President – Steve Judge
As a recent transplant into the Royalton, Vermont community, Steve has spent the past 25 years working to protect and revive New England’s dairy industry. A dairy farmer with over 35 years of experience, Steve has owned, operated, and managed five dairy farms. Skilled at farmstead restoration, Steve has completely restored three New England farmsteads, two of which are protected by conservation easements.
He served as the Farm and Forest Land Use Planner for the Regional Planning Agency of Franklin County, Massachusetts. At the same time he was co-founder of Franklin Land Trust – headquartered in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.
When Steve moved to Vermont, he began by managing the Shoreham Cooperative Apple Producers Association. He also served on a Vermont Dairy Co-Op Board for several years and managed a 600-member organic and natural foods Co-Operative in Randolph, Vermont.
In 1991, Steve became the founder of Vermont Milk Producers, Inc., where he created the Vermont Family Farms fluid-milk brand and developed an innovative system to bring the milk to market. Vermont Family Farms was the first “super-premium” milk marketed in the northeastern United States and was produced by a small, select group of Vermont family farms – each owning an equal portion of the brand. In 2000, Vermont Milk Producers, Inc. sold the Vermont Family Farms brand to St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.
Steve now lives in Royalton, Vermont with his wife, 2 cats, 4 cows and 2 calfs. They also have four grown children.
Treasurer – Elaine Geyer
Elaine is a native New Yorker who fell in love with Vermont while visiting as a teenager! She and her husband, Pat Redden, moved toVermont in 2001 to live ‘the good life’ of their dreams. They built their home in the hills of Bethel and and live there with their dogs, cats and chickens. Hopefully a cow or two arrive in the near future. Elaine is an independent financial specialist with degrees in Agriculture and Accounting from the University of Rhode Island, SUNY Farmingdale and SCCC. As a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Elaine specializes in supporting local, small businesses and non-profits.
Dorothy Chap runs Chap Farms in Royalton, VT with her parents; Chap Farms is a small mixed vegetable, hay, and animal operation. She has been milking regularly for Steve Judge in his local 4 cow pipeline barn, as well as hand milking cows on her farm for several years.
As a young, innovative, female farmer she’s been avidly exploring ways to begin her own farm business. To this effort, she recently kicked off her winter CSA program, Root Cellars. The CSA had 10 members this season. Dorothy felt this size worked well for her first year, allowing her to experiment and see how her offerings suited her members. She is looking forward to taking what she has learned form this first year and expanding in the coming seasons.
Craig Ramini – Water Buffalo Expert
Craig is the man behind Ramini Mozzarella a new food company located in Tomales, California. The vision for the company is to make healthy, local, fresh mozzarella cheese that is worthy of comparison to the wonderful mozzarella di bufala that is made in Italy. To date, they have grown their water buffalo herd to about forty beautiful animals and are milking them every day. The milk is luxurious, abundant, and now they are hard at work perfecting their recipe and processes. Click here to watch a video of Craig and his farm, shot in May this year.
Paul Lisai - Young and Progressive
Paul operates Sweet Rowen Farmstead in West Glover. The farm is the result of years of patient apprenticeship and a great deal of hard work. Educated both indoors (Sterling College) and out (dairies around the world), Paul brings his skills and intuition back home to the North East Kingdom. He is deeply dedicated to providing for his local community, which has faithfully supported him through the years.