Five Mile Farm
Lisbon, New York
We’re so excited to welcome this week’s farm family, the Akins – Mark, Becky, Allison, and Ryan – of Five Mile Farm, a 1,200 acre spread in Lisbon, New York near the St. Lawrence river. The Akins family represent the sixth and seventh generation of farmers who have lived on their farm for more than 160 years.
The Akins hold the values of farming close – they are passionate about being good stewards of the land that they love and that sustains them. They also recognize and support their community. Mark is a member of the St. Lawrence County legislature. “In a town that has 10 times more cows than people, it is extremely important to represent farm families,” explains Mark. “The economic impact of dairy farms in this area is just huge.” Mark is also a frequent guest agriculture lecturer at Clarkson University.
This week, when we asked them our Farmer Friday Questions, we got a bonus. All four members of the Akins family answered each one! Here is what they had to say:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
Mark – The ability to see my parents, spouse and children work together at common goals.
Becky – Definitely spending time together as family!
Allison – Every one of us have our own niche that we enjoy on the farm. Together we make it work.
Ryan – My favorite thing about being a farm family is at the end of the night we always are together, whether that is for dinner or a scheduled event. There are long hours with the job, but no traveling or hotels, so we enjoy a lot of family time. My other favorite thing about being a farm family is that I would rush home from school to get on a piece of equipment and just ride and run around in the crazy atmosphere.
What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe?
Mark – Cheeseburgers, fresh sweet corn, and lots of ice cream.
Becky – I agree with Mark, plus I’ll add Mac and Cheese! We also have a great appetizer that’s quick and really easy to make. Take a cheese cube, jalapeño pepper, and grape, and skewer all 3 on a toothpick. It sounds unusual but it’s awesome!
Allison – I love Mama’s egg sandwiches – an English muffin with a fresh egg and a cheese slice. It’s always the best getting food as a surprise when were working.
Ryan – Choosing a favorite food is hard! This is what I look forward to at the end of every day – dinner! I love large quantities of food and a variety of things. When raspberries are in season, my favorite dessert is raspberry rhubarb pie. As for my favorite meal, I’m going to go with steak, potatoes, corn, and tossed salad (I also just realized all of that can be grown in Granny’s garden!)
What is your least favorite farm chore?
Mark – Equipment breakdowns
Becky – I’ll be honest, I don’t do farm chores. I teach high school math.
Allison – I don’t like moving calf hutches. Those things are heavier than they look.
Ryan – I dread anything bad that happens in the wintertime. This can range from waters freezing to it just being -30º out.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Mark – Today!
Becky – Summer – the kids are home from college and I enjoy being able to bring lunch to everyone.
Allison – Early summer because I love seeing the newborn calves, and I’m home to take care of them.
Ryan – My favorite time of year is when the cows are starting to calve and the little guys are running around the fresh green pastures. But I enjoy the variety – from maple syrup to planting, then haying, followed by construction, ending with chopping, and manure spreading.
What is the one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
Mark – The first breath of a new born calf. Or the first sight of corn emerging. Or the sight of your family exhausted after they’ve accomplished a task together.
Becky – I love that whatever your interests may be, you can find something you enjoy on a farm. We have animals, large equipment, cool technology, beautiful scenery, and friendly people – there’s something for everyone!
Allison – I love to see the look on someone’s face when they realize how long a cow’s tongue is, watch them bottle feed a newborn calf, or watch a sunrise come up over the horizon before morning chores. Every moment on the farm is priceless.
Ryan – I would like everyone to realize how passionate and caring all farm families are. It’s physically and mentally exhausting, but in the end, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Click here to take a Virtual Tour of Five Mile Farm