WESTFIELD – As the owners of Pomeroy Dairy on Russellville Road continue to adapt to changing times, the brother and sister team of Randy Pomeroy and Rachel Pomeroy-Monahan are bullish on their latest endeavor – cheesemaking – which has just marked its first year of operation.
“It has been an accomplishment,” said Pomeroy-Monahan, adding, “We have been able to grow mostly because of the support of our customers. We really appreciate them and that they are willing to try new things.”
Pomeroy-Monahan noted the decision to begin cheesemaking had been on the table for several years.
“When we made the decision not to open the sugarhouse, we then converted the space into a processing center,” said Pomeroy-Monahan, noting four generations have worked the farm.
“Every generation it gets harder to keep the farm going since milk prices do not increase but the cost of feed does,” she said. “I love working with cows. With our products we can set our own prices and it is a way for the community to help keep our farm open.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic this past spring, Pomeroy-Monahan noted their customers were “fantastic.”
“When the coronavirus hit, people wanted to support us,” she said. “We are barely able to keep up with the demand and we are flattered by it.”
Since there are multiple chores each day on the farm to be accomplished – including milking the cows – Pomeroy-Monahan admits she needs more time for the creamery.
“It’s always a challenge to find time to get everything done,” she said.
Pomeroy-Monahan relishes the process of cheesemaking which she says is “really simple.”
After she milks the cows, the milk is cooled and then transferred to the processing center.
“In less than 18 hours we go from the cow to cheese,” she said.
Products available in their farm store range from a wide variety of yogurts and cheese curds to cannoli dips.
“By far our best seller is the Maple Yogurt,” said Pomeroy-Monahan, noting the maple syrup is from their sugaring process. “We also make our own maple cream and yogurt. People absolutely love it. We make everything that goes into it.”
Yogurt offerings also range from blueberry and strawberry flavorings to raspberry, French vanilla and plain.
Cheese curds are also available in a variety of flavors with the most popular being Garlic-Parsley.
“Cheese curds are great to cook with and make a great snacking food – especially with beer,” she said.
Cheese curd flavors range from plain and garlic-parsley to buffalo.
Cannoli dips are also available – including a Chocolate Chip Cannoli Dip. Twelve-ounce containers sell for $7 and eight-ounce containers are $5.
“The Chocolate Chip Cannoli Dip is a sweet, high protein, creamy combination of our yogurt and ricotta,” said Pomeroy-Monahan, adding, “try it with fruit, pretzels, graham crackers or cannoli shells.”
On a recent Facebook post, Pomeroy-Monahan suggested a kid-friendly plate of cheese curds and cannoli dip as an alternative treat.
“Cheese curds are a soft, mild cheese that kids love and the cannoli dip is packed with protein,” she said, adding, “The plate is made with our yogurt and ricotta and just enough sugar to make it a delicious snack.”
Farm fresh eggs are also offered at the farm store, as well as beef from Pomeroy-Monahan’s husband Mike’s Monahan Meadows Farm.
“Since the farm store is open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily, there might be a time when someone is not in the store,” said Pomeroy-Monahan, noting that cameras are set up around the business. “Since the farm store is self-serve, we run the farm store as cash only and encourage customers to have small bills with them.”
Pomeroy-Monahan noted she also reassures customers that strict cleaning and sanitizing standard operating procedures are in place to protect the products from contamination.
“I am ServSafe certified, educated and tested on proper food handling and environmental cleaning standards,” she said. “In addition to these standards we sanitize the farm store multiple times per day, and we are supplying Lysol wipes for customers to clean the fridge handle and cash box before they touch it.”
For the latest news on the farm – as well as when Pomeroy-Monahan restocks the refrigeration units – check out the Pomeroy Dairy Facebook page.
“Our fantastic group of customers is really what makes this work,” she said. “So thank you! Thank you for driving to our farm to support us, for trying our new products, and for maintaining the farming neighborhood.”
Pomeroy-Monahan also thanked friends and family for their ongoing support with farm life.
“Our friends and family are always here to help us,” she said. “They have been a huge part of getting through this year helping us rebuild our barn and getting everything else done on the farm that needs to be done.”