Beth and Bob Kennett own Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, VT, and what a farm it is. With 240 acres and about 270 cattle, they have their hands full. They are much more than farmers, however, as if that weren't enough already. They face all the same challenges that New England farmers face everywhere with long hours, low milk prices, and uncooperative weather. But they sometimes get a little help from unexpected sources.
Beth and Bob run a “guest farm,” which is much like a Bed & Breakfast except they also serve family dinners for their visitors. Try Beth Kennett’s Vermont Cheddar Gougères with Smoked Salmon Filling or the Liberty Hill Grill, these are just a few of the delightful treats prepared for her overnight guests who come from all over. Just recently they hosted a family from Poland for two weeks. The guests participate as much or as little as they want in farm activities. Guests come for a day or even a week, and they love to get their hands dirty. They get up to help with the morning milking, clean the barn, work in the fields, and learn everything they can about crops and dairy farming. It is a hands-on, working experience that lives with them forever. “When they leave,” Beth comments, “people say they will never take another glass of milk for granted.”
Many of the guests come year after year, and the Kennetts have developed friendships that grow deeper with each season. They see the children of guests grow from infants to teens to adults, and they are all part of their extended family. You can hear the joy in Beth’s voice when she says: “We live a beautiful life, and we get to share it with many people every year. It’s as if we were teaching ‘Dairy Farming 101’ to people who are eager to learn and see what farm life is all about. It’s satisfying at so many levels.”
See Beth's interview with NECN's Billy Costa:
The Kennett’s farming background goes back too far to count the generations. They simply say farming has been in the family since 1641 and let people ponder that. The five-story barn at Liberty Hill Farm dates back to the 1780s, and the local community recently helped them extend it as the Kennetts expanded their herd. The locals lovingly dubbed the updated barn “Habitat for Bovinity.” The Kennetts’ two adult sons, Tom and David, both work on the farm full time, so it will surely pass on to one more generation along the line.
Take a tour of Liberty Hill Farm, courtesy of Must Be The Milk:
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