Four Generations of History in These Hills
Cornell Jersey Dairy was founded by grandpa Wilhelm Blatter near the intersection of Cornell and Barnes roads in 1921. The Cornell name was chosen to commemorate grandpa's attendance at Cornell Agricultural College (now Cornell University) to study animal husbandry following his emigration from Switzerland in 1901 at 24 years of age.
The dairy was moved to its current location in 1926 and shortly converted to a goat dairy, which was better suited for the smaller property. Wilhelm’s son Ted Blatter took over the family business in 1945. In the mid ‘50s, the property was converted to growing strawberries, and Ted began growing trees and shrubs for wholesale on a part-time basis while working other jobs.
On Mother's Day 1987, Ted's son Ed and daughter-in-law Deby opened a retail stand (The Patio) selling geraniums, fuchsia hanging baskets and large buckets of ripe cherry tomatoes grown in their first greenhouse. The business developed each year, adding more and more annual and perennial varieties, then containers and gardening supplies, and eventually houseplants, gifts, arbors, outdoor art, statuary, and outdoor furniture.
From one greenhouse to 13, Cornell Farm has grown steadily over the past 35 years. What was once a two-person operation has expanded to a staff of over 50, including Ed and Deby's own children, Berkeley, Zoe, and Ranann.
In addition to the more than 800 varieties of annuals and perennials grown in their onsite greenhouses today, the family-owned Nursery has cultivated a reputation for sourcing high-quality plants from local and regional growers and offering all the supplies and planet-friendly advice needed to keep gardens and homes beautiful year-round.
Since 2016, they have also been serving up fresh, seasonal fare from the family’s historic 1926 farmhouse, which was lovingly converted into a Cafe offering a full espresso bar, pastry case, sit-down brunch service, and more.
In the mid 20th Century, goat's milk was the formula of choice, and infants in our corner of once-rural Portland were raised on goat's milk from the Blatter family farm, as evidenced by this advertisement starring Ed's sister, Heidi!
Today, the team at Cornell Farm still refers to one of the outbuildings on property as the "Milk House" in honor of its original use.