The Wheeler Farm in Wilmington, Vermont has been in their family since 1930, and it's still going strong after over 80 years of continuous operation. Through good times and bad, Henry and Caroline Wheeler managed the farm, taught the lessons of the land to their seven children, and made their farm a refuge for their many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Henry and Caroline's sons, Rob and John, operate the farm these days, and they tend to some 115 head of cattle. And, while dairy farming is their main job, they also do whatever else it takes to keep the farm vibrant.
Like many Vermont farmers, the Wheelers have a maple syrup business on the side, and they sell their product via mail order and at their roadside stand. And after briefly describing the maple syrup business, Caroline added enthusiastically: “You know, we also sell Cabot cheese at the stand.”
When you listen to Caroline describe the Wheeler Farm, it is hard to resist her enthusiasm. It is simply infectious. Whether she’s explaining that milk is the perfect food, or that it’s homegrown and nutritious, or how they test and keep it safe every step of the way, it’s undeniable that dairy farming is in the family’s blood. And then Caroline added: “Last year was pretty good, but this year is real hard. Milk prices are so low, it’s hard to meet all the expenses.” And after a thoughtful pause, she added, “Well, we’re not going anywhere. That’s for sure.”
Through thick and thin, year in and year out, the Wheelers work their farm, treasure their land, and contribute to the community they love so much. Dairy farming is ‘bred in the bone,’ and the Wheelers expect their farm to still be going strong many years from now. As a member of Agri-Mark’s Board of Directors, Rob also has the responsibility of keeping the other 1,200 farms in the co-op successful and has to think about industry-wide concerns every day.
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