The Wright Place Farm
The 2,000-acre Wright Place Farm has been in the Wright family since 1956. Ray and his brother Sam’s two sons, Brian and Steve, are the farm’s current stewards. Brian and his wife, Bridget, have a daughter, Caleigh who is also very involved on the farm, along with her husband Andrew.
Like Caleigh, Andrew grew up around dairy farming, with both sets of grandparents farming in Vermont. The couple met while studying Dairy Management at Vermont Technical College. They represent the fourth generation at the Wright Place Farm.
With 800 milking cows, and about 700 young stock, this farm family is busy – every day of the year. In spite of the many demands of farm life, the Wrights are very good at what they do. Their farm was recognized as Maine Dairy Farm of the Year in 2003. This honor is awarded based on factors such as herd quality, milk production, upkeep and appearance of the farm, as well as the family’s involvement with the community and in the dairy industry generally. The Wrights excel in every respect.
The family hosts visitors on a regular basis. Young school children visit the farm to learn about where their food comes from. Students from The University of Maine are also frequent visitors; there are often groups of 10 to 12 students who come for a full day to see the milking process, learn about crop management, and study feed and mix ratios for the cattle. Says Ray: “It’s a great way to support the dairy industry and get the next generation interested in the land and in farming. It’s a great part of the job.”
Though it is demanding and ever-changing, dairy farming is a very special way of life. It has a way of teaching lessons of resilience and strength in even the most challenging times. In January of 2014, Brian and Steve’s younger sister, Samantha, passed away well before her time in a car accident. The family – and the entire community – came together to honor Sam’s life by ‘Spreading some Samshine’ . To learn more, you can visit the Facebook page.
While the situation was devastating, this tight knit community in the Dairy Capitol of Maine turned their sadness into joy with thousands of participants around the world doing good deeds in Samantha’s honor.
The family – immediate and extended – will continue to ‘Spread the Samshine’ in 2015 and they invite you to join the movement.
On a busy – and frigid – winter morning, Caleigh took the time to sit down and answer our Farmer Friday questions:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
My favorite thing about being a dairy farm family is being able to tie two of my favorite things together, cows and family! Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to work side by side with cows and the people they’re closest to.
What is your family’s favorite meal? Care to share a recipe?
Macaroni and Cheese and Grilled Cheese sandwiches have been my two favorite foods since I was a little girl. But in all honesty, I’m a sucker for anything that has cheese in or on it! My husband’s favorite meal is meatloaf, with Cabot’s White Oak Cheddar cheese melted over the top.
What is your least favorite farm chore?
Honestly, there isn’t really any farm chore that I particularly dislike. With that being said, I dislike doing just about anything when it’s hot out! Whenever the temperature is above 75 my love for any and all farm chores decreases as the temperature increases!
What is your favorite time of the year on the farm?
My favorite time of year on the farm is fall. It’s a very busy time, but very rewarding time as well. The temperatures are cooler and I’m happy knowing that the hottest weather of the year is behind us and that the frigid temperatures of winter will soon be upon us!
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
The one thing that I would want people who have never experienced farm life to know is that it is the most challenging, yet rewarding way of life there is. It is mentally, physically, emotionally and financially taxing. But the day that calf is born out of a cow that you have raised from a calf herself, or when that corn is harvested from the field that you fertilized, plowed, harrowed and planted, it makes it all worth it! Another thing that makes it all worth it is running into people in the grocery store who are buying our product. I always make a point to thank them for supporting their local farm families, and I love when they reply with, “It’s the only cheese I’ll buy!”