EMMA Acres Exeter, RI
Coffee Milk and Co-ops
Anyone who’s been to Rhode Island knows about coffee milk, the flavored milk that is a beloved state tradition. “It tastes like melted coffee ice cream,” says Alexandra (Alex) LaPrise. Alex works on her family’s small dairy farm. She’s also the managing director of the Rhody Fresh co-operative that sources milk from a handful of the state’s remaining dairy farms to make and market locally branded milk, including coffee milk, of course, and other dairy products in their communities. All profits are returned back to the co-op, just like they are to members of the co-operative behind the Cabot brand, to which the LaPrises also belong and to which they ship milk beyond the needs of Rhody Fresh.
Cynthia and Scooter LaPrise raised their four children—Elizabeth, Matthew, Alex and Maggie—on the farm they named after the first initials of each of their offspring. Supporting Cabot and Rhody Fresh is just one way that the community can support family-operated dairy farms, the local economy and the preservation of farmland and open space. The LaPrise family offers another way through their recently opened farm store, which stocks a full line of dairy products as well as local beef, pork and honey and other delicious foods. Gardeners can purchase rich bagged compost and cow manure.
“Right Down the Road”
The store also draws more people to the farm where they can see for themselves what a working dairy looks like. “We believe strongly in helping to educate the public,” Alex says. “Most people are at least three generation removed from the farm. This gives them a chance to see our cows, how we treat them. We’re right down the road from them.” Her mom, Cynthia, adds, “I believe people should know where their food comes from and how farmers work so hard to be good stewards of their land and good caretakers of their animals.”