Darnielle Farms about 30 miles outside of Sidney, and in 2021, just prior to Covid, Hayley bought her first milk cow and the wheels were set in motion for Crooked Creek Farms.
"I've always been an animal lover and wanted to ranch full time, but as first-generation farmers, I couldn't be at the ranch full time," Hayley explained.
She was managing the local feed store and bottle feeding 20-30 bum calves at a time. The word got out with those who knew her from the feed store, and she soon had multiple people asking to buy milk from her.
In the spring of 2021, SB 199, also known as the Montana Local Food Choice Act, passed and opened up the door of possibility for Hayley. She was able to quit her job and devote herself full time to Crooked Creek Farms selling raw dairy including milk, cream, and butter and farm fresh chicken, duck, and quail eggs. Hayley also incubates and raises chicks which she later sells.
To comply with Montana laws, her cows are tested annually for brucellosis and every six months she sends milk samples to a lab in Idaho to ensure the cows do not have mastitis or other illnesses. Additionally, her equipment is tested to make sure it is being cleaned properly.
"When SB 199 passed it gave me this opportunity," she recalls. "After Covid everyone was more conscientious of where their food came from. My business really grew from word of mouth, and the more customers the better."
Hayley operates Crooked Creek Farms with four cows and one heifer. To comply with Montana state law which stipulates staying under five milking cows, she only has four producing milk at once. Additionally, she has chickens, ducks, quail and goats, though she does not sell goat dairy at this time. Currently, she has just one cow producing milk which produces 20-30 gallons of milk for sale each week, she sells a couple dozen chicks each week, and has 15-20 dozen eggs for sale weekly. As the weather warms, she expects her egg production to increase. She delivers to Sidney once a week, and plans to be at the Farmers Market in Sidney most Saturdays throughout the season.
For anyone interested in Crooked Creek Farms raw dairy, farm fresh eggs or chicks, you can visit the website at http://www.crookedcreekfarmsmt.com, check them out on Facebook, or call Hayley at 406-480-0911.