Mapleline Farm is a family owned and operated Jersey farm established in 1904 in Hadley, MA. They have 300 Jersey cows, who are brown instead of black and white, and produce rich, creamy milk that is higher in calcium, protein, and nonfat solids than traditional cow's milk. As of September 2017, Franklin Dining Commons now serves 100% local milk from Mapleline Farm! This increase in purchasing allowed Mapleline to scale up their operations. Jennifer Zina, the farm owner's daughter, shared that Mapleline started processing milk “three days a week instead of two to be able to provide UMass with what they needed and what is the best for the students.”
When Jennifer and her family moved back to the farm about five years ago, she “fell in love with the farm all over again because I was seeing it in my kids’ eyes. They are 14 and 10 and love being in Hadley and being able to walk across the street and be with the cows. I love that the farm is a piece of our family and our family’s history. My kids are the fifth generation to grow up on the farm and I think that is really special.”
Mapleline Farm milk can be found at Harvest Market in the Campus Center, many other retail dining locations, and Franklin and Hampshire Dining Commons. Mapleline milk is also available through many local businesses and featured in delicious treats all around the Valley. Be sure to try their chocolate milk- it is the best around!
Thanks so much to Jennifer Zina for speaking with us, and thank you to Mapleline Farm for your admirable dedication to the local community.
Photo credit: Keith Toffling Photography
In March, UMass Dining attended the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Culinary Challenge, which is a competition between five regions held in Nashville, Tennessee. Our very own Chef Robert Bankert competed at the annual competition and won first place and a gold medal!
According to Chef Bob, “building relationships with farmers is the most important part of sourcing local foods.” Because of the tremendous buying power of an institution like UMass, large changes can be made to the food system through local sourcing initiatives over time. “However, tremendous amounts of purchasing, if handled poorly, can really affect farmers if there is not an open line of communication and relationship there,” Chef Bob clarified.
UMass Dining has a goal for all of the Dining Commons to feature all local lettuce and greens on the salad bar all year long, and has already committed to sourcing local arugula, romaine, and mesclun. Queen's Greens is playing an integral part in reaching this goal by supplying local greens to UMass Dining in colder months using greenhouses to extend their growing season.
“I just love food and flavors and I like to teach people how to cook. Food is satisfying in a lot of different ways and brings people together.”
- Chef Bob, UMass Dining
Thanks so much Chef Bob for taking the time for this interview and for all of your hard work to make UMass Dining more sustainable!
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.