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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Farmer Heros: Mark Parrish

Boston, Mass.

It's amazing how having kids forces one to look at things in a new light! As a new father concerned about my child's health, I was determined to find milk that was free of hormones. After investigating the brands of milk sold at my local supermarket, I became distressed to learn that all contained milk from cows injected with rBGH -- a genetically synthesized hormone produced by Monsanto to increase milk production.

One day last summer at a local county fair, I stopped into a tent to for a taste-test of a locally produced milk from a farm called Crescent Ridge. Not only was the taste far superior to the brand that I had been buying for years, it was also hormone free. I became a new customer on the spot!

Crescent Ridge Dairy is a 44-acre family-run dairy operation just outside Boston, MA. The farm has been producing and directly selling milk to local residents since the late 1800s. Once surrounded by other farms and open space, Crescent Ridge is now hemmed in by encroaching housing developments. The barn and cows even look out of place in this increasingly suburban setting. But unlike many other New England dairies that have folded over the past decade, Crescent Ridge has figured out not merely how to stay in business, but how to grow in difficult times.

The Parrish family bought Crescent Ridge (CR) in 1932. Mark Parrish is the third generation of his family that has run the farm. I recently visited Mark to better understand the challenges of dairying in New England and its prospects for the future.

CR milk gets from the cow to my breakfast table in 1-3 days. Faced with intense retail competition that blocks small producers from the supermarket shelves, CR began a home delivery service as a way to boost their business. A quality product combined with home delivery has enabled CR to be one of the few independent dairies in the region that is financially viable. CR now has 8,000 home deliveries per week. Read the entire article here>>>

Can I stomp my foot and say not fair!?! We are trying to change the laws here with regards to raw milk.

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