Marlow Duffy is basically the same age as her family’s dairy farm. The 31-year-old was an infant when her parents, Mark and Tamma, answered an ad in Country Folks magazine looking for someone to revitalize an old farm in the 1,000-acre Great Brook Farm state park just outside of Boston.
#Cabotfarmers know how to shred—when it comes to #cheese and when it comes to snowboarding! Click To Tweet
Today, Marlow works with her parents on the farm and is also a Team Leader at the Whole Foods Market in Andover, Massachusetts. Although that’s a lot of work, she also makes time for winter fun including snowboarding—and she has a very special Cabot board she takes out to (ahem) shred the slopes.
Marlow was very excited when Cabot offered her one of their limited edition, custom, Vermont-crafted snowboards. She has proudly ridden it this season on mountains including Stowe and Killington, where her uncle Pete Duffy, a former dairy farmer himself, manages the ski area’s volunteer ambassador program to help guests get the most out of the mountain. (As a delicious added bonus, they hand out Cabot cheese samples on the weekend.)
Along with her younger brothers, Chris and Blake, Marlow grew up helping out on the farm. “It’s something near and dear to all of us,” she says. Summers were especially busy with cropping, helping with the onsite ice cream stand, and taking care of the animals—cows, sheep, goats, chickens and alpacas—in the farm’s petting zoo. The youngsters were also active horseback-riding, mountain-biking and hiking around their own huge “backyard,” as well as learning to ski on a local mountain.
“It was an amazing way to grow up: being outdoors all the time, watching something grow from seed into food for cows that made food for us,” Marlow reflects. Still, she recalls, it was a bit of a challenge being known as “farm kids” in an area that did not have a lot of agriculture. “Things have changed,” she says proudly. “Now it’s cool to be in agriculture.”
It was during college in Vermont that Marlow was introduced to snowboarding. She took her first lesson and was hooked, crediting her horseback riding with having taught her to keep her heels down. “I just love getting out there,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun.”
She’s also a big fan of the Winter Olympics from figure skating, to curling and bobsledding, and, of course, snowboarding. “I’m a huge fan of Shaun White,” Marlow says, “but I really just like that it brings to light all these great winter outdoor activities and I’m always so impressed by the level of skill and dedication each athlete shows.”
It all relates back to farming, too, Marlow explains: “My dad always says that cows are like athletes training every day and it’s our job to help them do their best. They are like Olympians.”
With more than 100,000 visitors to Great Brook Farm State Park each year, the Duffys and their milking herd are used to having an audience at their state-of-the-art dairy, which had the first robotic milking system in Massachusetts. “Bringing awareness of dairy farming to the broader community is a big part of what we do,” Mark Duffy says. “We think the more people know about dairy farming, the better off every farmer will be.”
For more information on tours at Great Brook Farm and the state park with 20 miles of recreation trails to snowshoe, walk, hike, bike and horseback-ride, check out Great Brook’s Facebook Page & Mass Parks website.
See Marlow Duffy’s Uncle Pete, a former dairy farmer, talk about the volunteer-powered Killington Ambassador Program.