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2010 Massachusetts Outstanding Dairy Farm

Elmhurst Dairy Farms
The Pearson Family
342 west Main Street Millbury, MA 01527

The farm was first established in 1719, by Solomon Holman and in time was passed down to his son Col. Jonathan Holman after the Revolutionary War; the original farm of 3,000 acres was a land grant from the King of England. The Fjellman Brothers bought the farm in the late 1920s, it was then passed down to their sons and eventually purchased by Robert & Barbara Pearson in 1987.

With the help of their sons, Bob & John, daughter Cindy, John's wife Fran and their children Brittany and Cody they assumed full operational control and ownership, and have been running the farm for over 23 years. Prior to the purchase of the farm, Robert's parents, Oscar and Easter Pearson, started a milk processing plant in 1934, using milk from the neighboring Fjellman farm. The Pearsons' delivered milk to nearby communities and still continue to do so today as both the processing plant and milk route are still fully operational. In addition to processing milk, the Pearsons' make 26 flavors of delectable ice cream, which they sell in their retail store. The current milking facility built in 1930 is a traditional tie stall barn that houses 60 milking cows with a pipeline system and rotational grazing. The Pearsons raise all of their own replacement heifers for a herd made of equal parts Holstein and Milking Shorthorn with an average of 3.8% butterfat. Currently the farm consists of 300 acres, of which 70 acres are hay fields and 35 acres are cornfields, which in the winter are converted to a cover crop of winter rye. In addition the Pearsons have a Christmas tree farm and harvest maple syrup annually.

In 1990, the Pearson's placed 263 acres of the land into the Agriculture Preservation Restriction Program (APR). For the last 15 years the Pearson's have participated in a program with the local elementary school system in which the school adopts a baby calf for the school year. The children visit the farm monthly to view the growth and development of the baby, and to learn more about farm life and agriculture. Additionally, the Pearson family is very involved with the county and state 4-H programs. They have been leasing high quality show heifers to 4-H youth as well as supporting the state calf sale by consigning animals yearly.

This year, the Pearsons had the Grand Champion of the Massachusetts State Milking shorthorn show. In addition to the Pearsons' commitment to their dairy cattle, they have been dedicated to land preservation and environmental concerns. In 2008, the Pearson family was chosen to receive a grant from the Massachusetts Technological Corporation to build solar panels on the roof of the barn to generate electricity for the farm. Currently the photovoltaic cells produce 7,000 kilowatt hours per year which is 1/5 of the farm's annual energy use. The Dairy Farm has been consistently recognized for its high quality milk and dairy products and low somatic cell counts. This year Elmhurst Farm was recognized by the State of Massachusetts as one of the top 1,000 places to visit in Massachusetts, or 1 of 136 in Central Massachusetts.