While dairy farms in New England are struggling to stay afloat, Windyhurst Farm in Westmoreland is not only keeping its business going and growing, it’s also bringing education to the community and helping those in need… in any way they can.
Windyhurst is a multi-generational dairy farm that began operation in the 1940s. Lois Adams, a widow, married Lawrence Leach, who owned a farm in Westmoreland. Eventually, her son, Roger, ran the farm after Lawrence passed away. The family has been working together ever since to keep things running smoothly. Currently Stuart Adams, of Stuart and John’s Sugar House and Restaurant, along with his wife, Robyne, and their children, have been working hard at the farm.
With dairy farms already struggling before COVID-19 moved into the area, the pandemic really hit hard. Alisha Powell, Stuart’s daughter — feeling helpless at the time — wanted to do something for the local families struggling within the community and felt she needed to figure out a way to bring attention to struggling dairy farms in New England as well.
New Hampshire only has about 90 dairy farms left. The smaller ones not only provide local produce to communities, but their small size allows them the ability to treat their animals better. It hasn’t been an easy road, keeping these farms small and in business as they are constantly competing against large factory farms in addition to these tough economic times.
In Powell’s effort to find a solution to the area’s growing problems, she met with the Keene Community Kitchen and Feeding Tiny Tummies to discuss with them some ways in which Windyhurst Farm and Stuart and John’s could help the community. They devised a plan to collect money through donations through Stuart and John’s, as well as online donations; they used that money to buy milk for those in need. Milk is distributed through the Keene Community Kitchen, Feeding Tiny Tummies and House of Hope, a halfway house located in Keene.
Every week, people who come to the sugar house restaurant can add money to their bill, which helps in the efforts to donate milk. Each donation is usually about $3 or more. People can also donate online if they aren’t able to get to the restaurant. In their first week, they raised enough money to buy and donate about 60 gallons. The charities receiving the donations get the milk each week. The total number of gallons donated as of last week (since starting the charity) is 1,100.
The farm doesn’t process its own milk. It is picked up twice a day and brought to the HP Hood facility in Concord where it is processed and distributed. Every week, Powell works with the recipients of the donations to see what they need, and the milk is then purchased from Market Basket, using those codes to find the milk local to this area.
Although Windyhurst’s milk isn’t available directly through supermarkets, you can find other local milk at grocery stores. Powell noted that any local supermarket-brand milk or Hood with the code 33-08 on the container is local to this area. You can also go to whereismymilkfrom.com to find other code information.
Windyhurst Farm has also been working on a project with Natural Resources Conservation Service, (NRCS), to grow three different pollinator-friendly wildflower plots. These plots help attract honeybees and pollinators such as butterflies. The experiment went well this year and the flowers are still in bloom and buzzing with pollinators. Photographers come out all the time to take photos of all the flowers in bloom.
Though Stuart and John’s has much more of a presence than Windyhurst Farm, the family welcomes anyone to visit. They offer tours and education of the dairy industry and agriculture. People play games in their field and enjoy the open spaces the farm has to offer. Windyhurst also sells their beef at Stuart and John’s and hope to offer cut-your-own sunflowers next year, after having a successful time growing them this summer.
Windyhurst Farm is located on Route 63 in Westmoreland, across the street from Stuart and John’s Sugarhouse and Restaurant. For more information call (603) 399-7111 or email email@example.com.