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2024 Power 100: Allie Catlin

A woman with blond hair is wearing a black jacket and purple sweater. Photo | Edd Cote Allie Catlin, co-owner of Smith's Country Cheese
Allie Catlin Title Co-owner Company Smith’s Country Cheese, in Winchendon Employees 14 Residence Winchendon Colleges Franklin Pierce University; Suffolk University Read all the Power 100 profiles here.
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In a country full of mega farms and as small businesses across all industries struggle with the move to even more online commerce, Smith’s Country Cheese is a breath of fresh air.

Running a small dairy farm and creamery was something Allie Catlin and her co-owners had to learn, but seven years in, they seem to have the right idea.

Bringing a flavor of dairy-farm haven Vermont to North Central Massachusetts, Catlin, her husband Jake, and her brother- and sister-in-law Mike and Leah raise 200 Holstein dairy cows on 43 acres in Winchendon, producing 180,000 pounds of Gouda, havarti, and cheddar cheeses for sale at Smith’s Country Cheese farm store, local farmers markets, and online.

Using raw milk free of antibiotics and hormones and locally sourced herbs and spices, Smith’s is committed to selling fresh and natural food. Allie and Jake left jobs in fitness and law enforcement and bought the business from founder Dave Smith seven years ago. Smith and his wife founded the business in 1985 and trained the Catlins for 18 months before they took over. They didn’t have experience, outside of their summer jobs spent working on farms growing up in nearby Ashburnham. Mike and Leah, also novices, joined the family business to create a working farm operation open to the community.

People are invited to visit the cows and watch Smith’s employees make the cheese when they come to the shop.

Sustainable farming is a central aspect of Catlin’s philosophy. A grid-tied photovoltaic solar system offsets 70% of hot water and 30% of electricity costs on the farm, according to the company website. Meanwhile, the Catlins make their own compost from cow manure to manage farm waste in a green way.

Read all the Power 100 profiles here.

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