Louis Escobar describes his thoughts as a young farmer, "Over the years, I always hoped that someday that I could have milk in a dairy case the public could identify." For him, that dream has been realized, he's been part of the Rhode Island Dairy Farm Cooperative from day one back in 2004. Now, his milk products along with seven other local farmer can be found in all the major grocery stored locally.
Jim Hines, Executive Director of The Rhode Island Dairy Farm Cooperative explains, "With Rhody Fresh we have been able to return every single month the profit of Rhody Fresh goes directly back to our local Rhode Island Dairy Farmers."
Today the Co-op was celebrating a $150,000 federal grant awarded to help the farmers strengthen and expand their local business. The money also be used to help market some newer items like Butterkase Cheese, a relatively mild cheese that is semi-soft with a buttery taste to it.
After applying for the grant three times, the Co-op is thrilled to finally win the money. Over 430 farms applied and the grant was awarded to only 110. Escobar goes on to explain the benefits of home-grown products, "Look down across Escobar farm, drive by ALL of our Rhody Fresh farms, what are we doing? We're preserving the open space and the rural character."