Some say that Thanksgiving, with its emphasis on gratitude, family, and food, might be the most beloved holiday of the year. Though each family celebrates in their own unique way, certain themes are woven into the fabric of this special day for families around the country. For a few hours, or even a few days, folks gather in the company of friends and loved ones and reconnect with the spirit of the season.
Throughout New England and upstate New York the 1200 dairy farm families who own Cabot will also celebrate Thanksgiving, but like the other 364 days of the year, their day will begin well before dawn for the day’s first milking. They will greet their cows, attending carefully to their needs throughout the day. Only after the herd is cared for will the farmers join their families to give thanks for the land that sustains them and especially for the people and animals who give their lives meaning.
From everyone at Cabot, we are so thankful for your support throughout the year and wish you all a day full of love. We send special thanks to those who are serving our country and cannot be with their families this year.
We’ve created a special Thanksgiving edition of Farmer Friday which comes to you on Wednesday. This post shares a taste of Thanksgiving on the farm, from the viewpoint of Mark Akins of Five Mile Farm in Lisbon, New York and Denise Lloyd and Sheri Boardman of Maple Down Farms II in Middleburgh, NY. Sheri helps out on the farm and has become part of the Lloyd family. She is actually an integral part of two Cabot Farm Families, having grown up in Canaan, CT on Carlwood Farm.
What is your Thanksgiving Day like?
We’re up and in the barn at 4am. We all work together as a family to get chores done, and have a mid-day meal. We enjoy turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, made with Cabot butter and Cabot Greek-Style Yogurt, mom’s famous broccoli casserole, cranberry sauce and of course homemade pies for dessert.
Everyone comes to the farm house for the meal and we always eat and appreciate each other’s company, before we head back out to the barn around 3PM to care for the four-legged ladies.
Our day starts early…our son, Ryan, heads to the farm and starts feeding at 4:00am. He enjoys the quietness of the farm at that time of the day. Feeding our 800 animals will take him about 6 hours.
Our daughter, Allison, will start feeding the calves at 6:30am. Depending on the number of calves on bottles, this job will take about two hours. With Allison home from college, our regular calf feeder can enjoy the holiday off.
My wife, Becky, will start cooking at about 6:00am. The first meal (hopefully) will be egg and cheese sandwiches delivered to the farm. Then she will move on to the main meal.
My day will start at 5:00am. We try to give as many people the day off as possible, so I will cover several tasks. I’ll check maternity pens, fresh cows, and make sure milking is going well. I’ll clean out the barn and just make sure things are running smoothly.
Out of town family will being arriving late in the morning. Kids will be kicked out of the kitchen and sent to the farm on 4-wheelers to “help” with the chores.
Ryan and I try to get home before noon for a snack, then return to the farm to get the 1:00 pm milking started. Afternoon milkings usually go very smoothly, so we will shoot for our thanksgiving meal at 3:00pm.
What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?
Denise Lloyd & Sheri Boardman:
It’s an enjoyable holiday because the gift of being with family. We love being able to enjoy each other’s company and prepare the meal together. Denise’s family often travels up from Georgia to visit around Thanksgiving, which is another added love to the holiday.
Becky and I are empty nesters, so having a full house is exciting for us. Holidays are very special, and we remember to count our blessings. We may have a few hiccups throughout the day, but we know that we are truly blessed!
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