Jonathan Wright owns the Taylor Farm in Londonderry, Vermont, and it's quite an operation. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in forestry, Jon returned to work on the Taylor Farm. He ultimately came to lease the farm for a number of years and then purchased the 22 acres that form its core in 1998. He kept the original name as a matter of tradition and respect for the Taylor family.The Wrights have about 35 milkers, 40 young stock, and a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit. While they only own 22 acres, they have a lifetime right of usage in the 550 surrounding acres held in trust by the state of Vermont, and they do a lot with it.
The Wright’s use most of their milk in their cheese-making business and ship the balance to Cabot. They have developed several unique recipes for Gouda cheese, and for more than a decade, they have been producing most of the cheese on the farm. And they don’t have to go far to sell it. They recently added a retail store to their cheese making facility, and they sell cheese, all manner of Vermont products, vegetables, and baked goods. Jon’s sister Mimi does all the baking for the shop and manages the retail store, and the whole operation is a family affair. Jon’s daughter Annie, attended the University of Vermont and worked on the farm when school was out. His other two daughters are still at home; Mollie helps with cheese making, and Leah helps out with everything, which includes giving sleigh rides.
The Wrights have countless visitors to the farm every year, and many of them come in the winter to enjoy sleigh rides. The family has several sleds and draught horse, and they have been giving sleigh rides for about two decades. It’s a long standing tradition for many local families to take a ride through the many trails of the Wrights’ surrounding woods during the holidays. Tourists, school groups, family gatherings, and people from all corners come for a snowy ride with draught horses and an old style sled to enjoy the wintery afternoon. The Wrights top off the festivities with hot chocolate and marshmallows.
In between milking cows, harvesting crops, making cheese, and giving sleigh rides, Jon still finds time to serve the community. Along the trail, he has been president of the Vermont Cheese Council and was a member of the Dairy Task Force established by then Governor Jim Douglas. He currently serves on the county Conservation Commission and sits on the board of the West River Farm Market. Says Jim, “It’s all good stuff. Everybody has to lend a hand in these small New England communities, and I’m happy to pitch in when I can.”
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