The Loewith family has owned a dairy farm in Hamilton’s Copetown neighborhood for almost 80 years, but now they’re taking a step into the future by revisiting the past with a milk delivery service.
“We thought this would be a great way to grow the business,” said Jennifer Howe, 48.
Her husband, Ben Loewith, 48, is the third generation of his family to run Summit Station Dairy & Creamery. He co-owns the farm with his father Carl Loewith, 76, and his uncle Dave Loewith, 71.
Summit Station Dairy Delivery Service, which aims to kick off Thanksgiving weekendwill deliver whole milk, chocolate milk and cheddar cheese curds to one neighborhood a day in the Dundas, Flamborough area, with plans to expand throughout Hamilton in the future.
The family is also opening a store, public tours of the farm and cafe, Howe said.
Dave said the changing business shows how the family farm is adapting to changes in the Green Belt and a growing number of non-farmers embracing rural life.
“As more people live in what was (the) Green Belt, there are more interactions between farmers and urban dwellers,” he said.
“[People] “They buy houses thinking they’re going to live in this idyllic, quiet countryside and that’s not always the case if you’re next to a very large, active farm.”
Summit Station Dairy milks about 480 dairy cows, according to Howe, and produces about 20,000 liters of milk a day, most of which is collected by Dairy Farmers of Ontario, to be put on store shelves under brands such as Hewitt and Beatrice.
“Having neighbors who aren’t necessarily farmers, who don’t like all the smells and sights that come with modern farming, it’s very difficult to grow more on the farm,” he said, adding that branching out to make your own crop products is a new way to expand.
The dairy farm takes its name from an old railway line
Ben’s grandfather, Joe Loewith, bought the farm in 1947, Howe said, when he immigrated to Canada from what is now the Czech Republic.
“[The station] “It was called Summit because it was the highest point between Brantford and Hamilton, so the train had to go up to Summit and then down to the center of town,” Howe said.
Joe called the farm Summit Home Holsteins, he said. Holsteins are the type of dairy cow that the family keeps.
For the family’s new business, they wanted to choose a name that would be easy to remember, Howe said.
“We thought, ‘Well, why don’t we name it Summit Station after the little train stop? And then we could make it look like a little train station,'” he said.
A farming family wants to reduce emissions and go local
Dave says his family never had a milk delivery service of their own, but they used to supply milk to Royal Oak Dairy, which delivered in Hamilton.
“[Milk delivery] “It hasn’t happened in Hamilton in a long, long time,” he said.
Dave says the farm, along with dairy farmers across the province, has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 and selling locally is one piece of that puzzle.
“Our milk is produced in a barn that is 200 meters from where the processing plant is and we are delivering milk within a 30-minute radius,” he said.
Howe says Carl and Dave, who have retired from milking cows, will be able to meet more with the public and get closer to neighbors.
“They have this whole new chapter in their career where they’ll be at Summit Station talking to people. They’re proud of what the farm has become,” he said.