Beth Wilson grew up on her parent’s Hancock Farm, and her love for the Ayrshire breed and dairy industry drives her to find a way to keep the farm running, as well as why they began making cheese in 2012. Beth also works as an Animal Science instructor at Smith Vocational ad Agricultural High School.
Her parents, Rickey and Sandy Evangelista, purchased the farm in 1985, planning to build equine stables. To keep the farm under Chapter 61A, they bought Ayrshires and Jerseys to milk temporarily. And today, they are still milking! Their herd is now 56 head, mostly pure-bred Ayrshires, with a handful of Guernsey and Jersey milkers at the farm as well. We shouldn’t leave out the rest of the livestock: four sows and a boar, three dogs, and four Appaloosa horses! Of course they are active in breed organizations, FFA and 4H, giving back to their community.
Dad Rickey has been milking Ayrshires all of his adult life, starting at Malden Brooks Dairy while working at his parents’ Parkway Diner in Worcester. He saved his earnings to take care of his horse Red, whom he showed all over the US and Canada. Meanwhile, Sandy took riding lessons from the Sagendorf family, which at that time owned one of the top Ayrshire herds in the world. She studied animal science at Stockbridge School of Agriculture and UMass, and loved to ride. The two met showing their horses! After Beth was born, they bought the 1735 land-grant Hancock Farm while working other jobs. Today, Beth’s husband Chris Wilson drives the milk trucks to Salem for processing, while Beth supervises cheesemaking at the farm. Everyone helps, and Chris’s specialty is also the mozzarella he makes there.
Today, the family puts their extensive husbandry and farm management skill to use to produce the high-quality milk they use for their cheeses. Some of the milk is processed for bottled milk, cream, and ice cream. Their products are sold through their home delivery and farmers’ markets.
Beth describes their philosophy, “Our cows are on pasture year round with the option to go inside. From mid-May to mid-October or from when the grass starts to grow to when the grass stops growing, the cows’ diet consists of pasture and grain that has selenium as our soils are deficient in this vital nutrient that cows need. When the grass runs out the cows are feed corn silage and haylage.” Hancock Farm also works to use ecofriendly packaging for their products.
Hancock Farm’s cheeses are made from pasteurized milk, and they include:
Mozzarella, classic and traditional
Farmer’s Cheese, a high-moisture fresh cheese
Hancock Farm is not open to the public, but does home delivery in the area.
For more information and inquiries, please contact: