Farmer Friday: Poppydale Farm

Chateaugay, NY

Poppydale Farm is located just under a mile from the historic Chateaugay NY Cheese Plant, one of the three cheese-making facilities that our farm families cooperatively own. The plant has been making award-winning McCadam (Cabot’s sister brand) cheese since 1934 and has been also been making Cabot cheese since 2003.

When Poppydale Farm 1st joined the @cabotcheese family, they were milking 5 cows. #FarmerFriday #farmlove Click To Tweet

Poppydale Farm has been in the Trombly family for more than 40 years and farming runs through the veins of the entire family, but it wasn’t until 2001 that Liz Trombly was given her first calf from her grandfather. She began showing cows and the rest is history. When Poppydale Farm joined the cooperative in 2007, they were milking 5 cows.

Since they began shipping milk, Liz met her husband, Julien Couillard, and they have grown their herd of registered Jerseys, Guernseys, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss and Holsteins to just over 40 milking cows.

Liz and Julien Couillard

Poppydale Farm is truly a family affair. Julien is the only family member working fulltime on the farm, while Liz, her brother Michael, and parents, Bill & MaryBeth Trombly, help out when they aren’t working off the farm. Liz is a dairy nutritionist, MaryBeth is a school teacher and Michael & Bill each serve as correction officers.


This week, Liz took some time to talk about her family, the farm and her community.

How many generations of your family have been on the farm?
I am a 4th generation farmer on both sides of my family and Julien’s family goes back even further. That said, we are 1st generation dairy farmers on our own farm here in Chateaugay, NY. Both of my parents grew up on dairy farms, but we did not have an operating dairy farm until the fall of 2007 when my parents and I decided to start shipping milk.


What do you think is your greatest accomplishment on the farm?
Our greatest accomplishment is being able to invite the youth of our community to visit the farm. Each of the past two years, we have hosted several elementary classes for tours of the farm. We have also started a 4-H club that allows children with no dairy farming experience to show a calf at the county fair. It is incredible to watch the transformation in these kids (and parents). They go from being scared of the calves to proudly walking a calf all around the fair all on their own!

What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
My favorite time of year on the farm is the fall. Hay harvesting is finishing, corn harvesting is in full swing, and the weather is much more desirable for the comfort of the cows, with cooler nights.


What is the next big sustainability story on your farm?
We just finished a manure storage project that eliminates the potential for runoff of manure. Our farm is located near a main waterway that feeds into the St Lawrence River, so it was important to us to make sure we had a good system in place. Now the manure is contained until the weather is ideal for spreading. We are also seriously considering to move toward solar panels to offset the amount of energy we use.


What is your least favorite farm chore?
Least favorite farm chore for everyone is in the spring when we have to go pick rocks! It is a lot of back breaking work, and very dirty. Because of this we are starting to move toward some minimal tilling techniques.

Does anyone in your family participate in any volunteer activities in the community?
We are all very active in our community. My dad serves on the town board and is a volunteer fireman. My mom is high school teacher (the school actually borders our farm). My husband and I do a lot of work with the 4-H program in the area, and I am a director for the local Holstein club and Farm Bureau.


What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
I would love people to know the kind of passion it takes to successfully run a farm. I am afraid that not many people feel the type of passion and love that a farmer experiences every day. No matter what you do in your life, you should have this feeling.


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

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