Rhode Island’s coastline reads like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Seeking a day of sun or gnarly waves? Head to one of the state’s many sandy beaches. Want to travel back through time? Newport’s Gilded Age mansions, perched atop towering ocean cliffs, will help with that. Or maybe you’re looking to hang with some happy Jersey cows and craft delicious farmstead cheese. For Andrew Morley and Laura Haverland of Sweet and Salty Farm, that adventure is a daily reality at their dairy in Little Compton.
Before becoming dairy farmers, Morley and Haverland both worked office jobs in New York City. On a blind date in a Manhattan dive bar, they realized they shared a common passion—not only for food but more importantly for our story, cheese. Fueled by love and a desire to trade the concrete jungle for open, green pastures, the couple decided to veer down a path that would eventually bring them to where land meets the sea.
“We wanted to introduce farmstead cheese in Rhode Island where most dairies have become extinct,” says Haverland. One such farm in Little Compton, closed since the 1990’s, sat on a parcel of land by the ocean that still belonged to its retired owners. After negotiating a long-term lease, the couple began the process of revitalizing the old dairy.
From the beginning, the emphasis has been starting out small and growing gradually—a way to give the new farmers room for mistakes while still retaining quality.
Since the farm obtained a dairy license in 2014, its Jersey herd has grown to 15 milking cows that graze rotationally (with plans to add five more in the next few years). In addition to practicing pasture-rotation methods, the farm milks seasonally (from March to September) while grass is growing. Half the milk is turned into yogurt, and the rest goes to a variety of cheeses.
“We want our products to be a reflection of the land, the people who make them, and the health of the animals and the soils,” says Haverland. “We are not certified organic, but we manage our animals and soils as if we were: without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and without antibiotics or hormones.”
To taste their hard work and dedication, head to their occasional Rhode Island home stand or catch them at a local farmer’s market. In addition to their naturally sweet, rich, cream-on-top yogurt, the couple currently offers two washed-rind aged varieties and a rotating selection of soft, young cheeses such as Little Something, a cousin to traditional Brie or Camembert, or Little Mermaid, a semi-firm bloomy rind wheel sprinkled with organic Maine kelp.
Looking around their farm, with its rolling pastures that overlook the blue sea, it’s not hard to see why Andrew Morley and Laura Haverland chose to pursue their love for curds—a sweet and salty adventure—here.
“Sweet comes from the sweetness of our Jersey cows’ milk, and Salty is for the saltiness of the sea air that surrounds us,” Haverland says. “And on some days, it conveys our varying mindsets. Running a dairy can do that to you.”
For more information on where to buy Sweet and Salty yogurt and cheeses, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website or Facebook page; SweetAndSaltyFarm.com.