The Female Farmer Project

documenting the rise of women in agriculture

photo essay: the herds manager at chapel hill creamery

Originally published April 22, 2014

A  trip to North Carolina to visit two farms became a spur-of-the-moment three farms when Liz from Bushy Tail Farm reached out to Chapel Hill Creamery to see if we could visit on our way out to the airport.  There I met Allison of Chapel Hill Creamery and was utterly charmed by her passion for farming and deep respect for her animals.

Allison, like so many, came to farming as a second career.  Previous to managing herds of cows, pigs and goats for the cheesemakers of Chapel Hill Creamery, she worked for a tee-shirt design company.  She came to the farm as a visitor on a tour, and was so intrigued she asked for a job.  There was a farmhand position open, and that was the beginning of her farming career. Allison has had no formal training in animal husbandry; she voraciously reads everything she can get her hands on and has begun to attend workshops to help deepen her understanding.  Nine years ago, she never expected to be giving cows their shots, IVs or even breeding them.  Now she studies nutrition and calf rearing and is constantly trying to improve both practices.

She attributes her headstrong personality to her success.  She has never given up and is passionately seeking knowledge to be a better herds-manager to her beautiful Jersey herd as well as the other animals on farm. The pride and joy for Allison is her twin Oxen, Breis and Fryer.  She has trained them as a team on yokes that she designs from wood found from trees on the farm.  Now Breis and Fryer not only plow the fields but also represent the creamery in local parades.  She has two new twins that are in training and it appears she will have a couple of wonderful teams on the farm. 

To read more about Allison’s accounts with Breis & Fryer see her blog here: oxenbreisfryer.blogspot.com

Learn more about Chapel Hill Creamery and their incredible products here: northcarolinafarmhousecheeses.com/

Copyright Audra Mulkern 2017