All photos/art by Michael Piazza
A Connecticut family dairy revives a time-honored tradition: farm-fresh milk, in glass bottles, delivered right to your door.
This is Maisy,” Anne Dugas says, gesturing to a stall occupied by one of the 30 or so milking cows at Smyth’s Trinity Farm in Enfield, Connecticut. She says it the way you’d introduce a friend or a family member, which, of course, Maisy is. “You can see that she’s chewing her cud, which tells us she’s comfortable and happy–just what we like to see.”
With her 3-year-old son, Beau, trailing behind her, Anne heads down the neat twin rows of the milking barn. It’s a warm day, and the air is heady with the aroma of hay and manure, punctuated by the occasional “moo …” in a hearty baritone. Anne stops and rests her hand on a bale of hay, mowed a few weeks earlier by her younger brother, Peter. “You just have to smell this,” she urges. “The cows love it. It really smells like it’s supposed to–like fresh grass.”
Since 1995, the milk from the Trinity herd has made its way into pint- and quart-sized glass bottles for local home and wholesale delivery. The farm’s milk, flavored milks, seasonal eggnog, cream, and yogurt are also available for sale at the on-site store and at local farmers’ markets. Trinity is one of a dozen or so New England dairies reviving the “moo to you” home-delivery tradition, with service to the surrounding Connecticut towns of Enfield, Somers, Suffield, Windsor Locks, and Ellington, plus Longmeadow, Massachusetts. (For a list of other New England dairy farms that deliver locally, go to: YankeeMagazine.com/more)
The Smyth/Dugas family has been running Trinity Farm since 1984, when Anne’s father, Mike Smyth, decided to leverage years of experience in the dairy industry and start his own operation. His wife, Dale, and children joined him, and nearly three decades later, three generations divide up the work: tending to the herd, milking, running the farmers’ market operation, balancing the books, and running deliveries.
Many customers are first lured by the old-fashioned appeal of weekly visits from the milkman–but the quality of Trinity’s milk is what keeps them. Supermarket milk is made by blending products from multiple dairies, and what it gains in consistency it may lose in taste. Trinity’s customers enjoy “single dairy” milk from the farm’s own cows. Unlike factory-farm cows, the Trinity herd isn’t dosed with hormones, and their diet is grass-based. Even the skim milk tastes rich and creamy.
The packaging makes a difference, too. “Glass prevents the milk from absorbing odors,” Anne explains. “And after the bottles are returned to us, we sterilize them and use them again.”
Cow comfort and well-being are important, too, Anne adds. “Milk that comes from cows who are happy and well-cared-for transfers through to the customer,” she notes. “When customers visit our store here at the farm, stop and see us at the farmers’ market, or sign up for home delivery, we hear time and time again how much better the milk tastes, and we know it starts with our cows. We love being able to provide that.”
Smyth’s Trinity Farm 4 Oliver Road, Enfield, CT. 860-745-0751; smythstrinityfarm.com
Find a sampling of New England dairies that deliver.