Intuit Grant Is a "Sign" of Good Things to Come for Dairy Farm
Nestled in the far northwestern corner of Massachusetts, where it’s flanked by Vermont and New York, Williamstown — a charming community of 8,200 residents — is home to one of the oldest dairy farms in the region, Cricket Creek Farm.
In 2002, Dick and Jude Sabot purchased the farm from their neighbors in the hopes of protecting the land for future generations. Although Dick passed away in 2005, the Sabot family continues to oversee the thriving operation in commitment to their mission statement: "To produce nourishing food that honors our animals, respects the land, and feeds our community, and to exemplify a sustainable model for small-farm viability."
“When my family bought the farm, it was a conventional dairy farm,” says son Topher Sabot, who has managed daily operations since 2009. “Most dairy farms are not open to the public at all for a lot of good reasons, in terms of safety and things like that. [But] one of the biggest goals from the start was to have this farm be a community resource.”
The Sabots wanted to provide an opportunity for people to learn about where their food comes from, he says. “So, when we had to do some initial construction — like for our milking parlor — we designed it so that people can watch milking. Our creamery was designed with windows so that people can look in and watch the cheese as it’s made.”
Suzy Konecky, the creamery’s manager, shares the family’s passion. “Education and awareness about what we’re doing on the farm is really important to us, from our philosophical perspective,” she says. “But also having a space where people can sit down and enjoy the products that they buy here is really critical to customer retention.”
To that end, Cricket Creek Farm appealed to Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign for a grant that would help it procure new signage and seating.
The wish entry reads: “With this money, we will purchase signage that welcomes people to the farm and shows them around and picnic tables, so [they] can spend time on the farm and enjoy the artisanal cheese and bread that we produce and sell in our small farm store.”
This week, Intuit announced it will grant Cricket Creek Farm’s wish and help the dairy farm continue to prosper.
“We’re super excited and extremely grateful. We are on cloud nine!” Sabot says. “We want people to be able to come with their kids and spend the day here. They can bring some food or get some cheese here and go sit at a picnic table and have a nice lunch while watching the chickens forage for grass or checking out the calves.
“The signage is a big part of that, too, because we want to have more information available. If someone is not around to explain the different breeds of pigs and why we have them, there will be information there so people can read about it and understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s really important.”
Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is announcing one winner a day through May 24, 2013. Check out the list of current winners and find out whether we’ve granted your wish!
Michael Essany is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.