CONTOOCOOK, N.H. — As June approaches Contoocook Creamery would like to remind everyone June is National Dairy Month. We want you to know that milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, along with many other dairy products are made locally right here in the Granite State. We aren’t even going to try and hide the fact that Contoocook Creamery chocolate milk is our favorite NH dairy product (but we’re more than a little bit biased!).
Take a look back over NH’s farming past with us. Let’s start in 1970, the year Heather Bohanan Robertson was born. Heather is the fourth generation of her family to operate Bohanan Farm here in Contoocook NH. On April 22nd 1970 the first Earth day was celebrated, the United States gets it’s first female generals Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington, Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 debuts, the Ford Pinto and the AMC Gremlin are introduced, and there were 829 (cow) Dairy farms in NH.
Wow how the world has changed! The Pinto and the Gremlin were probably two of Detroit’s worst vehicles, and NH has only 101 (cow, sheep, and goat) dairies left. That’s 88% of NH’s dairy farms that have been lost in the last 51 years.
If you remember 1970 in NH you likely remember The NH Times, dirt roads, cows pastured in every town and city in the state. You remember dairies like Weeks, Lottarock, Concord Dairy, Manchester Dairy, and Turner’s Dairy, just to name a few. There were farms like LaBonte’s Mountain View Farm, Scruton’s Dairy, Stile’s Dairy, and Johnson’s Dairy plus dozens more that delivered milk directly from their farms.
Times have changed. They have changed here at Bohanan Farm as well. To survive as one of the 12% of remaining dairy farms left in the state Bohanan Farm added direct sales of milk to their farm marketing strategy. We did this by adding Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm, a move that now accounts for all our milk sales.
The diversification was driven by a desire to grow the farm business big enough to bring the 5th generation of Heather’s family into the business. What started out as trucking a days’ worth of milk from the farm to Maine to have it processed and bottled for distribution has turned into an on-farm processing plant processing 100% of the farm’s milk for distribution throughout 90% of NH’s population via grocery stores, restaurants, institutions and a store right at the farm.
As with all of NH’s remaining dairy farms, change and adaptability are constant. As the dairy industry in NH continues to change, two constants we want to remain are Bohanan Farm and Contoocook Creamery. As of this year all three of the Heather’s children have become partners in the farm business. We hope strategic planning and innovation will keep this NH dairy farm strong and growing for many future generations of family and consumers alike.
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