Sweet Pea Cheese offers a variety of goat and cow dairy products including cheese, yogurt and milk. Our cheeses come in a variety of flavors and are featured in a number of local restaurants. Our milk is pasteurized at a low temperature to preserve the beneficial bacteria our bodies need. And our entire herd - cows and goats - are out on pasture whenever the weather and growing season allows. Come visit the farm store every day from 7am to 7pm. Visit us online at www.SweetPeaCheese.com.
During the fall, you can come explore the twists and turns of the Hayes Corn Maze. Learn neat agricultural facts. Answer the questions correctly and you’re off to another section. Guess it wrong and you may be lost forever! Visit our web site for the seasonal hours of the corn maze. www.HayesMaze.com
11 Questions for a Granby Farmer
Each month, the Granby Drummer publishes an interview with a local farmer from our town. Read on to lean more! 1) How did you get started in farming? Our North Granby farm is home to the 7th (and 8th? Or are Ellen and Daniel the 7th?) generation of our family farming here in America. We can trace our ancestry back to George Hayes, who came to Connecticut from Scotland, and settled in Windsor in 1680. Ten year later, he headed north and west to the Salmon Brook Settlement – aka Granby! – which is where the historical society is today. In the early 1800’s, the family moved to North Granby. That first location in North Granby is now the site of the North Granby Fire Department. My father Roger Hayes bought our current farm right before the Great Flood of ’55, and moved here right after he and my mother got married in 1957.
2) What's your favorite product/service that you produce? Dorothy: Feta! It’s my favorite to make. Our new bries are my favorite to eat. Right now they’re only available in the winter, because we need a cool environment with consistent humidity. You might have had the chance to sample them up at Lost Acres Vineyard as part of the cheese plate! Stanley agreed. Feta – I made it today – and cow yogurt is great, too.
3) What will your farm look like in 10 years? Our farm will look fairly similar to today, but we’ll be milking less cows. Since starting the goat dairy, we’ve been shifting our focus in that direction and concentrating on our production on our cheeses, milk, and yogurt for farm direct sales. We’ll be making hard cheeses, and our herds will be on pasture on a more permanent basis.
4) What benefits does agriculture give the community? Great local food, open space – and a corn maze! Actually, we have people tell us that they come down Loomis Street in a bad mood on a Monday morning, but the minute they see the animals headed out to pasture, their attitude changes for the better.
5) Who did you learn the most from when you were getting started? Jean Hulburt from Cornish, NH taught us how to make cheese in quantity and experiment with new recipes. A lot of what we’ve done has been self-taught: reading books, trying the recipes in the kitchen, lots of trial and error. Jean gave us some great recipe ideas to start with! Then we gave her 2 flavors to sell up at her place, which was a great collaboration.
6) What do you wish more people knew about farming? Where their food comes from! How much work is involved behind the scenes before the product shows up in the grocery store. And how much money it takes to bring a crop in – farmers aren’t wealthy just because they have land – they have to keep it going.
7) What's on your farm's wish list? A cheese cave! So we can expand into harder cheeses/aged cheeses.
8) What's the biggest issue facing agriculture today? The cost of inputs is a challenge! People are looking for cheap food, but the input costs are so high now, it’s hard to make cheap food and survive, and bring the next generation in. But people’s tastes are changing too. They want really good food, and there is a growing niche for people who want local food and value the premium product.
9) What's next at your farm? We’ll be fully stocked with all of our goat products by the time you read this. Look for goat milk, chevre, and yougurt at the farm store, and be sure to say hi.
10) What's the most amazing thing you've seen on your farm? After October snow storm, the sunrise the next morning was incredible. The calm after the storm that was so quiet. That’s nature as you don’t usually get to see it, because of all of the manmade noises and lights. The sun was coming up against the Harvestore (silo) with a rainbow of colors. I made Ellen come out and get her camera – and took over for her milking in the parlor.
11) What's the best thing about farming in Granby? We are constantly amazed by how the town has supported us since we started the goats in 2008, and it really has grown, thanks to you!