Any time I have an opportunity to visit a farm to see firsthand where my food comes from I take advantage of it. #FarmLove Whether it’s a raspberry farm, almond or orange grove, or dairy farm you can count me in! Last October I visited Great Brook Farm, one of the dairy farms in the Cabot Creamery Co-operative. Did you know that Cabot is owned by the farmers, and all the profits go back to them? Pretty cool, don’t you think?
Great Brook Farm is located on 300 acres of the Great Brook State Park in Carlisle, Massachusetts, one of the only parks in the country with a working dairy farm.
Almost 30 years ago the Duffy family was selected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to operate the previously abandoned farm. Today, they are proud members of the Cabot Cooperative. Here are Mark and his wife Tamma, with their daughter, Marlow, on the left. Farming is often a family affair and the Duffy family is no exception, with sons Chris & Blake also helping on the farm.
For the past 4 years, on a Sunday in October, Cabot and the farmers have opened select dairy farms in New England for the public to visit and tour, as a way of thanking their customers. This year the weather did not cooperate, with many of the locations experiencing significant rainfall. Since much of New England has suffered a serious drought this summer, it was hard to complain. Rain boots and rain jackets were the attire du jour!
The cows didn’t seem to mind the rain since there were happy in the barn relaxing on their waterbeds. You heard that right – the cows at Great Brook Farm have warm waterbeds! And they can saunter over to be milked whenever they want to, 24/7.
A state-of-the-art voluntary milking system with a smart barn and robotic milker was installed in 2011. Great Brook Farm has the only robotic milking barn in Massachusetts! Cows enter the milking stall and munch on grains while a robotic machine automatically milks them. Each cow gives three to five gallons of milk per visit and visits the robot two to three times per day.
The hearty guests who did visit were treated to a tour of the dairy farm, a scavenger hunt, and samples of the world’s best Cheddar and mac and cheese. It’s hard to believe, but the Duffys host over 100,000 visitors per year.
Like so many farm families, the Duffys do whatever it takes to make the farm successful. When milk prices are low, as they are now, dairy farmers need to find other ways to get revenue. The Duffys sell composted cow manure, plow town roads in the winter, and operate retail farm and ice cream stands. The ice cream stand offers 61 flavors of ice cream. ☺ And, if you must know, I tried three flavors: pumpkin, ginger, and coconut almond bar!
Great Brook Farm is just one of the 1,000 dairy farms that are part of the Cabot Creamery Cooperative in New England and New York. It was such fun meeting some of the farmers responsible for Cabot’s award-winning cheeses, cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. #FarmLove
If you want to learn more you can watch the Facebook LIVE videos we made during Open Farm Sunday. Enjoy!