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Milking the Moment

LOMAH dairy products are exploding in popularity not only based on their taste but also because of Stanley and Donna Johnson’s 100 percent ethical, sustainable, and transparent production practices.

Article
Tiffany Duncan
Photos
Marc Rains
Posted
April 29, 2017

Dappled sunlight, red barns, sweet country air — this is LOMAH Dairy in Wyandotte, Okla. Quaint as a postcard, LOMAH (short for Land of Milk and Honey) is home to 150 of the happiest Jersey cows around. They roam and graze as they please over 200 acres of perennial (not crop) grasses and drink from a spring of fresh-flowing groundwater. As a result, the milk — and butter, yogurt, and cheeses — that LOMAH’s Jerseys produce is for the most part unparalleled in taste and quality.

Many local coffee shops, markets, and restaurants in Tulsa have recognized the exceptionality of LOMAH’s dairy products and use them daily. LOMAH dairy products are exploding in popularity not only based on their superiority in taste but also because of LOMAH’s 100 percent ethical, sustainable, and transparent production practices. Owners Stanley Johnson and his wife, Donna Johnson, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We are one herd, one farm, and are operated by one family, which means we control every step of the process and know exactly what is in our milk,” says Stanley Johnson.

Both Stanley and Donna Johnson have an extensive background in agricultural education and hands-on experience. Not only do they each have a doctorate in veterinary medicine, but Stanley also spent 23 years as a supervisor for the United States Department of Agriculture, and Donna teaches microbiology, anatomy and physiology, food safety, and epidemiology at Missouri Southern State University. With so much intimate and in-depth knowledge of the agricultural industry, the Johnsons — along with the help of their three children, John, Will, and Grace, and a small working staff — operate LOMAH with an unflagging moral commitment to integrity in everything they do. 

Many local coffee shops, markets, and restaurants in Tulsa have recognized the exceptionality of LOMAH’s dairy products and use them daily. (Photo: Marc Rains)
Many local coffee shops, markets, and restaurants in Tulsa have recognized the exceptionality of LOMAH’s dairy products and use them daily. (Photo: Marc Rains)

“We are purists,” says Stanley Johnson. “Everything we do is eco- friendly and very green-focused. There are absolutely no growth hormones, soy or by-products in our milk, and no herbicides or synthetic chemicals of any kind on the grazing fields. And we don’t use any gas or propane to power anything. Instead, we use a large wood-fired broiler. It heats water, which is pumped to the heat exchanger and heats the pasteurizer-cheese vat.”

At LOMAH, the water on the dairy farm comes from an Artesian spring — an underground aquifer that pumps out over one million gallons per day. And because the water is pumped straight from the ground, it is completely free from contact with the air and other pollutants. The only filtration it receives is from a UV light, and it is so fresh and pure that many people drive straight to the dairy to purchase it in bulk.

Because of their high-quality water and the rigorous steps taken toward sanitation during the milking process, LOMAH’s raw milk has been tested and is just as pure as their pasteurized milk. The udders of each cow are cleaned before every milking, and the milking machines sanitized after every use. LOMAH’s milk processing also differs from many commercial dairies because it is VAT pasteurized — a form of small batch, low temperature pasteurization that produces non-homogenized milk. Not only is the flavor better preserved, but non-homogenized milk is also thought to be gentler on those with dairy allergies because the protein structure of the milk is far less altered.

With all that good, farm fresh milk, LOMAH makes many different farmstead cheeses and other dairy products that are rich, creamy, and absolutely to-die for.

“Using a variety of cultures and non-animal rennet, we make 15-20 different kinds of cheeses including our cheddar, which is a 12-hour process,” says Stanley Johnson. “From the cheddar, we then manually mill our cheese curds. We also do Gouda cheese, aged Gouda, Jalapeno cheddar, Havarti, feta, dill Havarti, provolone, Brie, and a Samuel Smith organic ale-soaked cheddar, just to name a few. I also do a Neufchâtel, which is a soft spreadable cream cheese, and we make a taleggio cheese for the Stone Horse restaurant in Utica Square, which is a traditional Northern Italian cheese.”

And have you ever heard of Yoski? Probably not, because it’s Johnson’s own creation. Yoski is a thick and delicious full-fat version of skyr (pronounced skeer), which is a traditional Icelandic yogurt made with skim milk. Next time you’re on Brookside, pop in to Shades of Brown coffee shop so you can try Yoski for yourself; it’s a very popular menu item there.

Stanley and Donna Johnson operate LOMAH with an unflagging moral commitment to integrity in everything they do. (Photo: Marc Rains)
Stanley and Donna Johnson operate LOMAH with an unflagging moral commitment to integrity in everything they do. (Photo: Marc Rains)

There are a lot of other local places around town where you can try LOMAH’s delicious dairy products: McNellie’s fries up the cheddar cheese curds as a melt-in-your-mouth appetizer; Antoinette Baking Co. in the Brady District makes a scrumptious cheese-filled brioche; Foolish Things Coffee Company serves a cheddar quiche; and many other coffee shops including Topeca Coffee, Chimera, Coffee House on Cherry Street, Fair Fellow — even Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska — refuse to use anything but LOMAH milk for lattes and other steamed coffee beverages.

LOMAH products can also be found at The Tavern, Siegi’s, Bodean Restaurant and Seafood Market, Tavolo, and Reasor’s grocery stores, among others. Or you can also visit the Cherry Street farmers market every Saturday morning from April to October, where LOMAH always sets up a stall to sell their delicious dairy treats. The Johnson family will be there ready to shake your hand, and they are the kindest, most genuine people you’ll ever meet.

Stanley Johnson puts in an average of 16-18 hours a day milking, making cheese, and running deliveries all over Green Country. It’s strenuous work, but he loves every minute of it.

“My favorite part of the job is getting to talk with the different small businesses and the people who come out to the farm to get raw milk,” he says. “Interaction with customers is always the highlight. And people appreciate and respect what we do, which makes it all worthwhile.”

March 2019 Cover