The Robinsons are farmstead cheese makers, using only the Certified Organic milk from their 100 percent grass-fed herd of Normandy, Jersey & Holstein crossed cows, including about 35 milkers. The herd was Holstein prior to 2004, when Pamela and Ray began breeding in Normandy and Jersey to increase protein and fat in the milk. Pam says they are motivated by “the love of cheese and the existence of cows!” and it shows.
They’ve been making cheese since 2009, taking classes from the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, going to workshops in MA and VT, and lots of practice: “at first in the kitchen, then graduating to a set up in the laundry room, followed by an ancient vat in the old milk room, then finally in our new vat room in 2010,” remembers Pam.
Ray is the primary cheese maker, supervising milking, rotational grazing, haying, herd health, while doing all of this himself as well. Pam markets the cheese, manages the bookkeeping and supplies, and supervises affinage, cutting, wrapping and shipping cheese, of course sometimes doing all of this herself. Their favorite part of cheesemaking is the “sweet smell and mesmerizing sight of a warm vat of cheese curds” and “when a place like Murrays in New York likes our cheese!”
Ray, always a dairyman, is a fifth-generation family farmer, and their beautiful farm is a MA Century Farm. Pam was a nurse-midwife, retiring in 2010 to help with the cheese operation. Ray and Pam believe in following the natural seasonal rhythms of the cows on the farm. While they milk year round, they don’t milk as many cows in the winter and only once a day from October until April. “Milk production is lower this way, but the cows are much healthier, “ says Pam.
Robinson Farm produces only raw cows’ milk cheeses:
- Tekinink Tomme, aged 7 to 10 months
- A Barndance, a hard Alpine-style cheese akin to Abondance, aged 8 to 12 months
- Robinson Family Swiss, aged 6 to 10 months
- Prescott, an Alpine-style cheese akin to Comte, aged 9 to 12 months
- Hardwick Stone, American Brick, aged 6 to 9 months
- Arpeggio, Tallegio-style, aged 2 to 4 months
Awards: ACS, Big E (5 times)
Robinson Farm has a Farmstand Store that is open daily from April to October 7 AM to 7 PM Daylight Savings Time. Winter hours, November to March: 7 AM to 6 PM daily. Farm tours are available by appointment May through until October.