Cabot farmer Jenni Tilton-Flood of Flood Brothers Farm in Clinton, Maine spent some time this fall visiting other Cabot farms in her area. Her assignment was to not only share her beautiful images of the places and people she encountered, but also to write about her experience from a farmer’s perspective. This week Jenni visited Conant Acres in Canton, Maine:
Garrit Sneller is not the first child to spend his days plowing roads through bedding between two strings of cows in the milking barn at Conant Acres. There is little doubt that he will not be last to do so here.
A visit to this farm, which is perfectly situated in a picturesque spot near river and wooded hills, is a visit with family. Here in Canton, Maine one has hit the jackpot when they pull in the yard and meet Duane & Betty Conant, who with their children and respective spouses Debbie & Steve Keene and Dennis & Heidi Conant anchor the two elder generations. Grandchildren Natalie & Matt Sneller, Brian & Sarah Keene, Tristian Franchetti, Kaicey Conant and great-grand children Garrit & Aubrey Sneller and Riley Keene are already walking the path that leads to the future. The cows here are as accomplished as the farmers and they are undeniably and justifiably considered part of the family.
Every family member has a story about a cow. Garrit talks about his calf Chenille. Princess Kaicey, current Maine Dairy Princess, spends tender moments with Bevin the Brown Swiss. Sarah takes a shine to the personalities of Tahoe and Leslie. And everybody says the name “Sweet” with a gentle tone and a soft expression. Each cow is spoken of as they would speak of a family member and each family member can speak of every cow on the farm.
Duane and Betty Conant have built a showplace, raised a family and nurtured a legacy that transcends from cows to great-grandchildren. Through the years their mettle and acumen has been tested and pity those who would ever doubt their wherewithal. Every inch and every being of the farm exudes that this is “where families come first”.