Larry, his wife Susan, and their two adult daughters, Megan and Lauren run the 370 acre Hastings Farm in Suffield, Connecticut. Three generations of Hastings have worked the land and managed the dairy, and now they are moving toward their fourth. Megan and Lauren are also looking to make a go of it when their parents retire.
And dairy farming has a lot to offer. "The work is steady, and there's no better place to raise a family," says Larry. And then he pauses and adds: "It's also a joy to work side by side with your family. Yes, the hours are long and the work never stops, but you feel a sense of accomplishment in it all." There's all that, plus the time-honored tradition of Sunday dinner. Whoever isn't doing the evening milking on Sunday afternoon prepares dinner for the family, and they all look back on the week in review. Everybody shares in the joys and the burdens of the farm.
But dairy farming is far from ideal in many ways. Sawdust for cow bedding, grain, and equipment prices are going up all the time while milk prices are spiraling down. Larry worries about turning the farm over to another generation at a time when the whole industry is feeling pain. He worries about the bigger picture and how local farms like his can stay the course. And while he thinks about these things, he still milks the cows and bales the hay because that's what dairy farmers do. He doesn't complain, and nobody ever said it would be easy, but dairy farming still has to be sustainable to pass it on to younger hands.
And when he gets a few free hours, which is rare enough these days, Larry and Susan welcome friends and visitors to the farm. The local Girl Scout troop stops by now and then, and Susan shows them how to make homemade ice cream. Larry, when he can swing it, will be nearby working on his second passion, his 1933 Ford Coupe. He's pleased to say he has driven it to Burlington on fifteen different occasions, and he hopes to keep it going for many years to come.
Visit Us: Hastings Farm
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Location: Suffield, CT
Animals: 250 Holsteins and Jerseys
Family Members: Larry, Susan, Megan and Lauren Hasting
Green Pasture Award Winner
Open Farm Sunday