Susan Shields handles the milking at Lolans Farm, which has been in her family since 1946. Her husband Sam had worked on a dairy farm as a teenager and studied agriculture at the University of New Hampshire but he did not come from a farming family. When he met Susan, he gained both a great life partner and a farm. The couple went into partnership with Susan’s parents before they ultimately took over the operation in 1997. They raised their three children on the farm, and while none have gone into dairy farming, Susan says, “There’s no better place to raise a family. The kids helped out, had chores, learned responsibility and developed a love of the land.”
The farm is about 15 miles from the ocean in southern Massachusetts, just above the Cape and sees more than its share of visitors. While the cows and the crops take up most of their time, the Shields also run a farm stand and sell composted cow manure fertilizer, which helps both the environment and their bottom line. Susan has a large vegetable garden on the farm, raises laying chickens and grows flowers to sell.
The couple was involved in 4-H for years and Sam served as vice-chairman of the Massachusetts State Dairy Promotion Board. Groups like schools and scout troops come through for pre-organized tours but, says Susan, many of the best moments occur when someone stops by for some tomatoes or a dozen eggs, strikes up a conversation and ask for a tour of the farm. She always tries to make time to accommodate.