Some people host Open Houses for a few dozen friends and family, but the Gladstones do things on a slightly bigger scale. Their annual Open Farm event draws up to 800 visitors for hot dogs, locally made ice cream and Cabot cheese. There are also activities like a photo booth, face-painting, horse-drawn carriage rides and a mechanical cow so everyone can try their hand at milking. Most important, there are guided hayride tours of the farm during which the Gladstones share what it takes to run a family dairy.
Margaret grew up on a Vermont dairy farm and loved everything about it. “I was driving a tractor at 8 years old,” she recalls. “We all worked together.” A few years after she graduated from college, her brother introduced her to Walt Gladstone, a farmboy raised on a New York dairy. “We both wanted to farm. It was a passion on both of our sides,” Margaret says. They named their farm in honor of their two home states. All three of the couple’s sons are involved in the family business.
The family’s original goal with the Open House event, says Will Gladstone, was to reach out to the community to offer a behind-the-scenes peek into daily life on their farm, from adorable baby calves to manure management. “A lot of people drive by our farm and don’t know what a working dairy farm is really like,” Will explains. “Inviting them here makes people feel like they’re part of our farm.”