On Cabot farms, a mixed herd generally means the farmers have cows beyond the classic black and white-splotched Holsteins. At the Hayes family’s Sweet Pea Farm, on the other hand, it could describe the fact that they raise both dairy cows and dairy goats side by side. The dairy cow tradition goes back at least eight generations to the 1820s for Stanley and Dorothy Hayes, who have gradually expanded and diversified the farm as their three grown children have all fallen in love with farming.
Today, two generations of the Hayes family work together to care for their animals as well as craft and market delicious specialty dairy products. Several have won awards at the Big E cheese competition and local customers can’t get enough of their whole milk (it comes in chocolate, too), velvety yogurt and fresh cheeses like goat chevre rolled in crushed pink peppercorns or briny feta. Dorothy and Stanley’s daughter Ellen Whitlow and her husband Brian are now raising her own two little ones on the farm. “I love farming because it means I get to work with my family and no matter how hard it may seem there always seems to be some sort of reward like watching a calf you raised grow up to be a cow,” Ellen says.