More than 90 years ago we began a journey that we continue today – to bring to the people of Northern New England The Natural Goodness of Maine one glass at a time. And to do that we depend on our 70 independent Maine farms to supply us with fresh, high-quality milk that is also free of artificial growth hormone — a commitment we made to consumers in 1997 and continue to live by today.
We reward our farmers financially for taking our pledge not to use artificial growth hormone and for overall quality. Annually, we evaluate each farm for milk quality, cow health and farm cleanliness and select our top 10 farms. We recently gathered with many of our farmers at the University of Southern Maine in Portland for our annual producers meeting and announced our top ten list for overall quality and our Producer of the Year for 2013. For the second year in a row, Chartrand Farm, operated by Elroy and Constance Chartrand and located in Somerset County, claimed the top honor. Below is a list of the top 10 farms that received recognition for overall quality:
- Producer of the Year — Chartrand Farm of Norridgewock
- #2 Overall Quality Award — Smith Farm (Larry Smith) of Bangor
- #3 Overall Quality Award — Twin Meadow Farm (Keith Scott) of Charleston
- #4 Overall Quality Award — R.E. Hemond, Inc. (Noella Hemond) of Minot
- #5 Overall Quality Award — Broadcrest Farm (Andrew Sevey) of Ripley
- #6 Overall Quality Award — Misty Meadows Farm (John and Belinda Stoughton) of Clinton
- #7 Overall Quality Award — Hemond Hill Farm (John and Irene Hemond) of Minot
- #8 Overall Quality Award — Highland Farms, Inc. (Libby Bleakney) of Cornish
- #9 Overall Quality Award — Silver Maple Farms (The McKeen Family) of Albion
- #10 Overall Quality Award — Leary Farm (Tim Leary) of Saco
Four farms also received our Perfect Farm Score, which means they earned flawless inspection reports in 2013 — two from Oakhurst and two from the Maine Department of Agriculture. Our Perfect Farm Score farms are Smith Farm (Larry Smith) of Bangor; Halledge Farm (Russell Hall) of Windham, Hemond Hill Farm (John and Irene Hemond) of Minot and Gold Top Farm (John Ingraham) of Knox.
Farms were also presented with certificates for having earned the highest marks in our individual milk quality categories. Smith Farm (Larry Smith) of Bangor walked away with two individual category awards and Twin Meadow Farm (Keith Scott) of Charleston rounded out the individual category awards.
The farmers who supply our milk play an extremely important role in our business and their work is unrelenting. For those that don’t know it, dairy farmers usually rise by 4 a.m. to milk and feed their cows. By 4 p.m., the cows must be milked again. In between milkings, the days are devoted to cleaning the barn, fixing fences, farm buildings and machinery, haying and taking care of newborn calves. Dairy farming requires an unwavering dedication to the cows, seven days and week, 365 days a year. There’s always plenty to do on a dairy farm and there’s always a never-ending chore list.
At Oakhurst, we have relied on that dedication since 1921. Congratulations to all our farms and thank you for your dedication and enduring commitment to quality every day!