Freshness to the Max...
It Starts Here.
We Love Local
Uncle Dean's loves supporting local farmers, bakers, and candle-stick makers. These are our friends, neighbors, and fellow Maine-ers. They, like us, want to get back to basics and make available the best quality products to our customers. These small businesses often got their start out of a desire for better quality products for themselves and their families. Now we get to share in the bounty!
Whether it's home-made breads and salsas, freshly harvested produce, free-range chicken eggs, or pasture-raised beef, Uncle Dean's supports local producers. We want to provide our customers with the best Maine has to offer, and items that you can't buy at the big-box stores. We think we do a pretty darn good job of it, too!
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Buy Local, Support Maine: The Milkhouse
It’s 5:30 in the morning and the farm is already buzzing with activity. The first wash cycle for the milk pipeline system has been started. Andy, one of the owners of The Milkhouse, has been out milking. Other days, one of five other farm helps could be recruited for this morning duty. By about 6 o’clock, the cows have finished ambling through the milking parlor, with its five automatic machines. Fresh, warm milk is now sitting in the bulk tank awaiting either bottling or the addition of yogurt cultures. Back in the barn, the pipeline system is once again cleaned and the herd is sent to enjoy the great outdoors. The previous night’s barn bedding (and all its lovely additions from the cows) is covered with a layer of fresh bedding and is then rototilled. This creates a surprisingly dry, soft, and warm floor for the cows to rest on, and one that is more comfortable and safe than concrete alone. The first of the two milking rounds is finished and the barn is freshened up, but work for the day is far from done. The farm’s creamery still has a long to-do list to prepare products for sale and delivery.
Andy Smith, along with Caitlyn Frame, began their dairy farm in 2012 through a herd management partnership with Two Moon Farm in South China, Maine. By 2015, though, Andy and Caitlyn felt it was time to strike out on their own. The pair purchased a historic 1920’s dairy farm in Monmouth. After some adjustments and upgrades to the property, they started The Milkhouse organic dairy.
Even though the MOFGA organic standards are already stringent, The Milkhouse strives to consistently surpass the guidelines. For example, while the Maine organic label requires that the cows be able to forage in pasture for at least 30% of the total amount of food they eat, Andy and Caitlyn have created an environment that allows for 70% of the food fed to the cows to come directly from their farm’s hay crops. When asked about this drastically different standard, Caitlyn said simply that happy and contented cows produce an abundance of high quality milk.
The 40 milking cows that currently reside at the farm are, indeed, healthy and thriving. The farm benefits, too, with the herd producing more milk at peak season. Currently this translates into approximately 130-150 gallons per day heading into the spring months. This quantity allows The Milkhouse to provide non-pasteurized milk and yogurt to discerning consumers across New England.
While conventional and less stringent organic labels are enticing many farmers to move away from the small farm model in order to meet increased demand, The Milkhouse is standing strong and remaining committed to maintaining its truly hands-on approach to herd management. In so doing, The Milkhouse team hopes to continue to offer what they believe are truly superior, nutrient-dense, organic dairy products. Come try some for yourself!