At-Home at Mecox Bay Dairy Farm with Art & Stacy Ludlow


Art Ludlow, owner of Mecox Bay Dairy Farm at home with his happy cows. Clara Belle playfully tugs at his shirt for attention.
Lots of Hamptonites are happy hound owners, including Art & Stacy Ludlow. However, unlike most East Enders, the Ludlows decided to add a few more animals to their Mecox menagerie, including: 250 turkeys, 45 cows, 17 chickens, and 18 pigs!  Nestled on the northeast border of Mecox Bay is their bucolic farm, Mecox Bay Dairy. Art is the only modern cheese maker on the South Fork and his cheeses [known for the sweet-faced cow on the label] have become a staple at farmer’s markets, restaurants, and gourmet food shops from Westhampton to Montauk.

In between the hedges and houses in Water Mill, magical Mecox Bay Dairy farm is where Jersey cows roam free, turkeys gobble at any visitors stopping by, and artisan cheese is aging in a chilly cheese chamber.  KDHamptons shares a tour inside the working dairy and learns more about this modern farming family in this exclusive new diary below:

Ruler of the roost: The Ludlows alpha male turkey shows who’s boss

The Ludlows don’t stop at just cheese. They sell grass fed beef, pastured pork, and tasty turkeys. Art raises 250 turkeys every year for Thanksgiving.  One of their most notable turkey-buyers was Jackie O.  If you want a turkey, you better reserve one because they sell out every year. Four generations ago, Art’s great-grandfather, Gurden, began growing crops on the property in 1875. Art and his wife Stacy grew potatoes until 2002, and then they decided to switch to dairy.  They bought three Jersey cows while Art began taking cheese-making classes and soon enough Mecox Bay Dairy began to create quite the buzz.  In just one year, Art’s Mecox Sunrise won second place in the Washed Rind category in the American Cheese Society competition.

Mecox Bay’s mascot, Maisy

A Cornell grad, Art Ludlow religiously plays tennis at the Bridgehampton Tennis Club, while his wife Stacy is an avid horse rider and a local EMT. When the couple isn’t working on the farm, they love learning new dance moves.  Their son, Pete [below], works with Art on the farm and plays classical piano, while their other son, John, is a professional jazz musician.

Shane Donahue
Pete Ludlow perched on a pile of corn (Photo by Shane Donahue). A band of brothers: [below] John & Pete play for the family at the old farmhouse…

Calves love to cuddle. Art explains, “I like making cheese because it is a combination of science and art. Scientifically natural organisms are at work and artistically my imagination is the limit as far as the different types of cheese I can create.”

Cheeses are aged for different lengths of time before they are wrapped and labeled [below] and sent off to all of the fantastic farm stands and gourmet food shops in the Hamptons.

When asked which cheese is his favorite, Art replies, “Whichever one I am eating at the moment.” Art has created five different cheeses using only the most natural processes, with no chemicals added:

* A traditional Farmhouse Cheddar that is typically aged around 7 months with a slight sweetness rather than sharp.
* Sigit cheese [named after his mother’s nickname] is a flavorful hard cheese that ages over a year and tastes like a gruyere.
* The Mecox Sunrise has a washed rind, a tad smoky, and creamy.
* Shawondasee has a nutty flavor that pairs well with fruit.
* Lastly, the Atlantic Mist is soft, tangy, and similar to a Camembert.

The Ludlows own over 40 cows, milking 17 Jersey cows twice a day with the help of only one employee, Claes Cassel. Why only Jersey cows?  They have a better protein to butterfat ratio than other cows and are not given bovine growth hormones. The milking room is run on a tight, organized schedule with a “master milking schedule” listing the names of each cow, and when they are up next.  Their names include: Clara Belle, Mannix Sprinkle, Chocolate Valentine, Alf Aspen, and Cinnamon Miles.

Shane Donahue
Artisan ice cream by Mecox Bay Dairy (Photo by Shane Donahue)

You can find Mecox Bay Dairy products at: The Green Thumb farm stand in Watermill, Country Gardens in Bridgehampton, The Milk Pail in Watermill, Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton, and farmers markets in Sag Harbor, Southampton, Westhampton, and Montauk.  You can also try their cheese plate at the new Fresh restaurant in Bridgehampton!

For more information or to order cheese online, go to *Photography by Kelli Delaney, unless otherwise noted.