It all started when two sisters showed horses at a 4-H project. There they met the neighbors’ shows cows and they fell in love. The sisters convinced their parents to start the dairy farm on their picturesque Hinsdale, NH property in 1990 – just as many other dairy farmers were struggling to get out of the business!
Beyond selling milk, Courtney and Beth decided to produce a value added product in order to make the farm profitable. After looking at dairy products produced and sold in the area, they realized that pudding had yet to be undertaken. And so it was that Echo Farm Puddings was created. Beth says they persued this path because, “it’s not exciting seeing our product leave on a truck. You produce a quality product and you want to own it all the way down the line, you want to see the person that bought it, you want to know they are excited about what you do. For us that is definitely important.” Rather than shipping all of their milk, producing delicious pudding gives them the satisfaction of knowing they produced an excellent product that will be appreciated by those who enjoy it.
Echo Farm Puddings is experienced with selling wholesale. They work with local distributers selling in parts of New England, New York City, and Rhode Island. Selling local is important to their business philosophy. Beth says, “we have to be a community in New England if any of us are going to survive. We need to survive. I don’t think [the people who live here] should get their milk from Idaho. We’re right here!” It is because of this philosophy that Echo Farm Puddings will be joining Monadnock Menus.
Community and school outreach is also important to the sisters. Their farm is always welcome for people to tour. In the past they have allowed tour bus groups have stopped to look around at this New England Dairy farm. For years they have also been giving tours to local school children. They used to bring in fourth graders, but now they are touring kindergarten students. This experience for the children has been proven to be memorable. According to Beth “Right now we have three employees that have told us, ‘I remember touring your farm in third grade!’” Therefore, it is important to educate children about the importance of eating local foods. Beth believes “putting the infrastructure stuff in place is critical to getting off the ground.” Monadnock Menus will play a key role in being able to help local farms, like Echo Farm Puddings sell locally, and by selling to school children, a new generation will grow to believe in and support a local food economy.
by Erika Stimpson