top of page

PA Dairy Farms Churning Out Delicious Products

Twin Brook Dairy Co. - North Hills Monthly Magazine
Twin Brook Dairy Co.

When you think of western Pennsylvania and its industries, it’s likely that ‘dairy farming’ does not cross your mind. But our region is home to several different dairy farms that make and sell a variety of delicious products.

About eighty goats roam the fields at Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy, a unique dairy farm tucked away on 130 acres in Allison Park, owned by the Loevner family. The Loevners raise three breeds of goats: Alpines, Nubians, and LaManchas. About 40 goats are milked in the milking parlor each day, 20 at a time, with each goat producing a gallon of milk at each session. In turn, the farm produces a vat of cheese each day.

“We also bring in milk from other local dairies; an important aspect of our business is to support other local farms, so we buy their milk too. Some of our cheeses are mixed milk,” explained Will Loevner, who works on the farm as a cheesemaker and farm manager. His parents started the farm about 20 years ago with two goats, and the creamery was officially established in 2015.

After the goats are milked each day, the milk goes into big bulk tanks. Then, via an intricate cheesemaking process, the farm produces six varieties of goat cheese: Fresh Chèvre, Bamboozle, More Cowbell, Cowboy Coffee, Hootenanny, and Wild Rosemary, all of which have been the recipients of multiple local and national awards. For example, Hootenanny, a Gouda-style cheese, took first place in the 2023 US Championship Cheese Contest in the Hard Goat’s Milk Cheese category, while More Cowbell won Best in Show at the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show in the Semi-soft, Semi-hard, Hard Cheese category. Goat Rodeo’s products can be found at numerous locations throughout the region, such as Whole Foods in Wexford and Giant Eagle in Cranberry and Market District in Pine, and at many local restaurants and farmers markets.

The process from milking the goats to producing cheese takes a full day. And part of goat farming is ensuring that the goats are healthy and happy, and that there are enough goats on the farm that they are producing adequate quantities of milk.

Being a dairy farmer means never really taking a day off, as the goats have to get milked daily, and once they are milked, the cheese needs to be made that same day, but for Loevner, the rewards are many. “In the creamery with the cheesemaking process, it’s really rewarding because you start with this big vat of milk and you end the day with individual wheels of cheese; you can really see what you accomplish that day. The cheesemaking process is an art and a science—we do it in a way that is really hands-on,” he said.

Loevner, who majored in Animal Science at Penn State, also loves spending time with the goats. “I like to be with and take care of the goats and make sure that they are happy and healthy. Goats are really cool because they all have their own personalities and they are independent and they are really friendly. They follow you around, almost like dogs,” he said.

Loevner said that goats live about as long as dogs do, but when their milk production decreases, they retire to Allegheny GoatScape. “They have goats throughout the city that are used to clear out weeds on steep hills.”

Another dairy farm, this one south of Pittsburgh, is called Twin Brook Dairy Co., located in Bentleyville, Washington County. While the name may not be on the tip of your tongue, it’s likely that you’ve at least sampled some of their products, particularly as they are the exclusive supplier of milk to Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. You can also find their cream-top whole milk or their chocolate milk products at various Giant Eagle Market Districts around the region, as well as at Millvale Market, all of the Mediterra Café locations, and many area coffee shops.

Randi Marchezak is a third-generation dairy farmer. Her grandparents began the business in 1952. Though she grew up on the family farm, she had no intention of working there after college, choosing the corporate world instead. However, in 2018, after working in the small farm-to-table movement in Pittsburgh, she agreed to move back to the area and help get the farm out of debt, noting that profitability on a dairy farm is quite challenging. She made a deal with Millie’s, providing them with 100 gallons of milk per week. “That led me to bottling and selling directly, and that has helped us to be sustainable and not rely on subsidizing the money from the gas well on our property,” she said.

Today about 150-175 cows graze the fields, with about 50 that are milked regularly. The farm has Guernsey, Holsteins, and Jersey cows. “We milk in the same barn that my grandfather built in the 60s,” said Marchezak, adding that they yield about 6-8 gallons of milk per cow per day, though this depends on the breed of cow.

Once the milk is produced—about 2000 gallons per week— it goes into huge bulk tanks, and then it is sold to United Dairy or direct to customers. They also bottle it in their facility in Homestead, and this is distributed to customers, including Millie’s. A new product for Twin Brook Dairy is an alpine cheese, similar to Swiss, called Farm Girl, which they sell via Harvie, a farm-to-table home delivery service. They are in the process of expanding and selling in retail stores; they also have a small shop on the farm.

Ensuring that the cows are content and happy is high priority for Twin Brook Dairy. “The way you feed and raise them impacts them too. It is important to the cows that they are doing the things they naturally want to do, which is going outside, having a herd dynamic, and walking. They are out on pasture, they socialize, they lick and buck each other, they’re happy and not stressed,” she said, adding that they grow all of the cow’s food on the farm.

Marchezak is happy that she helped to change the trajectory of the farm, and the fact that they are now in touch with customers. “The disconnect between the consumer and the farmer is vast unless you sell directly, but now there are people who want to come and talk about the farm. My father gets positive reinforcement with the thing he’s done his whole life. I can’t imagine something more gratifying—on a family and a personal level, it’s amazing, and I feel really blessed and lucky and grateful that I get to do what I do.”

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page