Every Mountain Dairy customer knows, just from the taste of our milk, that there is something very special about our farm. But behind the rich, old fashioned taste of our milk and dairy products, there is an equally compelling story:
The Stearns family has lived on and cared for the land at our home farm in Storrs, CT for nearly two and a half centuries. The land was purchased by Boaz and Lydia Stearns, who settled here with their family in 1772 and began raising mulberries for the town’s silk industry. The switch to the milk business and use of the name Mountain Dairy did not come until years later in 1871, when Jared Stearns began selling milk to his neighbors and friends in the local community.
Mountain Dairy gradually acquired all of the equipment needed to pasteurize, homogenize, and bottle milk from its own cows. During a time period when small dairy farmers were increasingly being forced to sell their milk to large processors, Mountain Dairy resisted the trend, becoming self-sufficient in the production and marketing of its own milk.
This commitment to self-sufficiency and family tradition is what makes Mountain Dairy such a unique place. The technical term for a farm that milks its own cows, processes the milk, and sells it straight to the consumer is a “producer-handler.” Amazingly, Mountain Dairy is one of only 40 licensed producer-handlers in the entire United States! This means that, unlike nearly all others in the market, Mountain Dairy has 100% quality control over its products. You can taste how fresh our milk is because it goes from our cows to our cartons in hours, without needing to be transported to an outside plant for processing.
At Mountain Dairy we take a number of special measures to live up to our long tradition of providing you with only the freshest, highest quality milk. Part of this is our promise that we never have and never will use artificial growth hormones such as BGH and rBST; we feel that our animals are healthier and happier without them. We also make sure each of our animals receives a balanced ration of feed, including corn silage and hay we grow ourselves supplemented with a carefully measured amount of grain. Our animals are not pushed to produce unnatural amounts of milk, and as a result the milk they produce is higher in cream and protein. To preserve the natural body and taste of Mountain Dairy milk, we also use a special method of pasteurization that utilizes steam rather than scalding hot water. This ensures that our small batches of milk don’t taste “cooked” as many feel milk from larger brands does.
From the moment our work day starts with the first milking at 3am to the return of the last delivery truck around 5pm, we do our best to make sure your milk tastes every bit as delicious as the milk produced by the ten generations of Stearns family members that have worked the land at Mountain Dairy. Our family is committed to ensuring that Mountain Dairy’s tradition of quality continues for many generations to come.