There’s a lot cookin’ at Wright’s Dairy Farm in North Smithfield — or should we say, bakin’.
Wright’s Dairy is a 2019 winner of the Green Pasture Award and has been named Rhode Island Dairy Farm of the Year. The award is given every year to one outstanding dairy farm in each of the New England states, with winners evaluated on production records; herd, pasture, and crop management; environmental practices; contributions to agriculture and the local community; and overall excellence in dairying.
But back to baking….While the farm continues to focus on dairy farming, in 2017, a new cake shop was added featuring a wedding consultation room and viewing area for the public to watch the decorators at work.
Wright’s is home to a 100-cow milking herd, and processes 75 percent of its milk on-site. After being pasteurized and homogenized, the milk is sold in the farm’s retail store.
Behind that store you’ll also find the new Wright Scoop ice cream stand housed in a vintage 1966 AirStream trailer. Wright’s ice cream business has been booming of late, thanks to Ellen’s daughter, Cathryn Kennedy. In 2017 and 2018, the family launched several pop-up (temporary) scoop shops but decided to launch an on-farm ice cream shop. New packaging, new flavors, and a new logo, as well as an ambitious social media promotion campaign have helped ice cream sales really take off.
Cathryn — “110 pounds soaking wet,” says her mom – has taken the ice cream operation, as well as the overall milk processing operation, to a whole new level. “It’s exciting,” says Ellen. “She’s interested in the operation, and she’s bringing in young people.”
More changes are planned on the property, with a new dairy facility in the works. Edward Wright, the patriarch, recently passed away, and Ellen sees the farm’s evolution as a tribute to his forward-thinking, hard work, and dedication to farm and family.
“He was always thinking about what’s best for the business,” she recalls. “We’ve always thought of this farm as the golden goose – and you’ve got to take care of the goose!”
As for the Green Pasture award – the family won the award back in 2014 – Ellen sees this latest honor as a fitting tribute to her father. “His vision was a guiding force,” she says, and judging from the continuing successes of his children and grandchildren, his guidance continues to steer Wright’s Dairy Farm towards a promising future.