North Danville, Vermont
On the backroads of North Danville, VT, about 16 miles from the Cabot Creamery Visitor’s Center, Don and Dianne Langmaid farm one of the prettiest spots you’ll see. They milk 43 registered Holsteins and are longtime members of the cooperative. Don and Dianne – or ‘Smitty’ as Don refers to her, referencing her maiden name- were married in 1978 and took over the farm from Don’s parents in 1985. Farming and a love for the Northeast Kingdom seem to run in the family. North Danville was once home to dozens of dairy farms, but is now down to five – with two of them being branches of the Langmaid Family – and a 3rd having just changed with the recent passing of Don’s cousin, Cliff – and the new owner’s mother was a Langmaid.Though other North Danville family-owned dairy farms have closed their barns forever, the Langmaid’s are still farming. #FarmerFriday Click To Tweet
In a small town like North Danville, most people seem to get involved in the community in one way or another. When asked if she’s involved in the community, Dianne says she doesn’t like to sit still very long. She doesn’t name any one group or activity, but says, “We have a network of people in town who get called when something needs doing. We’re all proud to be part of our little community and happy to help out when it’s needed.”
For the past few years, Dianne has volunteered with a group from St. Johnsbury Academy helping to bring all the fixings for a Thanksgiving Dinner down to New York City. Roughly 20 volunteers make the 6 hour ride on a school bus to prepare dinner for a group of around 400 homeless youth at the Covenant House. The Covenant House provides room for the volunteers to stay in sleeping bags – and they always find it enlightening and rewarding to meet the staff and youth who benefit from the good work the Covenant House does. This is the 28th year that the group has made the trip and it is an incredible experience for those involved. Dianne has made the trip each of the last two years, though this year she opted to help out with collecting donations and send someone with shorter legs for the bus ride.
While speaking about the program, Dianne says, “It’s a nice gesture to those we prepare dinner for, but I think most of the benefit is to those of us who volunteer. It’s a very rewarding experience.” Click here to read more about the history of the Thanksgiving dinner at the Covenant House.
This week we wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and we thank Dianne ‘Smitty’ Langmaid for taking the time to answer our #FarmerFriday questions:
How many generations of your family have been on the farm?
We are the 2nd generation on the farm. Don’s parents purchased the farm in 1951, though the farm itself dates back to before the civil war. We took over in 1985 and have been at it ever since.
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
The farm is an incredible place to raise a family. We are so appreciative of the sense of responsibility and the independence it gave to our children, Jake and Jenny. We have one granddaughter now – and one on the way – and it’s been fun to watch her explore and learn about the farm.
What is your family’s favorite meal?
We keep it pretty simple – we always love grilled cheese (Cabot, of course!) with tomato soup. This week, of course, we’ll be going to our daughter’s house for a big Thanksgiving dinner!
What is your least favorite farm chore?
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Does anyone in your family participate in any volunteer activities in the community?
We have both lived in the area our entire lives, so we have many connections to the community. I am a Justice of the Peace and am also very involved at the local church. There is a network of us that are happy to help when something needs doing, and we always know that the help would be reciprocated if we ever needed it. It’s also a huge help that Don keeps things running at the farm while I am out on my many adventures!
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
Farming is a way of life. Especially on a smaller farm like ours, with only one employee, it is NOT a 40 hour per week job. You really have to love what you do to keep at it 365 long days per year. We are very grateful for all that farming has given us in return for the hard work.
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