Arvin Decker began milking when he was fourteen years old and will tell you he has “always had a passion for milking.”
However, financial difficulties selling milk forced Decker to quit his passion.
A state inspector urged Decker to get back into milking and begin bottling his own milk and about a year later, Hill Crest Creamery was started.
Decker wanted to create “good wholesome milk for the people,” and he has done exactly that: and more.
“We are on the road. It's kind of like a journey, you can't get to your destination right away. We are working to create a nutrient-dense product,” Decker said.
Hill Crest Creamery takes pride in having their milk and their cows be antibiotic-free.
“We used antibiotics for therapeutic only. We maintain rigid withdrawals required by the state. All milk is screened. All animals are screened before the milk is submitted. Antibiotics are only used to treat illnesses. We stick to natural homeopathic ways, with using vitamins and that type of therapy, trying to minimize all of synthetic inputs,” Decker explained.
Hill Crest Creamery, located at 635 Willow Branch Rd in DeRidder, offers locally made milk, yogurt, cream, buttermilk and pasteurized eggs with an environmentally friendly outlook.
Hill Crest Creamery gets its milk from a small herd of about 24 cows. Decker says he is focused on creating a “nutrient-dense milk” and contributes this to his lack of using pesticides and herbicides.
“We are pasteurizing it at the minimum the state allows which is 145, meaning it is not homogenized,” Decker says. “We are working with the fields trying to take care of the fields. We stay away from herbicides and pesticides. It has allowed the natural insect population to stabilize as a result of not using those pesticides.”
Hill Crest Creamery offers a unique experience at their farm store.
“We go off the honor system in the farm store. It has been a great experience. We have people there to help you if you need it. You put your money in the money box on the window next to a price list and you get the products you want,” Decker said.
Decker says there have been a few problems with those not following the honor system, but security cameras have since taken care of that issue. He wants the red roof farm store to be a place people can come shop with their family, pick out what they want, and go about their day.
The creamery offers whole milk, 2%, chocolate milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, yogurt, farm fresh eggs, a variety of jellies and more.
Hill Crests chocolate milk is a fan favorite being called, “like drinking chocolate ice cream from a cup.”
Hill Crest offers a family experience of dairy farming, where you can see the milking process while shopping for your farm-fresh favorites.
Hill Crest Creamery products are also available at Soileau’s and Cash and Carry.
Paypal is also accepted in the farm store.
For more information on Hill Crest Creamery visit them on Facebook.