Clemson Reach: A Premium Clemson Product

Clemson University is a land grant institution that has had a tremendous impact on the world of agriculture. Chip Carter spent some time on campus and followed some alumni around just to show us how much, in our new series “Clemson Reach.” Today, we learn about a premium family dairy that produces the famous Clemson blue cheese and ice cream.

Watson Dorn founded Hickory Hill Milk twelve years ago. He, along with his wife and son who are also Clemson alumni, produce milk for the Clemson blue cheese and their ice cream.

Dorn was originally part of a bigger dairy collective; however, he decided to take a chance, opt-out, and go independent so he could sell direct-to-consumer.

According to Dorn, “Our products are a little bit different, because we went back to the old school, the cream-line milk, where the cream rises to the top. We also don’t homogenize, and we low-temperature pasteurized. So, it’s just a healthier product.”

Even though their product is old school, their operation is not. Hickory Hill uses robotic milking machines, which not only makes it easier on the herd but also cuts down on the human labor.

“Clemson has been a front runner with stuff like their robotic barn they built. I believe they were the first in South Carolina to do so, which is a huge step in the dairy industry... We learned a lot from what they did. My whole family is a Clemson family, we love Clemson, and we’re happy to be a part and to be able to carry on a legacy like that to more generations to come.”