The Grey Barn, established in 2009, by Eric and Molly Glasgow, is not only certified organic, but it a very special place to visit. Set on almost 100 acres of beautiful land, this farm, its buildings, and what it produces are pretty incredible.
The Grey Barn has been producing cheeses for a number of years, and those cheeses have become an Island and regional staple. Did you know that you can get The Grey Barn cheese at Whole Foods Markest across New England? Though a big fan of the farm’s cheeses, today I ventured on a farm tour.
Throughout the Summer and through Columbus Day, The Grey Barn offers farm tours twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays for $10.00 per person. Though I have been on the farm several times, I had never seen it in its entirety, and it was time. Knowing you can get a little dirty, I armed myself with my Hunter boots and met Chelsea at the farm stand.
Chelsea is the farm stand manager. She has worked on the farm for a couple of years, having started in the “cave” helping with cheese, but with the evolution of the farm – more items to sell and stock the farm stand with, it was clear she would be a great addition to the have there.
First may I say that The Grey Barn is one of the most beautiful farms you’ll ever see. The bucolic acreage, the well maintained buildings, and the obvious quality of life the animals on the farm have makes for an incredible experience.
The first stop on our tour was The Parlor. Here the cows are milked twice a day, 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Cows are milked four at a time parallel to each other, with their heads at eye level to the person milking them. This is different from the usual herringbone, impersonal way of milking most dairy farms utilize.
The Parlor is where the magic begins. From here, it travels to the vault where some is used for The Grey Barn’s raw milk but the bulk of the milk is used for The Grey Barn’s cheese. This is the bread and butter of the farm. If you love cheese, I recommend visiting for one of their cheese tasting tours, $20.00, BYOB.
The Grey Barn’s cheese has become and Island staple, and can be bought not only all around the country but even internationally. Did you know that New England Whole Foods sell Grey Barn cheese? How cool is that!
Getting back on track with the farm tour, we then went and met the dairy cows. The beautiful, pasture fed girls, and one bull, are Dutch-Belted & Normande breeds. Most dairy farms use Holesteins but the breeds here don’t require grain and are better for the pasture based feeding.
These girls work hard with twice daily milkings 365 days of year, but they have a lovely barn to call home and have nightly outings into the fields to help produce rich, creamy, organic milk. Each is named, each has her own personality and they are truly beautiful creatures.
Next we headed over to meet the chickens. This was the BEST part of the tour. Hundreds of New Hampshire Red chickens came to greet us as we approached. These birds were so friendly, following us around, jumping into their incredible Hutker Architect designed chicken coups, and living their best chicken, egg laying life.
We laughed as they played and hung out with us. I have never met such friendly chickens. If I am ever having a bad day, I’ll just come here and visit these girls.
On our way to the next part of our tour, we visited the cows who were pregnant, and dry cows (part of the cow’s lactation cycle), making our way to the pig woods. Yes, pig woods, Grey Barn’s pigs live in the woods. I had no idea that pigs liked the woods, but they do.
Here we got to spend time with some older piglets. Since I have never seen pigs in woods, it was really joyful to watch them all run around and play. It was like watching a litter of puppies. The piglets jumped and ran – boundless energy! It was adorable. Pig woods -these pigs too are living their best piglet lives. An added bonus to having pigs on the farm – a lot of their diet consists of the whey, a byproduct of the cheese making process in addition to spoiled veggies.
We then went to visit the moms and the dad who had their own piece of woods. These ladies were in their own pig pile, sleeping away the day, with dad in the far back. These guys did not look as agile and carefree as their babies.
Sheep were next on the tour. These Katahdin Sheep are from the FARM Institute in Katama. Sheep are new to The Grey Barn, having made it their home in 2017. In this short time, The Grey Barn’s lamb meat has become quite popular.
The last stop were the beef cows, the Belted Gallowys. This breed of cows are so beautiful, and though it’s tough to know that they are being raised to be slaughtered, it is a little comforting knowing that their lives on this farm are well lived – fresh grass and freedom to roam.
At the The Grey Barn’s farm stand, you will find all sorts of good eats. They sell their fresh, grass fed meat – lamb, beef, and pork (maple bacon – whoa), and of course you can get eggs. The farm’s vegetable garden has been expanding over the last couple of years so don’t forget to grab some peppers or greens. Also, there’s always plenty of Grey Barn cheese on hand!
When there, I bought my very first bottle of raw milk. Lactose is not my friend, but after seeing the milking process there and talking with Chelsea about the benefits and creamy deliciousness of Grey Barn Raw Milk, I had to get one. Perhaps milk will make a comeback to my coffee?
The farm tour at The Grey Barn farm provided an intimate look into what we might wish all farms were like. There is a focus on quality in all they do and the kindness shown to the animals they have is truly inspiring. Though the tours are coming to end this season, you can do private tours year round.
Author’s Note: I have been to The Grey Barn a number of times, but this was my first official tour – I learned so much and really enjoyed the experience. I have a greater understanding of the Glasgow’s mission, and a greater appreciation for what their farm stands for. Glad they choose Martha’ Vineyard as the place to raise their family and farm.