Eating in America has evolved exponentially since WWII, when scarcity sparked major innovations in transportation and storage. Advances in the food industry like canning, monoculture (growing one crop) and genetic modification have helped to fill the shelves of our local markets with low cost meals. Though the industrialization of food has largely been a success, many feel that mass-produced edibles sacrifice the health of consumers and the environment. Beyond that: they just don’t taste as good.
In an effort to address these concerns, more consumers are gravitating toward foods that are locally sourced and naturally produced. Crescent Ridge Dairy, located in Sharon, MA, is helping families throughout the region reclaim their dinner tables by expanding their existing home milk delivery system to include more unique dairy products as well as other groceries from small regional entities.
One such addition to Crescent Ridge’s home delivery catalog is the regional favorite, coffee milk. Coffee flavored syrup with milk was first served commercial at drug stores and soda fountains in Rhode Island nearly a century ago. The drink became so popular that companies in New Bedford, Massachusetts and Warwick Rhode Island began full-scale production of the syrup for New Englanders to mix their own coffee milk at home. Crescent Ridge takes this tradition a step further by premixing their own classic-style coffee syrup with their famous fresh milk and packaging it in glass bottles for optimal taste. One sip of this beverage has the ability to transport you to a simpler time.
Before industrialized food, people ate what they or their neighbors could grow, raise and preserve in their locality. The fruits, vegetables, and livestock they ate corresponded with the seasons of the year. Though limited selection required some additional creativity in the kitchen, families had meals that tasted better and were better for them due to minimal preservatives, hormones and shipping time. For houses on the routes of Crescent Ridge Milkmen, this part of The American Dream is still a reality. Of course, today, they can supplement their pantries with modern amenities as well.
In addition to the fresh dairy products, grass-fed beef, and humanely raised pork that comes from Crescent Ridge’s own Sharon farm, the brand has teamed up with other like-minded companies in the region to expand their catalogue to include cage-free eggs, artisan breads and much more. One partner is Red’s Best Seafood, who’s QR code labeled products allow consumers to learn about one of the fishermen who helped bring that specific species from the sea, to Boston Harbor and eventually, your home. Another is their Sharon neighbor, Ward’s Berry Farm, who’s offerings include a ‘Farmer’s Choice Box’ which contents represent the best seasonal produce of that particular week. Whole Life Pet brings farm to under-the-table with their line of pet treats made with 100% human grade ingredients and natural preserving techniques.
The Crescent Ridge Story
Malby and Mildred Parrish started Crescent Ridge in 1932 when they purchased the 44-acre plot farmland on Sharon’s historic Bay Road and made it suitable to grow crops and raise cows for milk. Back then, Malby was able to make his rounds delivering fresh dairy to the community with just one dependable 1928 Chevrolet truck. In less than 10 years, the operation had achieved enough success to justify the installation of a modern pasteurization and bottling plant. By 1953 Crescent Ridge controlled a fleet of milk trucks that served not only families in Sharon, but the neighboring towns of Canton, Stoughton, Norwood, Walpole and Westwood, Massachusetts as well.
Crescent Ridge opened their first Dairy Bar on their original plot of land in 1968. Its popularity has only grown since then, with the ice cream it serves winning the reputation of the best in New England amongst locals and seasoned travelers alike. Years later, National Geographic would name it one of The 10 Best Ice Creams in the World. More recently, Crescent Ridge was named 2019 Best of Boston, Best Ice Cream.
This expansion and the loyal following Crescent Ridge helped the brand weather the troubled economic climate of the 1970 and prosper into the 1980’s. By the early 1990’s Crescent Ridge began expanding its menu starting with fresh squeezed orange juice.
Mark Parrish became the third generation to operate the family business in 1998. This same year, he made significant investments into Crescent Ridge’s infrastructure by expanding their warehouse, freezer and lab space and making updates to their milk plant. Mark continues to innovate and grow the Crescent Ridge brand. Their products can now be found on the shelves of major stores like Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, Shaws / Star Market, Roche Bros, Big Y and others. He has teamed up with other local businesses and diversified his own operation to feature fresh seafood, grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, produce, maple syrup and other artisan products in their catalogue.
Crescent Ridge’s farm and ice cream dairy bar are located at 355 Bay Road, Sharon MA 02067. A second dairy bar location is Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover Street, Boston. For more information, call (781) 784-2740 or visit crescentridge.com.