Local farm, food producer create partnership

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple is partnering with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple is partnering with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple is partnering with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple is partnering with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple is partnering with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple is partnering with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm in Temple has partnered with Francestown Village Foods, now based in Milford, to supply ground beef for the food company's small farm products line. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/23/2019 10:42:59 PM

A recent partnership between Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm and Francestown Village Foods is what both are anticipating to be the start of a perfect marriage.

Like most farmers, Chris Connolly and his two brothers, Michael and Patrick, the owners of the Temple dairy and beef farm, are always on the lookout for another avenue to sell their products. At the same time, Jason Martel, owner of Francestown Village Foods based in Milford, wants more local ingredients to use in his product lines. But the connection happened by pure chance.

A family member bought Connolly’s parents a couple of the Francestown Village Foods meals for the holidays. His parents raved about the food, and it got Connolly thinking.

“I said ‘We should approach them about using some of our beef,’” he said. “As a farmer, you’re always looking for an outlet, how can you move more product.”

His parents liked the meals so much they went to buy more and sure enough, Connolly’s mom, Lynda, struck up a conversation with Martel’s wife. The very next day, Martel stopped by the farm, walked the grounds and learned a little bit about the operation. Almost immediately he knew it could be the start of something special.

“They are producing foods like people have producing for hundreds of years,” Martel said.

A few conversations ensued, and last month, Francestown Village Foods began using Connolly Brothers ground beef in some of its small farm products.

“We wanted them to be part of us, and we wanted to be part of them,” Martel said. “The idea was local products, locally raised.”

The company is no longer associated with the Francestown Village Store, which Martel sold five years ago to focus on the food business. He now offers 27 different items and just shy of 10 feature ground beef. The agreement included expectations for a certain amount of product for 2019, with the goal to grow that number in the coming years. Connolly Brothers also raise pigs and lamb, which Martel said he would like to use as the partnership continues to grow.

“From our company’s standpoint, we have pretty high standards for what we use,” Martel said. “And this was kind of a no-brainer for us because the end result is the best possible product for the consumer.”

Within the next couple weeks, the Connolly Brothers logo will appear on the Francestown Village Foods labels to show the collaboration and alert customers to where the ground beef is coming from.

“People want quality, people want local,” Connolly said.

Connolly Brothers also began selling a select number of the frozen food companies’ products in its farm stand, including shepherd’s pie and lasagna that use Connolly’s ground beef.

Connolly said he currently has 50 beef cows in his herd, which are 95 percent grass fed, and that it takes about 18 months to two years for a cow to be ready for processing. He uses USDA processing plants in Goffstown and Groton, Massachusetts, to prepare the meat, but said that Connolly Brothers owns the cow right up until it gets delivered to Francestown Village Foods, which is about three weeks from start to finish.

“It’s literally farm to table,” Martel said.

For Connolly, the business venture takes some of the uncertainty out of raising cattle for meat. Over the years, they’ve sold the meat at their Temple farm stand and to a few companies but nothing that was ever as consistent as this agreement will be. And if they’ve had extra with no one to buy the meat, they would sell the cows to the Flame Livestock Market in Littleton, Massachusetts, but for prices much less than desired.

“This has opened up a big market for us,” Connolly said.

This will alleviate any concern of extra meat and actually increase the number of cows they will raise in the future.

“We know we can handle what they’re expecting this year,” Connolly said.

“And they’re able to anticipate where the beef is going,” Martel added.

Connolly Brothers is located at 140 Webster Highway in Temple and the farm stand is open daily. You can find Francestown Village Foods products at Shaw’s, Hannaford’s and independent grocers.


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