Cow barn at Jerry Dell Farm
Image by Sandy Repp

Visiting the dairy cows at Jerry Dell Farm

2011 Jerry Dell Farm

Even though this year's host farm is the newest dairy operation in Tompkins County, owners Vaughn and Sue Sherman are not strangers to many of us - their home farm on Gee Hill Road in Dryden hosted Farm City Day in 2003. The new farm site in Freeville, formerly owned by the Marquis family, is also a past Farm City Day host (2005). Known then as Freebrook Farm, it was operated for nearly 70 years as a dairy farm until 1992 when the Marquis family transitioned to raising draft horses. It's great to back be on this farm this year, and its a wonderful circumstance when a retiring farm family is able to transition their land to another farmer - and, in this case, have the retired dairy restored!

The Sherman family's expansion to the new Freeville site in 2010 makes Jerry Dell the largest organic dairy farm in the Northeastern United States. After some updates to existing facilities, a new barn, and a transfer of some of the herd from the main farm in Dryden, this farm is ready to show off for the day! Jerry Dell Farm was started in 1946 by Gerald and Ardella Sherman and is still family owned and operated. Second-generation owners Vaughn and Sue Sherman now run the farm along with sons Jeremy Sherman and Ryan Sherman, nephews Troy Sherman and Kenny Sherman, and several other employees. A third son, Trever Sherman and his wife Monica raise organic fruit and vegetables on the farm site which are marketed as "Ithaca Organics" through the Jerry Dell Farm Store (at 41 Fall Creek Road, Freeville, ph: 607-351-8747), the Ithaca Farmers' Market, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Production expanded in 2010 with the addition of the Freeville location, and Jerry Dell now milks a combined 450 cows of the 950-head herd of cows, heifers and calves. In 2000, JerryDell Farm was certified organic through the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), a process that involves completion of a detailed written application, a subsequent review and on-farm inspection, and final review. To maintain their NOFA certification, the farm must uphold all certification guidelines and be reviewed yearly. Since their certification, Jerry Dell Farm has also also has earned the 'Gold Award' for outstanding milk quality.

Recognized as a 'Dairy of Distinction' for the past 15 years, Jerry Dell Farm upholds a high standard of farming excellence. Jerry Dell Farm also has been an active advocate for organic local produce and responsible farming practices with representatives on the Organic Valley Dairy Executive Committee as well as the Tompkins County Farm Bureau. The farm also participates in Dryden Dairy Days and offers educational farm tours to many of the local schools.

The farm recently acquired a NYS Raw Milk Permit from the NYS Ag & Markets Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services and is able to sell raw milk from the farm.

Visit the Jerry Dell Farm website, or find them on Facebook!

Last updated July 26, 2019