New Dairy Manager and Award-Winning Cheese-maker, John Miller, to Direct Production and Sale of Additional Local Dairy Products
The Trustees of Reservations announced today that Appleton Farms, the nation’s oldest continually operating farm, has broken ground on a retail farm shop and hired an award-winning cheese-maker to oversee its growing dairy operation. The additions to the farm staff and facilities will support sales of the farm’s grass-fed, bottled Jersey milk to the public, and will allow Appleton Farms to sell other dairy products from the milk produced by its grass-fed, Jersey herd, most notably butter and cheese. Yogurt, ice cream and gelato are also possibilities. The new dairy business marks the first time the farm, which has operated a community-supported agriculture program for 10 years, has been able to offer its products to the general public and further establishes Appleton Farms as a leading advocate for local food within the North Shore’s flourishing and expanding local food scene.
Milk sales to the public will begin in early November, after construction of the retail shop is complete. The shop, located in the barn nearest the farm entrance on Route 1A in Ipswich, will be open year-round Monday through Friday from 2-6 PM. Green Meadows Farm in South Hamilton has also agreed to sell the milk. The farm is currently considering other select, off-site retail locations as well.
“This is an exciting milestone in Appleton Farms’ history,” said Farm Director David Beardsley. “We’re thrilled to be producing fresh, local milk, which is growing in popularity and demand, for North Shore families. We couldn’t have done it without the dedicated effort of staff, volunteers and partners, whose leadership in restoring our dairy facilities and building the herd made it possible.”
John Miller, who joined the farm staff on October 13th as Dairy Manager, will direct the production and sale of all dairy products on the farm. Widely recognized as one of the state’s top artisanal cheese-makers, Miller’s cheeses consistently win national and international awards and have been featured in Boston-area restaurants for years. Miller is also a tenth-generation dairy farmer with decades of experience working with Jersey cows, the breed in Appleton’s milking herd. Miller relocated to Ipswich from Charlemont, MA and is one of six farm staff living on Appleton Farms.
“In addition to the milk, we’ll be making a wide variety of fresh and aged cheeses, butter, and other Jersey-milk products” said Miller. “Jerseys are an ideal breed for this sort of operation. They produce milk of superior flavor and that contains higher levels of important nutrients, like protein and calcium. We are excited to share these high quality products with the North Shore community and beyond.”
The farm launched its new milk bottling operation in partnership with Puleo’s Dairy, which pasteurizes and bottles Appleton’s milk at the Puleo’s plant in Salem.
“We were specifically looking for a North Shore partner who used glass bottles and vat pasteurization, which is less damaging to the milk than the pasteurization methods of most bottlers,” said Beardsley. “Puleo’s Dairy does both, making them an ideal partner. The combination of creamy Jersey milk and vat pasteurization produces milk with a flavor that can’t be matched.”
Appleton Farms began selling its bottled milk in early October to the approximately 800 full and partial shareholders in its community-supported agriculture program, with much fanfare. Sales of butter, cheese and other dairy products are scheduled for early 2012. Those products, which Miller and his staff will produce on the farm, will also be available to public and sold in the retail farm shop.
America’s oldest continuously operating farm, Appleton Farms was founded in 1636 by Samuel Appleton and helped to introduce dairy farming to the American colonies. Subsequent generations of the Appleton family worked the farm until 1998, when Joan Appleton donated the property to The Trustees of Reservations. With the support of dedicated volunteers and donors, The Trustees spent years rebuilding the farm’s infrastructure. In addition to the dairy, the farm is home to one of New England’s most successful community-supported agriculture programs, which provides fresh, local vegetables to approximately 800 families with full or partial shares.