The Melnik family — Steve, Kathy and Peter — own and operate Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Mass. This multigenerational dairy has a long history of diversifying their operations to stay at the foreground of innovation (more than 100 years, to be exact). “We were never afraid to do anything. And I think it was one of the things that enabled us to keep this farm alive for so long,” says Peter.
The farm got its start in 1919, when the Melnik ancestors settled in the valley. They started farming tobacco, cucumbers and onions and had a small herd of milking cows, which they milked by hand. With time, diversification and a steadfast focus on dairy, the farm grew into a true success story. Today, the Melniks milk nearly 300 cows and farm over 600 acres of crops.
Nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century, their latest endeavor includes a 660,000-gallon anaerobic digester tank right on their farm. Powered by organic food waste and cow manure, Bar-Way Farm produces sustainable electricity that powers their own dairy farm and home, as well as providing additional energy back to the local community.
If we do something, we do it the best we can.