Farmer Friday: Farmers’ Gratitude

3.18.16

Farmers are the heart of our Co-operative. They own Cabot and they work hard every day to produce the best quality milk, so employees in our creameries can make the World’s Best Cheddar. They take great pride in the product and they bare the financial responsibility when times are tough. They also take the time to govern their business as Voting Representatives, Resolutions Committee Members, Regional Secretaries and as Board Members – and to promote Cabot products in their communities.

95 Cabot Farmers descended on #NYC to thank the NYers who support them thru their purchases #FarmerFriday Click To Tweet

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

This week, 95 Cabot Farmers descended on New York City to thank the New Yorkers who support them through their purchases –and to make new friends – as part of the Farmers’ Gratitude Tour. Farmers from each of the seven states where our farm families are located – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. There were farmers both young and old(er), relatively new to our Co-operative and even one woman from a family that was among the original 92 founders of Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

We had pudding-makers, loggers, fire fighters, teachers, basketball coaches, innkeepers, sugar-makers, and musicians. They came from different-sized farms, farms with different breeds of cows and from very different communities – both rural and urban. Our farmers are as diverse in their interests as any other segment of the population and many had never met, but the feeling was like that of a family reunion on a beautiful summer day.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

The common thread tends to be that they love their farms, working with cows and family, and love the way of life. Between their love for home and the busy, long-hour lives they lead, it can be a difficult ask to get farmers off the farm. But this week these 95 farmers enthusiastically came together to thank New Yorkers.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

Hello, New York!

Dressed in plaid and riding into the city on plaid buses, farmers were armed with cheese and filled with gratitude and a whole lot of #FarmLove. They visited 38 incredible grocery stores for two days each and also delivered ‘Random Acts of Cheddar’ to countless fire houses, police departments, BCorpsReward Volunteers Partners, Non-Profit organizations and passersby on the streets. We even had our two plaid buses traveling the city with a dozen farmers each, sharing cheese at the Today Show, Central Park, Grand Central Station and the Empire State building. There was even dancing!

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

Our farmers spend a lot of time sharing cheese and hosting farm tours in their communities throughout New England and New York, but for many, this was a first trip to New York City. Everyone was excited to visit the Big Apple – especially since more than half of the farm families in our Co-operative are located in Upstate New York. We also make cheese at our Chateaugay Creamery and last week announced that our farm families have approved a significant investment in Upstate New York.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

We came to New York to share our gratitude. What we found was a city that was an incredible host and New Yorkers that were VERY appreciative of the work farmers do. You could watch dairy farmers melt as they were thanked for their hard work, long hours and great product. The fáilte hospitality and New York’s incredible energy made the trip one that Cabot Farmers and staff will never forget.

Jenni Tilton-Flood, of Flood Brothers Farm in Clinton, Maine, was one of the 95 farmers on the trip, as part of both the Random Acts of Cheddar Team and one of the ‘Cheddar Flash Mobs.’ She was making only her second ever trip to New York City. This week, she shares some of her thoughts about the trip.
Thank you Jenni – and thank you, New York!

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

FarmLove… Farmers are an independent lot, and Cabot Farmers are no exception, but the very nature of a Co-operative is one of interdependence and unity; it is not a stretch to say that we are a clan. For many farmers, days on the farm are a quiet chaos that is quite solitary from the rest of the world. The Peckham family of Elm Farm is no exception, and while their days may be rhythmic in accordance with the daily routines of cows and fields, punctuated with family and community, they are a team in the barn and in the home.

It should have come as no surprise then, walking the streets of the City that Never Sleeps, that these two farmers would, without thought, lace their fingers and clasp hands with each other past concrete monoliths, under neon umbrellas, weaving through throngs and masses of people who move as if in fast forward as if they were simply strolling through a pasture in a place they called home. Farmlove, it appears, travels well and Cabot Farmers bring it with them, wherever they go.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

Generations of Gratitude Angela and Lucas Young from Valleyside Farm in Woodstock, CT are not new to dairy farming. The 8th generation dairy farmers are innately imbued with a love for their land and cows.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

The Gratitude Tour was their first visit to NYC since they visited on an 8th grade class trip. They were a world away from the farm that has been in the Young family since the 1700s, but it only took a visit to a the firehouse of Engine 16, Ladder 7 on the East Side for them to feel at home.

Lucas is a captain in a long family line of firefighters and chiefs in their hometown volunteer fire department. There are similarities between serving in the fire department and farming: the odd hours, hard work, dedication and sense of duty to community. It is not coincidence that so many of our Cabot farmers are volunteer firefighters, among other important positions in rural communities.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC

As with farmers, some firehouses throughout the city are filled with legacies – generations of firefighters throughout their family trees, while others, like Engine 16 are First Generation pioneers: they were drawn to this job and this way of life because it is special. And these fire fighters are special. Often times it is said that you need a farmer three times a day, but it is those folks that we depend upon the most, at times of urgency and desperation, like those of Engine 16, that we truly need and hope to never call upon. They rush headlong towards that which we normal folks flee.

It was an absolute honor and privilege to visit with them, and dozens of other fire houses and police departments throughout NYC to thank them for all they do. We so enjoyed expressing the gratitude of our 1,200 farm families and the folks of Cabot for their willingness to answer the call to serve and protect, and yes, give them some our World’s Best Cheddar.

Cabot Farmers - Farmers' Gratitude Tour in NYC


If you would like to learn more about Cabot Creamery Cooperative or some of our other 1,200 farm families, click here.

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Comments

Kristin Haskins,Barre Vt | March 18, 2016 | 9:17am

Oh, that must have been such an amazing and magical adventure!! Thanks for sharing it!

Judith deRancourt, Montgomery Center VT / March 28, 2019/ 5:45pm | March 28, 2019 | 4:46pm

How wonderful to read this history of Cabot, its farmers and cooperative, and great products! The story of FarmLove and the Gratitude Tour to New York City was incredibly moving and awe-inspiring. Thank you for visiting firefighters and first responders and gifting them with cheese! I’ll bet each one was grateful and thrilled. So, too, thank you for the story about Engine 16, the First Generation group of local heroes.
I hadn’t realized there were 8th generation dairy farmers in the Co-op! Hats off to Angela and Lucas Young and to all the farm families who lovingly care for the cows and make the World’s Best Cheddar!
Here’s to the next century!

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