Chase Hill Farm is owned and operated by Mark and Jeannette Fellows. The dairy farm was established by Mark’s parents in 1957 after purchasing 200 acres from Mark’s grandmother and building the house and barn. Originally, the small herd of Holstein cows was fed with continuous grazing and hay, and milk was sold to bottling plants.
In 1984, Mark and Jeannette began managing the farm right after college. They began rotationally grazing the herd, a significant step to the farm’s success today. In 1991, they purchased the farm from Mark’s parents and switched the herd to seasonal production. Making all their milk during the green season compounds the benefits of grazing and makes the farm more financially secure, as well as giving Mark and Jeannette much-needed time off from the daily grind.
Mark and Jeannette helped found the Our Family Farms milk marketing co-op. This initial step into marketing led Mark and Jeannette to process their milk into cheese and market it in local stores and at farmers’ markets. They built their cheese plant in 2001 and switched to organic production in 2002. Also in 2001, Mark and Jeannette sold an APR restriction on their farm to the state, and used that money to purchase a neighboring farm of 75 acres that is also now protected from development.
Currently, the cow herd of Chase Hill Farm consists of 40 Normande cows and young stock. Not only the raw milk and cheeses from the dual purpose Normande cows is marketed, but the beef from the cull cows, pasture-raised veal and whey-fed pastured pork are sold as well. The cows get all of their feed from the diverse pastures and hay fields and are fed no grain or silage. Mark and Jeannette also use three draft horses to do an increasing amount of their field work, manure spreading, hay making, logging. They hope someday to power the milking system with a horse treadmill. In 2010, they installed an 8.5 Kw photovoltaic system on the barn, which supplies 55 to 60 percent of their electrical needs.
All of Chase Hill Farm’s cheeses are made from raw milk:
- Farmstead, a washed curd Colby
- Cheddar, aged 9 to 18 months
- Herdsman, aged 6 months, Alpine-style
- Feta, made in whey salt brine, aged 60+ days
- Italian Grace, Parmesan-style, aged 60+ days
- Tomme de Normande, natural rind semi-soft cheese, aged 3-4 months
- Quabbin Blue, smoky-style blue veined cheese, aged 60+ days
The farm is not open to the public.