Winton Pictoff, who is the coordinator of the network has put together a valuable resource, the Massachusetts Raw Milk Producer’s Handbook. We are very grateful for this piece of work, it helps us find answers to occasional questions and it will certainly help other new enterprising farmers start their raw milk dairies!
Each year there is a meeting of the farmers in the network to discuss any issues that we are facing, and what we would like the focus of the next year to be. I enjoy geting to see the other raw milk producers in the state and sharing stories and ideas.
This year the meeting was at Sidehill Farm. For those who don’t know about Sidehill, I suggest you seek out some of their yogurt and give it a try! We sell their yogurt in the Cricket Creek Farm store, and it is some of the best yogurt around!
Sidehill Farm used to be in Ashfield, but this fall and winter they have been in the process of moving to Hawley. I enjoy seeing new and different barn constructions, meeting other people’s cows, and seeing different milking parlor and milk processing systems, so I was really looking forward to the visit. They gave us a tour of their (almost finished!) facility. Below you can see their new barn. It is very open and lets a lot of light in – wonderful winter housing! The left side wall is a cloth that lets light penetrate very well, but keeps the wind out. The cows have a lovely outdoor space where they can roam and graze. Indoors is a bedded pack that keeps the cows clean and comfortable, and it is easy on their legs and feet. It is a lovely barn.
Their cows are mostly Normande, a French breed that was bred for milk that is good for cheese making and meat that makes them good for beef (can be considered dual purpose).
Thanks to Sidehill for hosting the visit, and CONGRATS to them on their new wonderful space! Remember to try out some Sidehill Farm yogurt if you get a chance.