Jump to content

Blue Highland Dairy


Recommended Posts

Two weeks in a row now I've had milk from Blue Highland Dairy that I bought at Dupont that was subpar. Last time it had already turned when I first opened it. This time, it was bad tonight. I just bought it on Sunday and I keep it cold -- even transferring it from dupont in an cooler in my car.

Does anyone else buy their milk and have you found issues with it recently?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad news to report: Adam Cook, the nice, quiet young farmer who sold wonderful milk, butter, yogurt & cream cheese at the market at Dupont Circle is losing his farm.

His dairy in West Virginia is very small and as a result, simply could not make the kind of profit required to keep up with substantial loan payments. When starting his business, he had the option of sending his milk elsewhere to be processed. My understanding of both situation and science is limited, but it seems that kind of arrangement meant that his milk would be heated to a higher temperature that would adversely affect the taste. Thus, the burden of his loans became overwhelming as he invested in his own equipment.

There are plenty of loans out there for small farmers, but no subsidies. CSA programs can't help a dairy that is only a dairy.

Because of the downpour yesterday, there were few shoppers at the market. One young woman came to the tent up front because she had ventured out only for the milk and wanted to know why she couldn't find Adam. It was only then, after helping her search, that I learned why. It was the first any of us were told of his plight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just logged in to read a very kind message from yet another concerned person asking if there is anything we could do.

I don't know. I actually hesitated this morning before sharing the news since I didn't wish to seem disrespectful of Adam and the hardship that his family faces. However, I did post out of a mad or wishful belief that someone reading the grim report might be able to do something. Also, Adam Cook's own sense of dignity and silence moved me. He didn't ask for help and didn't inform the folk at FreshFarm Markets of the increasing difficulty he was facing.

The dairy's loans are substantial and they have already been deferred. Immediate repayment is being demanded. The consequences of not being able to repay are selling the farm, the cows and all the equipment he purchased.

Small farms are hard to run successfully, dairies especially so. You just can't charge $10 for a quart of milk to make ends meet. Look at how much we complain about the prices we pay at the farmer's market here. Many of us have gotten to know Adam just a little, but this is what is happening to men and women all across the country.

This is why--so I've been told--the U.S. Census Bureau does not list "Farmer" as an occupation on its surveys. My source? The founder of a small investment firm who grew up on a farm in California and every so often comes to Dupont Circle to help run the market. There are simply too few going into that line of work or willing to assume control of their family's farms once parents age. Farmlands are being sold and put to different use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just logged in to read a very kind message from yet another concerned person asking if there is anything we could do.

I don't know. I actually hesitated this morning before sharing the news since I didn't wish to seem disrespectful of Adam and the hardship that his family faces. However, I did post out of a mad or wishful belief that someone reading the grim report might be able to do something. Also, Adam Cook's own sense of dignity and silence moved me. He didn't ask for help and didn't inform the folk at FreshFarm Markets of the increasing difficulty he was facing.

The dairy's loans are substantial and they have already been deferred. Immediate repayment is being demanded. The consequences of not being able to repay are selling the farm, the cows and all the equipment he purchased.

Small farms are hard to run successfully, dairies especially so. You just can't charge $10 for a quart of milk to make ends meet. Look at how much we complain about the prices we pay at the farmer's market here. Many of us have gotten to know Adam just a little, but this is what is happening to men and women all across the country.

This is why--so I've been told--the U.S. Census Bureau does not list "Farmer" as an occupation on its surveys. My source? The founder of a small investment firm who grew up on a farm in California and every so often comes to Dupont Circle to help run the market. There are simply too few going into that line of work or willing to assume control of their family's farms once parents age. Farmlands are being sold and put to different use.

I just learned of this dairy's demise this morning at Courthouse market. I was shocked. Nothing can be done to help Adam. But that doesn't mean that nothing can be done at all. Think of it this way, to my knowledge, Blue Highland was the only source for relatively large numbers of people in this area to buy milk untouched by agribusiness, yes? This is a metro area with millions and millions of people, and not everyone wants that kind of milk, but why should we stand by when the odds are so stacked against the individual like Adam and now we don't have a choice anymore in what we buy?

What can be done? For starters, I think the folks at FreshFarm Markets should be hitting their email list with information. That can be passed along here and forwarded, too. And perhaps they can move their informational tent at Dupont from where it currently is to the spot where Blue Highland used to be. What information should they give out? Well, why not tell a little bit about the unique nature of what we were all able to buy from Adam? Or, why not share a little bit about Michael Pollan's recent NY Times article regarding the upcoming Farm Bill vote? Even better, why not alert Michael Pollan to the situation himself? Perhaps this example, if given a high enough profile, (and a high profile individual like Pollan using this situation to put a human face to the producers and consumers affected) might provoke enough attention in our seat of government to actually help to make some changes in the situation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CrescentFresh: Thanks for your concern and I am sorry it was as much a shock to you as it has been to everyone who shops at markets where Adam Cook sold his milk and dairy products. He didn't tell anyone what was happening; no one at FRESHFARM knew anything until Adam didn't appear and someone else explained why and spoke on his behalf.

Heather started a thread about getting milk deliveries from a different local farm and it looks as if others here have been supporting other small local dairies.

If you are interested in this kind of news, please do sign up for the weekly emails. If you come to Dupont Circle, there are now two information tables: one for those entering the bank's parking lot through the gate close to the Metro stop, and the other in the customary spot where chef demos take place.

All subscribers to weekly emails were notified of the situation. Incidentally, this week Bernie Prince began by citing the article you mention; Michael Pollan regularly is in touch with the people who run the market.

If you are concerned and support farmers markets, I am sure FreshFarm is not the only one that is actively seeking volunteers and using new methods to promote patronage. The Washington Post seems to be publishing articles about local markets on a fairly regular basis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...