Upon arriving at the Milkhouse Farm and Creamery in Monmouth, Maine, I was greeted by beautiful fall foliage, wildflowers, and happy local customers.
The Milkhouse was started by Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith and is a consistent supplier of yogurt and meat to the Bon Appétit team at Colby College.
But Andy’s relationship to Colby runs deeper than just supplying its dining halls. He is an alum, and was an essential member in the creation of Colby’s on-campus farm, the Colby Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (COFGA), and remains active in food education efforts, as he often comes to guest lecture in Colby’s Sustainable Agriculture course, taught by Professor Andrew Marshall.
As Caitlin and Andy toured me around the farm, they explained how they raise heritage livestock, like Jersey cows, Katahdin sheep, and pigs. The animals are raised for both meat and milk, as well as to make a variety of processed dairy products, like yogurt or eggnog. Caitlin and Andy’s consideration for the environment is clear in their day-to-day operations: The Milkhouse’s milk and yogurt are certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Their love for their animals is also evident. While touring their operations, I was able to meet their cows, whom Caitlin and Andy have given colorful names, like Persimmon, Bart, and Pamela — names that match each animal’s distinctive personality.
The Milkhouse’s on-site store includes the farm’s own products in addition to goods from other local Maine producers, like apples, onions, sauerkraut, and arugula. The store operates on the honor system, indicating the strong trust they have in their customers and community.
When I spoke with Andy about the Milkhouse’s relationship with Bon Appétit team, he mentioned that the team at Colby is one of the farm’s strongest customers. They’ve always purchased consistently, even when other big accounts have not been able to do the same. It is extremely inspiring to see how alumni continue to be invested in Colby’s food system, as well as the State of Maine’s food system at large.