On Nov. 13, Nutter will be inducted into the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Business Hall of Fame for his lifelong dedication not only to farming, but also to Orange County.
Bob Woodruff, chairman of the selection committee, said picking Nutter was a fairly easy decision.
“One of the things that impressed the group, I think, was his decision to move his dairy farm from Maine to North Carolina,” he said.
Nutter decided to move due to the cold climate of Maine and the better milk market in North Carolina.
Farming has been in Nutter’s blood for many generations.
“It’s the only thing I know,” Nutter said. “I just didn’t think about doing anything else.”
When the farm moved to North Carolina in 1963, it primarily produced milk. Today Maple View Farm has evolved to include milk bottling and ice cream production.
Susan Nichols, a longtime friend and employee of the farm, has known Nutter since 1963 and has worked for him for the past six years.
“Bob is probably the most devoted farmer I’ve ever met,” Nichols said. “He is very serious about his job. He’s a very compassionate man, he’s genuinely concerned about his community and he does things for the community that people don’t even realize.”
She recalled how she first met Nutter. He was trying to change a heat filter while standing on the top part of a ladder.
“I was alarmed that he might fall, and he was alarmed that I thought he was an old man who couldn’t do the chores,” Nichols said. “He’s 86 years old, but he still works like he’s a young man.”
Nichols said Nutter cares deeply about Orange County. The Maple View Ice Cream store donates ice cream for fundraisers. A portion of the proceeds from special events go to the Wounded Warriors Fund, American Cancer and Sam’s Wish Fund, a group for children with serious health conditions.
Nichols said Nutter also donated books to elementary school children and established a program that provides dictionaries to third-graders in Orange County Schools.
“I think his support is for Orange County schools because he is an Orange County dairyman and his children went to Orange County schools, so he gives back to the school system,” Susan Nichols said.
Nutter spent almost $1 million on the Maple View Agricultural Educational Center in Hillsborough — a nonprofit facility designed to educate both children and adults about agricultural life. Children learn about where their milk and food come from and how to eat healthy.
“Bob has one of the biggest hearts out of anyone I’ve met in my entire life. He is so generous to the people of Orange County,” said Allison Nichols, executive director of the center. “He is an inspiration and a mentor to a lot of people, including myself.”
Whenever Nutter isn’t hard at work, he enjoys tagging along on the hay rides that tour the farm’s property. He points up at his white house, letting everyone know that’s where Farmer Bob lives.
“To young children he is just as important as someone who really does live in the White House,” Susan Nichols said.