Louis and Jane Escobar own 98 acres on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island. This is the largest island in Narragansett Bay, and it is a stunning place to have a dairy farm. The Escobar family bought the farm in 1937, and as Louis says: "I have never worked a day in my life off the farm." He was born and raised here, and he has dedicated his life to making the farm work. They have 160 head of cattle and milk 75 of them.
Louis is also the President of "Rhody Fresh," a cooperative of seven Rhode Island dairy farms that sells their milk to Agri-Mark and then buys much of it back for resale in local stores. Rhody Fresh packages and distributes the milk throughout Rhode Island, and it is the finest quality. Rhody Fresh is popular not only because of its taste and high quality, but also because the local community knows their purchase is helping support local farmers. And while this can't make up for the low milk prices farmers sometimes receive, every little bit helps.
Besides doing all the work to keep the dairy farm going, the Escobars like to say that they are in "agritainment" as well. What does this mean? It means they have an eight acre maze on the farm that visitors like to walk through (and get lost in). They sell refreshments to the many people who come through and do pumpkin picking, hay rides, face painting, and related activities for their customers. It can be lots of fun, but in a way it's sad. Says Louis with a tone of regret in his voice: "You know, we make more profit selling water and giving hay rides than producing milk. It just doesn't add up."
The Escobars raised their two daughters and one son on the farm, and they feel it can't be beat. In fact, their grandson, Jason, is now working the farm full time with Louis, and his daughter, Lori manages the maze. The times may be hard, but the Escobars are doing everything they can to make sure the farm moves into its third generation.
Location: Portsmouth, RI
Animals: 160 head of cattle including 75 milkers
Family Members: Louis & Jane Escobar
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