David and Peggy Ainsworth run the Westlands Farm, which was founded in 1867 in South Royalton, Vermont. They have 450 acres, 50 milkers, and about 50 young stock. David is a fifth-generation farmer, and grew up on Westlands farm. David's son, Luther works the farm full-time and represents Westlands' next, sixth generation. Not only that, the Ainsworths' young grandchildren are often on the farm and love helping out in any way they can. This looks like a venture that is likely to continue for many years into the future.
The Westlands Farm was originally two farms located next to each other. They were purchased by the two West brothers, and that’s where the name “Westlands Farms” comes from. One brother married, but his wife died from an illness spreading through the valley at the time, and he then married his first wife’s sister. The two farms were ultimately merged, and the farm became the property of the Ainsworth family after one of the Wests’ daughters married an Ainsworth. The Ainsworths, of course, honor the history of the farm and retain its original name.
Dairy farming is a full time occupation, but the Ainsworths also do something else: they have three large greenhouses where they grow tomatoes, mostly, but also pumpkins, squash, sweet corn and other vegetables which they sell at two local farmer markets and at their own roadside stand. The stand runs on the honor system, and the Ainsworths don’t usually keep an employee there. Instead, they put out their choicest vegetables, leave a sign showing the cost of each, and trust the buyer to leave the money in the box. It turns out that buyers always do, and the stand has been a profit center for many years.
Peggy, who grew up on a poultry farm in nearby Chelsea, was an elementary school teacher for 30 years, and regularly brought classes to the farm for field trips, picnics, and to learn something about where their food comes from. She was also a firefighter in the town for six years, and currently serves on the town Selectboard. David is one of 150 state representatives for Vermont, and he works four days a week from January through May on state legislative matters. He is also the town moderator for South Royalton. Peggy speaks for both of them when she says, “We love dairy farming, and we love Vermont. It’s very satisfying to be involved in so many ways.”
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