We, Gary and Betty Burley, always knew we wanted to farm, and spent our childhood in the countryside of upstate New York. Betty graduated from high school and worked as a secretary for the County Judge at the Courthouse. Gary served our country for four years in the US Army and had plans to go to college, but there is just something about having a love for agriculture deep in one's soul, so he decided against college and bought a farm instead. In December 1980, he and Betty purchased their first 100 acres. He proudly claims that hard work never bothered him and that life's journey has taught him many things. One of those is that life is in fact a journey.
He and Betty were married the following April in 1981, and Betty fondly recalls how excited she was when she heard noise in the barn and their first cow became "fresh" to milk . To be exact, it was August 28th, 1981 around 8:30 in the evening. Gary was away visiting a neighbor and came home and wondered why the barn lights were on. Betty remembers it as vividly and lovingly as when they first started having children.
East Hill Farms began with 18 mix-mutt dairy cows. Our cows have always been near and dear to our hearts, and we are very grateful that we have been able to build a life from our land and our animals. Fast forward 34 years to 2015, and we are now breaking ground for our very own creamery! We have grown from the original 18 cows to 1300 on two dairies, but we are still the same family-owned and operated dairy we were back then. We have five children of our own, and four of them are actively involved with our dairies. Our oldest son serves in the US Army as a helicopter pilot, following in Gary's steps with the military. We now have 12 employees as well. Our love for the land and cattle has not changed; well, in fact, it has actually grown. Along with our dairy farm growth, we have acquired 600 acres of timber and a large vegetable garden.
Over the years, we have realized what a unique set of resources and gifts we have because of our farm. We are a grazing dairy surrounded by the presence of many large conventional dairies. We have decided to pursue a life-long dream of ours, which is making our very own cheese. The next chapter of our life is the personal challenge and passion to turn our unique and special grass-fed milk into great tasting cheese that stands out and is far different from anything else on the market today. It will give us a sense of accomplishment and happiness to share health benefits, flavor, and wholesome goodness with the world through our cheese, and to give others an opportunity to help along the way.
We are so happy that you are interested in following us through every step of the way. Because we are so proud of our farms and new adventure, we want to take you through the journey with us. Stay tuned to our blog and coming-soon Facebook page in the next couple of months. We will show you up-close-and-personal daily events of our cows (from the pasture to the birth to everything in-between), tell you more about ourselves, and of course, keep you updated on the progress of our creamery.