John Kokoski of Mapleline Farm is our Farmer of the Week. John, who is a UMass alumnus, and his team at Mapleline provide their local milk wholesale to large institutions like UMass Dining but also to small markets and cafes around the Pioneer Valley.
Mapleline has been a part of the Hadley community for over a century, having been founded in 1904 by John’s great-great grandfather, Stanley. Over those 111 years, the farm has shifted from producing various crops such as tobacco and vegetables to focusing on dairy production full-time. When John took over the farm from his dad in 1980, he began to expand the dairy herd and business to what it is today.
While their milk isn’t organic due to the fact that they spray herbicides on their crops (albeit as minimally as possible), the farm’s commitment to sustainability is strong. For example, wastewater from the processing plant is mixed with cow manure to produce a natural fertilizer which is used on their cropland. In turn, this fertilizer helps grow the crops that become food for the cows. Not only is this a sustainable system for the environment, it helps the farm maintain its economic sustainability.
Despite having become a bigger operation over the past few decades, the quality of life for Mapleline’s 100-200 cows is high. John and his team make sure that their cows are happy and healthy at all times. The cows receive regular veterinary check-ups, aren’t treated with any synthetic growth hormones (rBST) that are common in the industry, and eat a mostly local diet. It’s a pretty good life!
UMass Dining’s partnership with Mapleline Farm includes providing all of the milk at Berkshire DC, Hampshire DC, as well as individual bottles at retail locations around campus.
Support local farms and keep an eye out for Mapleline Farm products on campus and in nearby communities!
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