Karen and Charles Herzig run the Coombs Hill Farm, and it's been around for a few years. To call this a "century farm" would understate the case by 150 years. In fact, the farm has been in Karen's family since 1752, when her Scottish ancestors first began working the land. The farm is currently in its ninth generation, and the Herzigs lease the land from Karen's parents, Russ and Sandy Coombs. The Herzigs' son Eric works full time on the farm now, and Coombs Hill Farm is likely to move into the tenth generation at some point in the near future.
Karen takes care of the cows and does the morning and evening milking. Eric raises the crops, does the field work, and maintains the farm generally. Charles works full time as a machinist and then works the farm after his regular work day and on weekends. The Herzigs recently won distinction for the premium quality of their milk in a National Milk Quality Contest where they garnered a silver award. There were over 250 contestants. Says Karen: "I think it helps to have a woman's touch. I know when any of our cows are a bit off or not feeling well, and I tend to them with great care. We love our ladies on the farm, and we make sure they live in a safe and clean environment, are thoroughly and individually cleaned, and that they get the best feed possible."
Like so many other farm families, the Herzigs open their barn to all comers. They often have school groups tour the farm and picnic on the front lawn; boy scout and girl scout troops visit regularly, and they frequently give tours to friends of Cabot. Karen grew up on this farm and loved every minute of it. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and as she says: "We love to have visitors and show them a slice of dairy farming. It builds support for the industry and lets people know just how much work goes into bringing safe and nutritious dairy products to their supermarket."
The Herzigs also extend their reach beyond the boundaries of their farm. They are active members of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, where they help draft state legislation pertaining to dairy farming and make sure relations remain on an even keel between dairy farmers and other members of the community. They are in this for the long haul, and want to make sure dairy farms dot the landscape for many years to come.
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