Spokane dairy switches family owners
By MATTHEW WEAVER
SPOKANE -- Spokane's Family Farm has changed owners.
Michael and Trish Vieira, who founded the dairy in 2009, have sold it to brothers Kent, Jared and Bryce Roylance.
Michael Vieira said he and Trish want to spend more time with their family.
"It's been a huge sacrifice for my entire family," Michael said.
The Vieiras will manage marketing and public relations and serve as consultants, but their plans are to start a new cattle and dairy farm in the Dominican Republic. They hope to teach and offer ecotourism to maintain farm quality and farmer relationships with consumers.
New co-owner Kent Roylance said one of the goals is to keep the milk priced so that families can afford it.
He said the purchase of the Spokane dairy is in conjunction with, but separate from, the family's longtime Brent Roylance and Sons operation in Moses Lake, Wash. They will keep the Spokane's Family Farms name. The dairy specializes in natural whole milk.
Kent said it's father Brent's dream that his sons would take farming to the next level.
Roylance and the Vieiras declined to give the purchase price.
The Vieiras kept about 48 cows on the operation. The Roylances hope to reach roughly 100-150 within the next month or so and increase distribution.
Michael said the farm has been producing 400 gallons a day and can increase to 1,000 gallons per day by the end of the year.
Kent Roylance said that they raise their own feed and want to maintain the feel of a family farm that the Vieiras created.
The Roylances are building other barns on the 80-acre property and looking to add some irrigation for possible pasture land, Kent said.
As part of the transition, the Vieiras and Roylances have entered an agreement with Zaycon Foods. Based in Spokane Valley, Wash., the company sells fresh meat and other products.
The farm also maintains its distribution through Spokane Produce. Zaycon will serve areas not served by Spokane Produce, with the possibility of expanding across the Lower 48 states. Previously, the farm's market was Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming, Vieira said.
The farm recently received third-party certification as being free of genetically modified organisms, Kent Roylance said.
Kent Roylance believes milk is getting more attention as people become more health-conscious. There's high demand, but the farm's milk is a specialty, small-scale product.
"I see more people kind of going towards that," he said. "This is an avenue that might (help) them feel a little bit better about their milk."
According to its website, the farm uses low temperature pasteurization and does not homogenize its milk.
Spokane's Family Farm: www.spokanefamilyfarm.com
Zaycon Foods: www.zayconfoods.com