Mahwah Farms – A Landmark of Yesteryear
This unattributed article was first published in “The Old Station Timetable” in December 1979.
Mahwah Farms, once the largest cattle breeding and distribution dairy farm in Bergen County from the mid-twenties to 1944, was located along the southbound lane of Route 17 (now the site of Robbie’s Music Barn).
The late Albert J. (Allie) Winter built the first barn back in 1909. He expanded the dairy farm over a span of many years and won first prizes with his registered cattle at the Trenton State Fair.
Milk was delivered from the Oakland line to Route 202 up to Hillburn, N.Y. and Sloatsburg, N.Y., (including Suffern), throughout Mahwah and Airmont, Ramsey, Allendale and Saddle River. Mahwah Dairy was known in the area for its high quality of raw and pasteurized milk.
The late Charles Suffern, who worked for “Allie”, was the father of the late William Suffern who worked for the Mahwah Road Department. Charlie and his family came off the ridge (area beyond the high school on Ridge Rd. in 1909). Others who worked on the farm included Harold Ackerson and the late Dorrie DeGroat and Ralph Osborne.
In the early days, there were two entrances to the dairy. One was over a dirt lane from Island Rd. that came directly to the northwest end of the barns, and the other was through Moffatt Rd. off Island Rd.
Mr. Winter had three teams of horses that he housed in the barns located on North Railroad Ave. (now the site of the Department of Public Works). He planted his own corn and reaped his own hay from fields located north of the barns and the east side of Island Rd.
After Mr. Winter’s death on March 26, 1944, the dairy was operated for about six months under the supervision of his wife, Annie Winter, who sold it to Mr. Fremont Lovett, president of Orange & Rockland Utilities. Mr. Lovett was killed in an airplane accident, and his sons operated the dairy for a short time.
On July 22, 1946, everything, including the purebred cattle and equipment, was sold at auction. The dairy route was sold to Rockland Milk and Cream and the property to Mr. Fred Wehran, owner of Sun Valley Farm in Mahwah.
For several years after that, the late Martin Cook rented the barns and kept his herd of milk cows in the main barn. They grazed in his fields off Island Rd., now the industrial park area. Mr. Cook and his family lived in the house (once a stage coach stop) now the site of Burger King on Route 17.