Our Must Be The Milk team recently met with several leaders at Stonewall Farm in Keene, New Hampshire to learn more about their operation. One interesting thing we learned during our meeting—besides how beautiful the Monadnock region looks in the winter—is that Stonewall Farm is creating a milk and dairy CSA! You may already be familiar with fruit, vegetable, or even seafood Community Supported Agriculture programs, but dairy CSAs are a bit unique.
So what is a CSA anyway, you may ask, and what is so great about it? To participate in CSA, a customer purchases local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. The farmer offers a certain number of “shares” each year, and customers are invited to purchase them at the beginning of the season. Each week, the customer visits the farm or meets the farmer at a local market to receive whatever edible treasures the farmer has produced that week. CSAs make it possible for customers to learn more about where their food comes from, and farmers are able to share their knowledge about the products they produce.
This is the first year of Stonewall Farm’s Milk CSA, but the farm has a long history as an operating dairy. The farm employs two full-time dairy farmers who manage a herd of 30 Brown Swiss and Holstein cows. The pricing of the CSA shares are flexible, and customers have their choice of the quantity of milk, yogurt, and cheese they would like to buy based on the needs of their households.
If the idea of enjoying fresh dairy products right from the farm has you intrigued, how about actually working on the farm? Stonewall Farm School is offering a year‐long program for those interested in small scale organic dairy and vegetable farming. Students will gain hands-on farming skills along with business management and marketing training to provide a comprehensive background in all aspects of successful small scale farming. The farm also operates a micropasteurizing plant, and students will learn how to pasteurize and bottle yogurt and milk. The farm is now accepting applications for its farm school program, which begins in the fall.