I’m back to share more in-depth details about the farms we visited on the Stonyfield Blogger Barnstorming Tour!
As I mentioned, one of the coolest things about the tour was getting to meet the farmers and the cows in person!
The first farm we visited on the tour was the Howmars Farm, which is run by Jonathan, Karen, Howard, and Mary Gates. The farm has been in the family for three generations, since 1943. Wow!
Howmars Farm has been certified organic for nearly 13 years and is an Organic Valley brand milk provider. It’s fun now to buy this brand at the store and think that it might have come from one of my new cow friends
We were shown around by one of the farm’s owners, Jonathan.
It was awesome to meet a farmer that’s so knowledgeable and passionate about his farm. The cows like him just as much as we did — doesn’t it look like she’s smiling?
Jonathan’s farm has about 50 milking cows, and they live to an average of 10 years old. He even has one cow that is 15 and a half! That sure beats the heck out of the conventionally raised average age of 4 years!
He doesn’t keep any bulls on site (they can be aggressive/dangerous), so all the cows are impregnated using artificial insemination. I didn’t even know they could do that with cows!
One of the most interesting things that Jonathan told us about is his employment of rotational grazing, which maximizes nutrients both in the land and for the cows themselves.
With rotational grazing, cows are frequently rotated to new areas of the pasture, letting them graze on fresh grass and allowing the other areas time to re-grow.
His farm has a 28-day grazing rotation, which he says he has come about through trial and error.
I also loved that all the cows at his farm had names! I asked Jonathan if he can tell them apart, and he said definitely. Apparently they all have very distinct personalities!
The Howmars Farm is also cool because during the early spring, the entire family engages in the production of maple syrup! I’m not sure there’s anything more amazing than New England maple syrup. Am I right?!
I see pancakes in my future.
I will leave you with a quote from Jonathan:
People forget how important food is. If you’re going to spend money on something, spend it on local, organic food.
Do you try to buy local and organic? I love farmers markets, but I haven’t been able to go to any recently because of my weird school/work schedule. I’m really excited because when I move to North Carolina in August, there’s a co-op grocery store AND a farmer’s market right around the corner from our new place. Sweet!
Stay tuned — there are more farm recaps to come!
p.s. Per request, I just added a new section to my recipes page with all my “5 minute packable lunches” — check it out!