A Helping Hand in Vacationland
"I’ll be working in my office, and they’re spreading manure outside my window!” laughs Neal Kolterman, vice president of sales and marketing at Pineland Farms Inc., a farm and nonprofit campus in central Maine. “It’s a stunning property and a beautiful place to work. There’s a real connection between community, agriculture, and recreation here—that’s what Pineland Farms is all about, connecting community with the land.”
Though just outside Lewiston, Maine (the state’s second-most populous city), Pineland Farms is far from hustle and bustle. Rolling hills, lush grasslands, and grazing spotted Holsteins make the farm, creamery, and entire campus a postcard-perfect landscape.
“Maine has a mystique, an allure, and a promise of honest, hardworking people,” says Kolterman. “It’s different from the rest of New England in the sense that its residents lead a slower-paced way of life. People want to connect with their environment.”
A connection with the environment is exactly what locals and tourists alike will find at Pineland Farms, through various hands-on farm education programs. Families can stop by at designated times to milk a cow, feed farm animals, and, in the summer, make their own ice cream. Local schools can take field trips to Pineland Farms for a proactive dairy journey, where they’ll learn exactly what it takes to bring milk to their table and can even try their hands at making butter or cheese. Adults can join in on farm activities as well. PPineland Farms also boasts a world-class equestrian center; a market featuring farm-fresh products; public outdoor recreation space for hiking, skiing, and more; function space for weddings, business events, and birthday parties; its own YMCA; and free adaptive sports training for veterans with physical and emotional disabilities, all on the property’s five thousand acres.
“I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the United States where you can come and do everything we have here at Pineland,” claims Kolterman.
Pineland’s style of cheesemaking is also one of a kind. Undeniably farmstead, its herd of registered Holsteins is milked just around the corner from its state-of-the-art creamery, where fresh milk is transformed into award-winning cheese. Old meets new during the cheesemaking process, where traditional techniques are combined with sparkling new equipment. Pineland Farms crafts six different kinds of cheese from its cows: cheddars, fresh cheeses, feta, Monterey and pepper Jacks, cheese spreads, baby Swiss, and waxed wedges.
“Our flavor profiles were created purposely to offer artisan cheese to a broad spectrum of customers. Many farmstead cheesemakers produce small-batch, specialty-centric products, and that’s wonderful, but it may not attract the average consumer. Our goal is to make clean, farm-fresh artisan cheese affordable and available to the average shopper, which is why we offer the varieties we do,” explains Kolterman.
Unsurprisingly, cheddar, which includes traditional, sharp, and smoked, dominates the cheese popularity contest, but Pineland Farms wouldn’t have it any other way. Bringing artisan cheese in familiar styles to the masses—yet another philanthropic success Pineland Farms can add to its repertoire.
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Written by Rebecca Haley-Park
Photos by Pineland Farms