LEE — Perched among cornfields on a hill outside town, High Lawn Farm, with its rather elegant stucco buildings and distinctive hexagonal clock tower, doesn’t look like a typical New England dairy farm. And in many ways, it isn’t.
The last commercial dairy operation in Berkshire County, High Lawn is home to a nationally recognized herd of Jersey cows, a breed whose milk is higher in protein, calcium, and butterfat than that of the more usual Holstein. According to the American Jersey Cattle Association, only about 7 percent of dairy cows in the United States are purebred Jerseys. These brown, soulful-eyed cows are smaller than the familiar black-and-white Holsteins. Says Beth White, who’s in charge of business development at High Lawn, “they eat less food, drink less water, are more sustainable, use less land, and generally have a smaller carbon footprint.”
Adds general manager Roberto Laurens, “And they’re more friendly. Holsteins kick you.”
High Lawn isn’t a large operation. Family owned for several generations, the farm today houses about 400 cows, with about 200 in milk production. Until 1999, the milk was sold strictly through home delivery, and when Laurens, a native of Colombia, arrived in 2002, much of it was still brought straight to customers’ homes. He recalls his astonishment riding along on a milk run: “The delivery guy would let himself into the house, put the milk in the refrigerator, give the dog a cookie, and go.”