In 2012, Spring Brook Farm set out to identify local Vermont dairy farms with whom we could partner with in order to increase our supply of excellent milk for cheese. This would allow us to produce additional wheels of our Reading cheese as well as provide a milk source for any additional cheeses we might develop. With this in mind, we built a small milk truck that would allow us to directly haul milk from those potential partner dairies. By early 2013, we had identified two dairies that could produce milk to our exacting standards.
Our goal in working with our partner dairies has been to provide stability and sustainability to their operations by paying them a fixed price for their milk, removing them from the commodity market and the uncertainty that can come with fluctuating fluid milk prices. In exchange they have taken on the responsibility of producing milk ideally suited for our style of cheese. This includes no chemical fertilizers on the pastures, no fermented feed, and the production of dry hay that is used to feed the cows when they aren’t on pasture. This solid partnership arrangement results in a very stable milk supply for our cheeses into the future.
Jericho Hill Farm, owned by George and Linda Miller, has a herd of 30 cows and is located in Hartford, VT. George makes all the hay on and around Jericho Hill, and the cows have numerous pastures surrounding the dairy barn for grazing.
Fox Valley Farm is located in Pomfret, VT and is owned by the Lewis family. The patriarch of the family, two sons, and a grandson make up the team responsible for a herd of 60 cows on this traditional Vermont dairy farm. During the months these cows are on pasture, a red light flashes and traffic is stopped twice a day as the cows are led across the road from the pasture into the dairy barn. All the hay for this herd is made at Fox Valley Farm.
Both Jericho Hill and Fox Valley Farms are in their third generation of ownership by these families. We at Spring Brook Farm Cheese are excited to play a small part in strengthening our local Vermont agricultural community, including contributing to the long term viability of these multi-generational small dairies.