A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER
Delicious cheeses come from artisans who honor Nature’s cycles. Soils, grasses,* and climate, collectively called terroir, can make cheeses as spectacular and individual as a sunrise.
Our unique cheeses start in the pasture, on our hill, in our fog and sunshine and salt air. The Shy Brothers’ farm encompasses the highest land in a peninsula between the two salty estuaries of the Westport River. The farm gets cooling breezes in the summer, even fog some days. The salt air moderates temperatures in the winter months, allowing the cows to stay at pasture longer than most New England herds. The brothers carefully control the health quality of their herd, do not use antibiotics or growth hormones on their milkers.
Our part of Massachusetts has lost more land to development in the last 30 years than it did in the previous 300. Westport is one of the last bastions of farmland in the state, and still Westport saw two-thirds of its dairy farms collapse in the space of five short years. Men and women who love the land and were its dedicated stewards had to go into other jobs in other towns to live. Some of the land was then developed for the identical housing that you would see in suburban Omaha, or Birmingham, or Newark, erasing any indication that this was our town of Westport, Massachusetts. Both our rural character and our cherished rural characters were in jeopardy.
We started Shy Brothers Farm in 2006 with these beliefs:
- Together, we could keep a third-generation dairy family from losing their farm.
- Together, we could turn that farm into a thriving economic engine for the community.
- Together, we could make this new enterprise a model to help empower other farmers to convert their operations to ones that are profitable and sustainable for them, our community, and our environment.
So far, so good! Our packaging is fully recyclable, our whey feeds livestock at Round The Bend Farm, and we helped start the Massachusetts Cheese Guild (now up to thirty cheese makers!) Our company is healthy and growing slowly. With further growth, we’ll be able to meet our goal of using all the milk from the 120 cows on the farm. We are also working towards minimizing Styrofoam shipping materials until feasible alternative and sustainable materials are available.
Today, Karl serves on our town’s Agricultural Commission and Open Space Committee, and is an elected member of the Board of Health. Barbara has served on numerous town boards and committees over the years, is a Corporate Trustee of The Trustees of Reservations, and a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. She also helped found the Massachusetts Cheese Guild, was it’s first President, and now serves on the Board of Directors and as its Clerk. Leo serves on the town’s Energy Committee.
*The grasses that grow in our salt-air pastures are various cultivars of wild oats, foxtail, wiregrass, red and white clovers, wild vetch, buttercup, dandelions, and thistle.