East Canaan, Connecticut
There is #FarmLove in the air! In February 2014, a few of our Young Cooperators wanted to share the incredible scenery, cows, families, employees and hard work that they LOVE about dairy farming…and they invited other farmers to join them by using #FarmLove.
This week, Cabot Farmer Amanda Freund, co-founder and passionate champion of #FarmLove, offers a deeper look at what dairy farming means to her. Amanda, a Cornell University graduate, has served as a staffer to a Connecticut Congresswoman, a Farm Bureau grassroots coordinator and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia before returning to the family farm in 2014. Each generation has evolved the farm business, creating new opportunities to foster the next generation’s success. They operate Freund’s Farm Market & Bakery, as well as an innovative business called CowPots, which turns cow manure into nutrient rich gardening pots. Along with her siblings and cousins, Amanda represents the third generation on the Freund Farm in East Canaan, Connecticut.#FarmLove for the land. Family. Community. A happy herd. @CabotCheese #FarmerFriday Click To Tweet
If you follow any of Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s farming members on social media, you may have noticed a surge in the hashtag FarmLove during the month of February. Cabot’s farming families are excited to promote all the reasons they love their farms, cows and the farming lifestyle. Even with all of the Cabot farm families being in the Northeast during one of the coldest months of the year, there has been no limit to the #FarmLove that fills my FaceBook newsfeed. So, on this Farmer Friday, I’m excited to share my top reasons for having FarmLove!
Farmlove for the land. My grandparents bought this farm in the early 1950’s after my grandpa returned from the war. Three generations later, we are still tilling, seeding, fertilizing and harvesting from the same fields. Some of the tools we use have changed over the years to adopt more progressive conservation farming practices that improve soil health and our equipment has been upgraded (I really appreciate the air conditioned cab and satellite radio when it’s time to mow hay in August). There is a deep rooted connection to our family’s legacy on this land and even though my grandparents have passed away, we are still caring for the same fields and soil. In turn, it provides an annual crop to feed our animals and provide us wholesome and delicious milk. The land connects us to our past and makes us mindful of our future.
FarmLove for our family. Not too long ago at a doctor’s visit, I was asked for my home, work and emergency contact’s mailing address. At the time, all three addresses were one: Freund’s Farm. The receptionist commented about how there is a world outside of ‘that place’. I actually think about that comment a lot. My parents encouraged me to go explore that world the receptionist spoke of. I’ve traveled five different continents and lived in a mud hut in Zambia for 2 years while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. But I came back to ‘that place’ because it is my whole world. I work with my mom, dad, 2 uncles, brother, sister and cousin. What could be better than that? My mornings begin with a cup of coffee next to my dad, in the same house that we both grew up in. Lunchtime at the farm house kitchen is like grand central station with each of us coming in from our different activities on the farm, but always taking a break together. My favorite memories are sitting on my dad’s lap in the tractor mowing hay or chopping corn, and now I’m the one driving the tractor during harvest!
FarmLove for our community. Last year, my family and our neighbor farm family shredded nearly 10 pounds of Cabot Cheese and made Macaroni and Cheese to bring to our local fire department and feed the volunteers before their monthly fire training. We’ve hosted those same volunteers on our farm to practice heavy equipment rescues and to learn about the intricacies of farm facilities and equipment if ever an accident occurred. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routines and chores. But having dinner with our community’s volunteer firefighters gave us an opportunity to recognize the people that support and protect us. These men and women depend on our farm to produce a healthy and nutritious product that they can put on their family’s table and we depend on them to come to our aid if ever there was an emergency. We’re glad that our community shares our farm love – it allows us to continue to be a vibrant small business in our town.
FarmLove for a happy herd. As I write this, we are just weeks away from moving our cows into a brand new dairy barn. In the new barn, we’ve installed waterbeds, misting fans for hot summer days, back scratchers for ‘hard to reach’ spots, a robotic feed pusher, alley scrapers to keep alleys clean and most significantly, 5 robotic milkers. Our cows will choose when and how often they want to get milked. In preparation for using these robots, each cow has been outfitted with collars that act like a Fitbit. We can monitor activity and chewing time for each cow as one more way to ensure all the cows are healthy. We finish each day feeling satisfied that we did everything we could to make sure that our cows are happy and comfortable. They depend on us as much as we depend on them.
The best part of making the concerted effort to use #FarmLove is that even on a bad morning, (farmers do have those once in a while), because the tractor won’t start or I can’t feel my toes because it’s so cold, I get to remind myself why I farm. I will keep on sharing my daily snapshots and tag them #FarmLove as much for you as for me.
Follow me through the rest of February as I share my farm love through the month (and year) on Instagram @CowPotsGirl.
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