Beth and Bob Kennett
Liberty Hill Farm, Rochester, Vermont
Beth Kennett’s ancestors began farming in Maine in 1641 and have continued the tradition from that day to this.
Her husband Bob’s forebears are relative newcomers; they started farming in New Hampshire in 1742. With this kind of family history, it’s undeniable that farming is not only what the Kennetts do, but an extension of who they are.
Along with their sons Tom and David, Beth and Bob run Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, Vermont. In addition to milking 270 award-winning Holstein cows, Beth and Bob run Liberty Hill as a Farmstay Inn, where guests can experience life on a working dairy farm in the verdant hills of Vermont as well as enjoying the extraordinary food that Beth creates every day.
We dropped by to chat with Beth about life and to ask her our Friday Farm Questions. Here are her answers:
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
Bob always says that his favorite thing is seeing the new baby calves being born. The miracle of life is always a gift. David and I agree. How fabulous to be a part of seeing new life – whether it’s new babies, new crops growing in the field, new generations of cow families and the farm families coming along.
What is your family’s favorite meal?
Everyone has a slightly different favorite meal. I think that’s because I cook all the time for guests so my family gets spoiled. Holiday meals are what I serve on a regular basis:
One favorite is a ham dinner that includes macaroni and cheese, baked beans made with maple syrup, coleslaw, savory bread pudding, homemade cinnamon rolls, and apple pie with Cabot extra sharp cheddar. Around here we have a saying: “Apple Pie without the cheese is like a hug without the squeeze.”
This weekend at Easter we’ll have leg of lamb with spinach tortellini, roasted root veggies. I have a new recipe for a chocolate cake made with Cabot Greek Yogurt. It’s a new favorite.
And sometimes, all you really have the time, energy and taste for is a grilled cheese sandwich. Our family loves this one with cheddar, apples and arugula.
What is your least favorite farm chore?
I really don’t like taking the tires off the bunker silo. It’s a messy, nasty, yucky job! However I am always explaining to guests the purpose of the tires: They hold down the tarp/cover on the feed for the cows to keep out snow, rain, and wind. The weight of the tires is enough to keep the cover on, but can still be managed by one person, moving the cover each day to get fresh feed for the cows. Keeping out rain and snow maintains the quality of the feed, as the difference between fermenting (which is what we want) and rotting (which we do not want) is oxygen! We pack the feed in the fall, cover it, and keep air out to keep quality in.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
My favorite is spring! I love seeing all the wildflowers popping up, walking up our hill to see trout lilies, jack-in-the-pulpit, marsh marigolds, Dutchman’s breeches, and lady slippers—which are exquisite! My grandfather would always take me out to find wildflowers for my grandmother each spring. It was a wonderful walk in the woods, hunting for flowers for my grandma, jumping over the spring brooks and rivulets, and looking for four leaf clovers in the field along the way. Great memories!
What is the one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
Every single day we care for our cows and our land to provide food for the rest of the world. Being a farmer is who we are – not a what, not a job, or even a career – it defines every moment of our lives. We care for our families, our animals, and our land – that is what stewardship truly means. Bob holds to the old fashioned term husbandry. Most farm families believe that they are “married” to their cows. Dairy cows demand 24/7/365 attention. The short answer to the question is – we care.
To learn more about Liberty Hill Farm, take the Cabot Virtual Farm Tour