Imagine not too long ago, there were approximately 80 dairy farms in this little state of Rhode Island. Many have disappeared for all the reasons you can imagine.
Rhody Fresh is a cooperative of 8 dairy farms, along with other contributing partners. There are really 9 farmers in the coop but one had knee replacement surgery and, we are happy to report, the cows are still working for the coop with another farmer. That is the spirit of a coop.
The size of the Rhode Island dairy farms vary from 50 acres to upwards of 400 acres with 50 to over 100 head of milking cows. Most of the farms have at least two breeds and vary from Holsteins, Jerseys, Ayrshire, Guernsey’s and Milking Shorthorns.
When was the last time you visited a dairy farm? Take the kids – it’s a great experience. These Rhode Island farms are beautiful stretches of land that make you feel good that they’re still here among us and managed by folks who love farming.
Jim Hines, Executive Director of Rhode Island Farms Cooperative, said, “we reached our 3 year sales goal within 6 months.” That’s an incredible start up business statistic. Regarding production today, Jim said, “Most farmers talk in hundredweight or pounds of milk rather than gallons when referring to their production. The actual production in gallons is 2,675 per day.”
The milk is trucked to a processing plant in New Britain, CT called Guida’s Dairy. It (the milk) is tested, homogenized and packaged for distribution to the local Rhode Island markets. And, many Rhode Island stores sell Rhody Fresh milk. Find a store close to you. www.rhodyfresh.com.
The big deal today, if you’ve seen any of the latest food documentaries, is ‘where does your food come from’. With all the news about Grow Local, Buy Local, Eat Local, there’s almost no excuse not to know where your food comes from these days.
Local farmers and their consuming customers are back to an old time relationship that went awry over the last 30 years. Ah, the good ole’ days. It’s nothing short of magnificent.
Many of us can say that our great relatives lived off a farm, or maybe next door to one that shared their goods. It’s a tough working day, but the sense of pride is unmatched. Visit their website at www.rhodyfresh.com. Take drive to visit one of the farms. Stay tuned for the next article about Farm Fresh RI – a cooperative of the best local produce and other wonderful products.
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