Pine Hill Dairy
by Kate Levin
Photos: Kate Levin ©2014
No visit to the charming seaside farming town of Westport would be complete without a stop at Pine Hill Dairy. Situated on a mostly-wooded 70-acre parcel, it is Westport’s first licensed raw milk dairy. The Ferry family, local dairy farmers for nearly four generations, purchased the property in the mid 80s, leasing it until the infrastructure on the farm fell into disrepair. The senior Mr. Ferry then put the property into hay production. In 2011, his son Andrew took a leap of faith: he asked his father to allow him to restore the dairy farm, manage a herd of his own, and operate a raw milk dairy.
The response? “He supported me a hundred percent,” says Andrew. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without him. I learned so much from him. We grow the feed together, mix the feed ingredients together; I help him and he helps me. I have watched how hard he has worked all my life, long days, every day, year round and the profits just go down year after year. I want to do it another way.”
No stranger to hard work or long days himself, Andrew starts before sunrise. Mornings begin around 5:00 am with cleaning. “I feel like I am ALWAYS cleaning!” jokes Andrew. “You can’t imagine how much cleaning I do every day.” He shakes his head and chuckles. Once the barn is cleaned and the parlor is readied, “the girls” are brought in for their morning milking. Andrew manages a mixed herd of 45 cows. “Swiss are my favorite,” says Andrew. “They are so docile and friendly. They can be stubborn though, kinda like a really big dog,” he adds. After the morning milking there’s more cleaning, feeding, and the never-ending list of projects that require attention.
Providing a comfortable life for his cows is the first step in delivering a safe and delicious product to his customers. Andrew has his milk tested three times more often than is required by the state for a license to sell unpasteurized milk to the public. Andrew’s most recent investment in the farm was to purchase equipment that will allow him to test the milk in house, before every bottling. “Ultimately,” Andrew says, “the only way to produce a clean, consistently good milk is to be here every day. It’s more than just a job, it’s my life.”
Building community is what motivated Andrew to choose a raw milk dairy as his business model, and community is what made his plan a reality. Andrew credits a very supportive farming community and lots of willing helping hands with making his dream come true. Andrew bottles his milk to order, along with a little extra which he keeps on hand at the self-serve farm stand. He sells excess milk to the Dairy Farmers of America co-op to minimize waste and sustain himself while he grows his raw milk market. Andrew recommends calling ahead to arrange for your milk to be bottled to order.
Pine Hill Dairy
272 Pine Hill Road
Westport, MA 02790
KNOW YOUR FARM
It is difficult to avoid the controversy surrounding the practices of industrial farming and factory raised animals. From animal confinement and quality of care to the overuse of antibiotics and the reality of GMO feed, many consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to look the other way and continue to put this “food” on their plates. The solution, though simple, often feels challenging: source your animal proteins from farmers you know and trust, who abstain from routine antibiotic use and GMO-laden feed and who raise their animals on pasture, allowing them to have the quality of life they are naturally intended to enjoy.
In Southeastern Massachusetts, this seemingly insurmountable task is made easy thanks to the hard work of John and Carolyn Dufort of Dufort Farms. Entering its 25th year, Dufort Farms sits on 32 acres of historic farmland in the heart of rural Rehoboth. An additional 120 acres of leased land provides ample fields and forage for their pasture-raised livestock. The Duforts pride themselves on raising the highest quality meat using age-old methods, including nutritious grass blends, rotational grazing, and humane treatment of animals. And all of their products are grown or raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics. Carolyn and John Dufort began farming because they wanted to live and eat, simply. “Cows were meant to be on pasture, pigs are meant to forage. It’s what they do. They weren’t meant to be raised on grain or in confined spaces,” says Carolyn.
The Duforts sell their farm-raised pork and USDA-certified grass fed beef, as well as their honey and homemade jams and jellies, directly to the consumer, year round at their on-farm store and at many area farmers’ markets.
And keep in mind that from July through September Dufort Farms offers one of the area’s best “Pick-your-own” opportunities in their field of 1000 blueberry bushes.
55 Reservoir Avenue
Rehoboth, MA 02769
Milestones to Celebrate!
Open space, gorgeous sunsets, music, friendly people focused on and enthusiastic about great wine and local food…ahh, life in wine country! No need to head to California; our very own Coastal Wine Trail is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and you are invited! Officially known as the Eastern New England American Viticultural Appellation, our region is home to an amazing assortment of boutique wineries from Cape Cod to Connecticut. Members within the eSS&SC community include: Travessia Urban Winery with its refined, modern tasting room in the heart of New Bedford; Westport Rivers Winery with its rolling hills and stunning vistas; Coastal Vineyards with its pastoral charm; and the equally charming Running Brook Vineyard in Dartmouth. A day or weekend trip along the Coastal Wine Trail is a fabulous way to explore the back roads of our region! While each winery has its own distinct personality, all 10 wineries of the Coastal Wine Trail feature locally-grown and -produced wines. Visit their website for a wineries “passport” as well as information about special events, wine clubs, and offers.
While you are traveling around the South Coast, don’t miss the opportunity to experience a true hidden gem: Sid Wainer & Son’s Gourmet Outlet. Located just outside of downtown New Bedford, Sid Wainer & Son is a fourth-generation family business celebrating its 100th anniversary. Over the past century, the company has grown from a small produce cart to a national produce and specialty foods business including its own farms and an urban greenhouse. Located at the company’s headquarters in New Bedford, the Gourmet Outlet offers a distinctive shopping experience. Indulge in samples of prepared recipes featuring unique ingredients and creative uses of everyday pantry items, get lost among hundreds of cheeses in the 1000-square-foot cheese cave, and find endless inspiration in the climate-controlled produce section. From unique specialty products like cherimoya, truffle honey, ginger vinegar, yuzu marmalade, and Syrian pumpkin seed oil to their fabulous selection of mushrooms and edible flowers, alongside the best in seasonal local produce, the Gourmet Outlet brings you the hottest food trends each season from the simple to the sublime. The Gourmet Outlet also features product from many of our region’s farms, including Farming Turtles, Four Town Farm, Sampson Farm, Ward’s Berry Farm, and Quansett Nurseries just to name a few. Stock your pantry or picnic basket—Sid Wainer & Son’s Gourmet Outlet is sure to inspire!
Sid Wainer & Son’s Gourmet Outlet
2301 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02746
Kate Levin is an artistic, sarcastic, curious, concerned, introspective extrovert working as a photographer/writer/marketer and living on the endlessly beautiful Southcoast of Massachusetts with her partner, their nine-year-old vegetarian taxidermy enthusiast, and a Bernese Mountain Dog who thinks he’s a cat.