John and Robin Luther run the Parnassus Farm in Acworth, New Hampshire, and for John, farming is a calling. John wrote in his eighth grade yearbook that he “wanted to be either an astronaut or a dairy farmer.” He chose the harder path. John works his 200 acre farm and tends 35 milkers and 30 young stock mostly on his own. The farm sits on a hill, and he can see Vermont in the distance. Robin works full-time as a 4-H extension educator, but she also does the bookkeeping for the farm and is a steady hand when John needs a little help rounding up some renegade cattle that have managed an escape.
John’s grandparents bought the farm in the early 1940’s, completed some renovations, and built a new barn in 1952. John was raised on the farm and used to chase behind his dad as he did his daily chores. He’s been milking cows, clearing land, mending fences, cleaning barns, and riding tractors from the time he took his first steps. John loves the life, and he wouldn’t change it for the world. But that’s not all he does. John is also a thespian and has appeared in many local theater productions like “Rumors” and “George Washington Slept Here.” And his artistic talents don’t end there. John is a member of a rock ‘n roll band named the Lon Johs, and you’ll often find him playing music from the 70’s at high school reunions, wedding receptions, private parties, and sporting events.
The chores are never quite done when it comes to dairy farming, and the days start before sunrise and usually end at sunset. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to rest when the sun goes down. Like his parents before him, John still finds time to serve the community. He is currently serving his second term as town moderator for Acworth. Says John, “Serving the community was a big part of my childhood. Dad was the town’s treasurer and administrative assistant for many years. Mom was always active in church and in planning town events. It just goes with the territory of being a family farmer in a small New England town.”
John and Robin are also great ambassadors for dairy farming. Friends and neighbors often bring visitors to the farm, and John is always ready to jump off the tractor and give them a tour. John will have them milk a cow and even show them how to churn the milk into butter. The Luthers often have groups of school children come by, and John is always willing to stop what he’s doing and show the kids where their food comes from and how it gets from his land to their table. Sometimes, John will even have the kids feed the young stock, which is an experience they seem to remember fondly for many years.