The Farm at Doe Run, Unionville, PA – 9.9 Miles

Located in the rural heart of Chester County, The Farm at Doe Run was purchased in 2008 by Pennsylvania native Richard Hayne, founder of Urban Outfitters. What began as a hobby farm quickly grew into a serious operation, renowned for producing some of the region’s best cheeses.ย  The Farm at Doe Run takes great pride not just in their award-winning cheese, but in being careful and attentive stewards of the land. ย We spoke with our friends at Doe Run about the philosophy that fuels their farming practices.

Farm at Doe Run Kimberton Whole Foods

The Farm at Doe Run was founded with a commitment to simple &ย sustainable farming practices.ย  Can you tell us a bit more about how sustainability is practiced in your daily operations at Doe Run?

The whey by-product from our dailyย cheese-making is collectedย and spread back on our fields in a deliberateย manner, in order to help return vital nutrients to the soil. We also raise a handful of heritage pigs who are happy to consume the whey, along with any cheese curds that remain at the end of the day.

Since our farm is in the middle ofย beautiful mushroom country, we also haveย farmer friends whoย share their rich mushroom compost with us. Our herdsmen andย herdswoman spread the mushroom compost over our pastures to provide an enriched local additive to our soil.

Sustainability is also achieved in maintaining strong root structures around our waterways that provide optimal filtration. We’ve made a commitment to plant approximately 1,000 trees each year on the banks of our streams to help bring back the Brook Trout, a native fish that only thrives in cooler, pollution-free waterways. The trees we plant provide the necessary shade to create cooler water temperatures, while their established root systems filter out pollution from the surrounding roadways and other sources along the creek. The Farm at Doe Run is thrilled to play a role in restoring this native species, which is integral in keeping our entire local ecosystem thriving.

Farm at Doe Run Kimberton Whole Foods

In that same vein, can you share how your partnership with Stroud Water Research Center began? Do you anticipate forming similar partnerships in the future with similar organizations and causes?

We love the idea thatย Stroudย Water Research Center is located right here in our own backyard and has long been recognized nationally and internationally for their freshwater research, education, and watershed restoration programs that help effect water quality and availability around the world. ย Their dedication to our local water system is remarkable, providing necessary research and programs to ensure the future of clean healthy water, our ecosystem, and farming. Just a ten minute drive from the farm, the Research Center provides educational programs about stream-sideย reforestation, riparian forest buffers, and their Leaf Pack Networkยฎ for students and tour groups. Clean healthy water is essential to healthy communities, andย we are honored to be working to help repair streams in our area with the help of the highly skilled scientists at Stroud. Our support forย local environmental organizations is just one way in which we are committedย to building a healthier landscape for us all.

How didย cheesemakersย Samuel Kennedy and Matthewย Hettlingerย come to work for Doe Run?ย  What unique backgrounds or knowledge do they bring to your operation?

Because ourย cheesemakers come from different states and diverseย backgrounds, our team’sย knowledge and experience hasย depth & breadth that resultsย in a unique &ย creative line of cheeses. Mattย Hettlinger joined the farm in the summer of 2012, bringing with him a degree in Food Science from Ohio Stateย and a working knowledge of cheesemaking from a previous jobย at Canal Junction in Ohio. Samuel Kennedy joined the farm and creamery in January 2014 with an education from The Culinary Institute of America, as well as a certificate in artisan cheesemaking from the University of Vermont (VIAC). Hisย working knowledge ofย cheesemaking was cultivated overย 5 years of employmentย at Cherry Grove Farm. Both Matt & Samuelย share a passion for artisan cheesemaking, a craft that was once lost, but is nowย growing andย evolving in the United States. Everyone on staff at Doe Runย is proud to provide award-winning cheesesย to families, retailers and restaurants in Chester County and beyond.

Farm at Doe Run Kimberton Whole Foods

What sets The Farm at Doe Run apart from other localย cheesemakers?

We are honored to participate, alongside other local farms and cheesemakers, in the richย heritage of dairy farming here in the great state of Pennsylvania. What makes our farm different is that all three milking herds reside right here on our land, providing us with the milk we use to produce our fresh, seasonal, mixed milk cheeses. We are a grass-fed operation with herds that graze 350 acres of land in beautiful Southern Chester County. We birth our sheep and goat herds in the spring and their milk is used alongside our cow’s milk throughout the summer months and into the early autumn season, allowingย us to bring customers new and innovative cheese options, that age in our caves for approximatelyย 6-8 months. We are driven by a dual commitment to quality and creativity, which meansย we’re always working towards a new Creamery Collection Batch for our customers to enjoy!

How has your cheese production evolved?ย  What is your proudest accomplishment in that time?

Our cheeses have evolved into world-class, award winning delicacies due to our beautiful land, amazing animals and the hard work and dedication of our herdsmen and two talented cheesemakers. The farm has developed unique recipes and worked to refine these recipes through a combination of education and experience.

Farm at Doe Run Kimberton Whole Foods

We invite your customers to follow us on Instagramย for ongoingย updates on fun happenings around the farm. ย Thank you toย Kimbertonย Whole Foods for carrying our cheeses and for supporting so many local farmers by bringing their products to market!