Part of the fun part in supporting any local business is personally knowing the people, history, and how it fits into and supports the community. Its our neighbors, our schools, and our local business that make our town unique from any other, its the things that make us want to live here.
Sharing our background story, a small summary of the journey the family has traveled gives us the opportunity to let you know who you’re supporting, right? Whether you have visited our family’s farm, or you’re planning to- we’d love to share with you a little bit about who we are. It has been a long journey, but with a vision, a dream and a group of supporters… our business is fortunately still stickin’ around thanks to our amazing community!
We’ll make this short and sweet- (and personal!) Written with the collaboration of knowledge from Steve McCray (my dad) and my awfully informal writing techniques (Hi, I’m Christy) I’m going to write this out in a what hopefully is an interesting and personable context of background facts of how McCray’s Farm came to be!
My grandpa(or Grampy as us grandchildren called him), Donald McCray, purchased this farm in 1955 with 230 acres of land. It started out as a partnership, but soon he bought the partner out and began to run the farm on his own the following year. He then started bringing animals to South Hadley from his hometown of Monson, Massachusetts. With the idea of a dairy farm in mind, he eventually developed a milking herd of 40 cows. That small circle of cows gradually and continually increased until at one point he was milking 120 cows, (twice a day) in the late 70’s to early 80’s. (Woah!!)
Now, in 1972 Don started a free petting zoo as a memorial of his son, Allen McCray, who was killed in a tragic accident on the farm, Christmas Eve in 1971. Allen had always told his dad that they should have a free petting zoo so that other children can see and visit the farm animals.
Our free petting farm, thanks to Allen’s dream, has been a true blessing as well as a staple to some childhood memories from multiple generations of people in our area.
Unfortunately in 1985, milk prices were falling, times were getting tough, Donald and his son(my dad, Steve) decided it was time to diversify. After many road trips to the eastern part of the state to see what people were doing to enhance their farm income, they opened an ice cream stand in 1985. Which actually expanded in the opportunity to add seating, a grilling area and some bakery products. In the words of my dad, “We always prided ourselves on creating a good product at a fair price. We love operating a stand where the whole family can come and enjoy a night out that doesn’t break the bank.”
In 1990, Donald’s friend Dave Bradway convinced him to try pumpkins and about the same time he was approached by Charlie Daugnon and Dan Augusto about starting a haunted Halloween hayride. Both businesses kicked off in the early 90’s. And, as you’re aware of, pumpkin picking and the haunted hayrides are still around to this day!
Continuing with our strong commitment and interest in sharing the farm with the local community in 2004 we added miniature golf to our list of activities with the construction of Stony Falls Miniature Golf.
Finally, in 2013, the milk processing plant was added where now have the ability to offer the local community fresh milk processed, bottled and sold.
Today, in 2015, we’re hoping this is going to be our greatest year yet, we’re still family operated with Steve McCray making all the ice cream and doing majority of the farm work; my brother Mike is the milk processor, my brother Doug takes part in the fall with the haunted hayrides and all our Farm events; as for me, the baby of the family, I manage the creamery part-time, so you may see me here and there. Now, Welcome to the family!
So stop in have an ice cream, pet some animals, pick a pumpkin, play some golf or just enjoy the view.