West Danville, Vermont
Molly Brook Farm sits proudly on Mack Mountain, visible from Route 2 and just under 5 miles from the Cabot Creamery Visitor’s Center in Cabot, VT. The farm has been in the Goodrich family since 1835. They began shipping their high quality milk to the Creamery when the Co-operative was formed in 1919. Wendell and Inez Goodrich, the grandparents of Myles, who now runs the farm with his wife Rhonda, became the 2nd family to sign the paperwork and join the Co-op. The Goodrich’s and the other 93 founding farm families each contributed $5 per cow and a cord of wood to fuel the boiler.The Goodrich's of Molly Brook Farm are 1 of the ORIGINAL farm families that start the @cabotcheese Coop in… Click To Tweet
The spirit of co-operation and teamwork has lived on over the nearly 100 years since – just as consistently as the Molly Brook Farm jersey milk has made its way to the creamery day after day. Next month, that co-operation will be renewed again, when 90 farmer-owners of Cabot visit New York City to meet and thank customers in their largest market for their support as part of the Cabot Creamery Farmers’ Gratitude Tour.
Rhonda will be among those making the trip, representing the closest farm to the original Creamery and the only founding farm represented on the trip. Before she found her way to the farm, Rhonda had a more common life by today’s standards, including a legal career with Vermont institution, National Life Group. However, this will be her first trip to New York City – and given her dedication to the farm and life she loves, it’s very appropriate that she will be riding into the Big Apple with dozens of other dairy farmers on a bus designed with the iconic Cabot plaid!
We are very excited to have Rhonda on the blog this week to share a little about the farm and about the trip to New York City on March 11th and 12th. You can also check out a feature of Rhonda’s daughter, Cara, in a previous Farmer Friday!
Check out the video from the 2013 first-ever Farmers’ Gratitude Tour.
What are you most looking forward to on the Farmers’ Gratitude Tour?
I am thrilled that I was invited to join one of the Random Acts of Cheddar teams. How fun it will be to give the gift of cheddar and meet people who give so much to their communities. We will visit fire departments, police stations, senior centers, animal shelters, and non-profit and service organizations to say thanks for all that you do. I have never been to New York City and cannot imagine what it will be like to go from our rural Vermont farm to the big city. I am looking forward to sharing why we love being dairy farmers with people who enjoy our delicious Cabot Cheddar!
What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farm family?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many things about the farm that I enjoy but a couple of things come to mind quickly.
We have a beautiful herd of Jerseys who each have their own personality. Jerseys are smart. My husband says sometimes they are too smart for their own good as they are often up to mischief. One example is a cow named Violet who knows how to open the latch into the barn after being milked. She bumps the gate until we notice her but if we don’t notice her she will open the gate and go into the barn, waiting for somebody to notice and tell her, “Violet get out of there”. Then she runs out of the barn quite pleased with herself shaking her head all the way back to the free stall. Never a dull moment with the milking herd.
The calves are adorable and remind me of puppies. I love taking care of them. They wag their tails as they drink their milk. During the winter we keep four babies together in a pen until they are weaned. When I go into their pen they all come up for a rub behind the ear or a pat on their belly. Each day after I put fresh straw on their beds they start running and kick up their little heels. Super cute!
What is your least favorite farm chore?
My least favorite farm chore is helping my husband build fence late in the season and fending off black flies. We try to have the fences up and ready before black fly season but sometimes spring comes fast and we don’t start building fence until after we get the fields ready for planting.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
My favorite time of year on the farm is spring. The warm sun and melting snow is well deserved after a long and cold Vermont winter.
How many generations of your family have been on the farm?
Molly Brook Farm dates back to 1835. The original barn housed 12 milking Jerseys. The farm was named after the Molly Brook, which winds its way through the scenic hay land, pasture, woodland, and sugar bush. Today we have 120 milking cows. We are committed to animal care, land stewardship and hard work to produce high quality Jersey milk.
My husband, Myles Goodrich, is the seventh generation to farm at Molly Brook. His parents, Walter and Sally Goodrich, who retired in 2013, were recognized by the American Jersey Cattle Association and honored as Master Breeders. The registered Jersey’s at Molly Brook are known internationally for their genetics. The maternal line of Molly Brook, “Fascinator Flower” produced several bulls; including one especially well-known bull, Molly Brook Brass Major. He has 11,304 daughters in 2,668 herds. Progeny from the Jersey herd at Molly Brook can be found on just about every continent.
My husband’s grandparents, Wendell and Inez Goodrich, were founding members of Cabot Creamery. Molly Brook has been shipping milk to the Creamery for close to 100 years. We are proud that our high quality Jersey milk makes some of the best cheddar in the world.
Currently, four generations of Goodrich’s farm together, Walter and Sally Goodrich, Myles and Rhonda Goodrich, Chris and Brandy Goodrich with their children Addison, Ryan, and Emma Goodrich.
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