The William H. Miner
Agricultural Research Institute
Chazy, New York
Although it is not a family farm, The Miner Institute is not only a part of the Cabot Creamery Cooperative, it is an important research facility for both the dairy and equine industry. Its mission is clear: “The Miner Institute conducts integrated, cutting-edge education, research, and demonstration programs that optimize the biological and economic relationships among forage-crop production, dairy and equine management and environmental stewardship.” The dairy industry in general and Cabot farmers in particular benefit from the important work carried out at the Miner Institute every day.
Heart’s Delight Farm was developed on William Henry Miner’s family homestead of 144 acres in Chazy, New York, beginning in 1903. By 1918, the farm had grown to 12,000 acres. Miner’s fortune, acquired from his numerous mechanical inventions for railcars, allowed him to create a model farm that utilized new technologies, such as drain tiles for fields, that were uncommon farming practices in that time.
William Miner died in 1930 and his will provided for the establishment of a school and farm devoted to teaching scientific and environmentally sound agricultural practices to the farmers and youth of Northern New York and surrounding regions. Today, the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute (Miner Institute) is a private not-for-profit research farm. The farm milks about 325 registered Holstein dairy cows three times a day.
We asked Rachel Dutil of the Miner Institute to answer our Farmer Friday questions:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
We are proud to be members of the Agri-Mark cooperative and although we aren’t a family dairy farm anymore, we are proud of the Miner heritage and our Miner family! We are devoted to our mission of education, research, and demonstration.
What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe?
At Miner Institute, we all love food, especially food with lots of dairy ingredients! Each year in June, we have a dairy bakeoff in honor of dairy month. It is so great to have a friendly competition – the winner gets lots of bragging rights and gets to sign a Miner apron that gets passed from bakeoff winner to bakeoff winner. This Maple Dream recipe is a 2014 Miner Dairy Bakeoff winning entry, Courtesy of Robert Fievisohn, from the second edition of the official Vermont Maple Cookbook.
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts
2 sticks melted butter
Combine and pat in bottom of 9”x13” baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Cabot Whipped Cream*
Blend and spread on bottom layer.
3 cups pure maple syrup
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons butter
Warm syrup in a 2-quart saucepan. Combine and beat thoroughly the eggs, water, flour and salt. Mix into maple syrup and cook until mixture boils, beating all the time to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and add butter. Cool and spread on top of second layer.
1 cup Cabot Whipped Cream*
Spread whipped cream over the top and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cut into bars.
Yield: About 24 bars
What is your least favorite farm chore?
I asked around and cleaning barns and cleaning waterers, particularly in the winter, seemed to be most people’s least favorite farm chore
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Summer! Although it is one of the busiest times on the farm, we also have extra help in the form of our summer interns. Our summer experience program at Miner Institute is a 13-week paid summer internship program for undergraduates. Students apply to participate in either summer experience in equine management; agricultural research; or dairy farm management. The students work closely with our farm or research staff and get lots of hands-on experience that will serve them well as they continue their education and pursue careers in agriculture. Learn more about our education programs at http://whminer.org/education.html
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
The food that makes its way to your family’s dinner table represents a huge amount of hard work. Farmers are incredibly proud of their products and they work hard to provide healthy food that is affordable and safe to eat. If you have questions about how or why we do what we do, just ask us!
To learn more about the Miner Institute, click here.
*Recipe revised 8/13/14 by Rachel Dutil after commenter Cabot Farmer pointed out that Cabot whipped cream would be better in this recipe -Thanks for the suggestion, Cabot Farmer!