Past, Present and the Future Farm
Our dairy farm is located in the beautiful foothills of WNC in Columbus, NC in a region called the Isothermal Belt which makes for a long growing season and slightly warmer temps than the mountains but not as hot as the Piedmont area of NC. The farm was bought from Doug & Al Harmon and was started by their father as a dairy farm in 1947. Before that, the farm was called Green Hill after the previous owner, Dr Green. Old Howards Gap road used to cut right across the property where a general store once stood. A stallion barn was built on the property in the 30's by the WPA, cross fencing was part of the project too but all of that has succumbed to time. There are multiple springs and creeks on the farm and as Wendell Berry once said "Let the farming fit the farm". The rolling to steep pastures of this farm are made for livestock and not suitable for row crop production.
The Harmons made the choice to transition the land from farmer to cheesemaker in 2017 to preserve it and keep it a small working dairy. To hear more about this unusual story, check out this great radio piece on The Future of Harmon Dairy.
The farm is under an agricultural conservation easement and can never be subdivided. The farm is 226 acres with 144 acres in the most beautiful grass pastures you have ever seen. Our herd is comprised of Holsteins, Jerseys and the favorite Holstein/Jersey cross as well as a few Norwegian Red/Holstein crosses. We are working on grazing more intensively and transitioning to seasonal with our first dry period being January and February of 2020. As we learn about seasonal milking, our cheesemaking will change and evolve too. The volume of milk at different times of year and the shift in characteriscs from our evolving genetics and push towards a more completely grass based dairy will have an impact tas well. These are exciting and occasionally terrifying times.
When you buy Looking Glass Creamery cheese know that your purchase supports not only a small dairy farm with a long history but also an independent family business with a handful of dedicated and hard working employees. It also keeps farmland open and in active use in rapidly developing Western North Carolina.
We want to share this beautiful corner of the world with our customers and community and look forward to the day in the not so distant future when you can come visit us on the farm too, meet the cows, see what we do and how we do it. Until then, be sure to stop in at our original location just outside of Asheville. Look for our second cheese shop to open on the farm in the summer of 2019. Thanks for your interest and support.