Urban Outfitters' Dick Hayne & Doe Run Dairy Farm: Making Artisan Cheese & Local Produce in West Marlborough, PA
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne has gone 21st-century agrarian in Southern Chester County. But not everyone is hunky-dory with his version of Doe Run.
Illustration by Jon Krause
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Shortly before noon, the pilgrimage begins. Having spent the morning idly grazing in a nearby pasture, a herd of 16 Jersey cows lumbers up a well-worn path into the Doe Run Dairy. At the rear of the line, shepherding “the girls” with a walking stick, is the man in charge, Kristian Holbrook.
“Twice a day, the cows are milked; they’re rotated to a different pasture so they get fresh grass,” says Holbrook, who oversees the dairy herds and spearheads the farm’s artisanal cheese making. “The milk has to be harvested, just like a crop. Unlike regular crops, cows eat every day and produce milk every day.”
A working farm, Doe Run is, in part, the story of a cheese maker practicing a 5,000-year-old craft, carefully transforming a small vat of farm-fresh milk into a cheese that’s at once food and a work of art. Holbrook launched his farmstead cheeses last summer. They’re made from the milk of the Jerseys. But as the operation matures, the cheese line will include tangy wedges produced from the milk of East Friesian sheep and Nubian goats. The animals roam the hills alongside an Akbash canine, a formidable sentry that safeguards the flock from potential predators.
Dating back to the 1920s, the Doe Run dairy barn has been rebuilt into a spacious, polished, welcoming space with cypress exterior planks and solid brass fittings, lofty metal rafters and tall, expansive windows that offer long views of the countryside. It anchors the historic Doe Run Farm, which encompasses three parcels of land totaling roughly 700 acres purchased by Urban Outfitters founder and president Richard Hayne in 2008.