When Bob graduated in 1982 from the University of New Hampshire with his degree in Dairy Science in hand, he quickly returned to his family farm in Westford, MA to work alongside his brother and father. The family sold the farm in 1987, so Bob and his wife Cheryl set out to purchase a farm of their own. The pair worked closely with the state's department of agriculture and found the farm in Southampton in 1989. They leased the farm for a few years and then purchased it in 1995.
Over the years, the Fletchers have upgraded the operation, and they now have 100 acres, a herd of 135 Holstein and Jersey cows, and a successful retail stand. And the farm is a family affair as oldest daughter Nicole recently returned to work there full-time after earning her degree in Dairy Science. Elizabeth, attends the University of Connecticut and helps with the retail side of the business. Matthew, in high school, focuses on the crops and field work.
While Bob and Nicole tend to milk production and raising crops, Cheryl focuses on their seasonal businesses, especially in the fall when people come from all corners in search of the perfect pumpkin. In fact, the farm has won the best pumpkin patch in all of New England from the "Baby, You're the Best" contest sponsored by New England Cable News (NECN). Over the years, thousands of local school children have visited the farm and learned first-hand lessons about agriculture, dairy farming, young animals, and country life on the Fletcher Farm.
Says Cheryl, "One of the things I love about our farm is the support we get from the community. Customers have commented over the years that they stop by because we are a family farm, and they have enjoyed watching our children grow up. They want to buy local products, and they love to take photos and watch the milking cows in the pasture along the main road." In addition to the fall business, the Fletchers also work with a Christmas tree farm in Western Massachusetts to sell locally grown trees during the holidays. Says Cheryl, "Customers want farms like ours to be part of the Massachusetts landscape."
Every day is long day on a dairy farm, and a day off is a precious thing. The Fletcher children recall when their dad took two days off to attend a farm show in New York, and he left the kids in charge. Three cows were due to calve soon, and they all decided to do it when Bob was away. The Fletcher kids were up to the task, and when Bob returned, they rewarded his trust with three new healthy calves for the herd.
Watch Bob & Cheryl talk about their farm with their local Grocery Retailer, Big Y:
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