Don’t be surprised if you walk out of the farm shop at Seven Stars Dairy with reverse sticker shock. Cindy Dunphy, who owns and manages the biodynamic, certified organic farm along with her two sons, Ryan and Zack, routinely gives newcomers two quarts of yogurt on the house. “It’s our way of paying it forward,” she says.
Dunphy has been doing just that since the previous owner of the farm endured a catastrophic farming accident 20 years ago that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Dunphy and her family immediately stepped in to rescue their friends and neighbors from the unyielding demands of the farm. A volunteer stint helping out with the books evolved into an expanded interest in farm operations, and in 2014 the stewardship of the 420-acre farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania was passed tom the Dunphy family.
A fervent appreciation for organic agriculture keeps Dunphy grounded when milk trucks break down or power outages prompt 5 a.m. wake-up calls. As a mother, Dunphy fed her children organic food and even started her own organic clothing line because she wanted “only the purest” for their skin. She recalls how happy her son was, initially, to eat whatever he wanted at college–only to later call begging for grocery money so he didn’t have to eat the repugnant cafeteria food.
On this self-sufficient farm, the herd of Jersey cows graze from early spring to late fall on certified organic pasture. The rest of the farmland is used to cultivate haylege, small grains, and hay that feed them in the winter. Their milk is the star ingredient in the farm’s exceptional yogurt, made on-site with organic maple syrup and organic vanilla extract and sold only in quarts to minimize plastic usage.
The land at Seven Stars is protected from development through conservation easements, ensuring generations of families can benefit from its ecosystem. In the meantime, Dunphy shares the abundance, donating her yogurt to the local food bank and other nonprofits. “With all this,” she says, waving her hand, “it’s appalling to me that anyone in this area would be hungry.”