Mom and daughter Holsteins are last of Hopkins cows

Artist Terrance Vann nearing completion of West Rehobth Legacy Mural
September 2, 2022

Story Location:
Sweetbriar Road
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

The Hopkins family ended its eight-decade-old dairy farm operation after selling its 1,000 cows over the past two years. So for the first summer in many, many years, the fields along Dairy Farm and Sweetbriar roads outside Lewes have corn growing instead of cows roaming.

That’s why it caught my eye not too long ago when I noticed two cows hanging out in the trees of a fenced-in yard near the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail that crosses Sweetbriar. Turns out the two Holsteins are the last of the Hopkins Farm cows, and they’re owned by Stephanie and Rob Heslep.

The Hesleps moved to the area from a dairy farm in Kennett Square, Pa., in 2018 specifically to manage the Hopkins Farm’s former dairy operation. They live in the one-story rancher next to the bike trail, but for a number of years, they lived in the old, two-story farmhouse that was on Dairy Farm Road close to the intersection with Beaver Dam Road.

“We love cows and these two have such a nice personality,” said Stephanie.

The cows are mom and daughter. Mom’s name is Pita, while daughter’s name is PJ. The Hesleps were hesitant to tell me how mom got her name, but they told me after a while.

It stands for Pain In The A**, said Rob. PJ stands for Pain In The A** Jr.

“We didn’t get too creative on the second one,” he said.

The name is a joke, said Stephanie, while feeding them apples. They’re so sweet, she said, as Pita gave her a gentle nudge with her head after the apples were gone.

“They’re so smart, and they definitely know their names,” said Stephanie. “Pita nudging me was her way of acknowledging.”

I’m not the only person who has noticed the cows.

“People always stop,” said Rob, describing one morning when he and the cows were down by Sweetbriar Road. “This woman stopped her car and told me it made her day to see the cows.”

Stephanie said they just wanted to have the cows as pets and didn’t really think about what it would mean for others to still have a couple of cows around.

“We find people on the trail looking over at them all the time,” said Stephanie.

Now that the dairy operation is gone, Rob is the production manager of the ongoing ice cream operation, and Stephanie got a job working as a reproductive specialist and Spanish interpreter for Premier Select Sires, a farmer-owned cooperative serving beef and dairy producers.

The Hesleps don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. They have an almost-2-year-old son, Spencer, who is beginning to learn the finer details of life on a farm. As for Pita and PJ, the Hesleps expect them to live long, happy lives.

“She’s a nice retired cow now,” said Stephanie.

West Rehoboth Legacy Mural nearing finish

About two months ago, there was a large party in West Rehoboth celebrating the unveiling of the West Rehoboth Legacy Mural. Nearly a year in the making, the project is a partnership between the Developing Artist Collaboration and West Side New Beginnings Children and Youth Program. Artist Terrance Vann, whose connection to West Rehoboth dates back at least five generations, was commissioned to paint the mural, which is taking shape on a large concrete block wall that has three sides.

At the time of the unveiling, the mural wasn’t 100% complete. It was far enough along to get the idea, but some of the details still needed to be filled in.

Vann was filling in those details the other day – specifically the side of the wall facing Central Street. The wall features a group of kids and portraits of West Side New Beginnings founder Brenda Milbourne and longtime West Rehoboth advocate Minnie Smith-Burton. He said he was pleased with how things were coming along.

“I just keep plugging away at it. Murals take a lot of time and not everyone thinks about that,” said Vann, as he mixed paint.

Joke of the Week:

It’s back-to-school season, and while I’ve had a number of joke submissions since my last column, none have been about school, so I had to find one on my own. As always, send joke submissions to

Student: Teacher, would you punish me for something I didn’t do?

Teacher: Of course not.

Student: Good, because I didn’t do my homework.


  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter