For organic dairy farmer Vaughn Chase, it’s the end of one chapter..and the beginning of a new one.
“We’re actually looking forward to this challenge,” said Chase.
On Saturday Chase’s Organic Dairy Farm will supply its last MOO Milk truck..something the farm in Mapleton has been doing for the last five years.. And then on Monday they’ll supply their first truck from Organic Valley – as they’re now part of the CROPP cooperative of farmers.
“Be good to see that truck in the county,” he said.
It came as a big surprise to Chase and the other Maine farmers that made up the Maine’s Own Organic Milk operation when they found out this past May that it would be folding. The old machinery being used to process the milk couldn’t keep up with the orders coming in.
“We were really disappointed, we had a lot of fans we had a lot of customers and we were selling a lot of milk..nobody thought we’d keep it going that long but we actually did,” Chase said.
And it took a few months of negotiations – but Chase says every Maine farmer that was part of the operation has found a new home. And he’s excited about his.
“This is a reputable company and it doesn’t take long to research that from California to Maine they do quite well,” Chase said.
He also knows his work is cut out for him. He wants to keep the organic market growing in the county — but knows it’s a battle. He says Organic Valley is interested in organic grains, sugar beets, milk and potatoes from more county farms.
“This is a good deal, we need to stand behind it as much as we can,” Chase said.
Despite the challenges ahead, Chase is happy that they’ve found a solution and can continue to milk cows…something the family has been doing for 59 years. Chase says there’s no word on when Moo Milk will actually officially be disbanded but it is winding down. He adds that Tom Drew of HB Farms also signed on with Organic Valley.