Our next stop on the Stonyfield Barnstorming Tour was Parent Family Farm, which is located in Highgate, Vermont. It is a non-organic, two-generation family dairy farm which supports three families. Rachel Parent, and her adorable five-year old daughter Grace took us on a tour of their farm, and we were lucky enough to catch a milking in-action!
The milking room (also known as the parlor) has room for 14 cows at a time. There are almost 600 cows on the farm who are milked three times a day. Once the group of 14 cows is done milking, a gate opens up for them to go back to the barn, and the new group of cows comes in.
At this particular farm, the cows are kept free-roaming in a well-ventilated, clean barn. (Although little Grace told us about an incident involving a broken gate, and the cows got out, but were easily returned to the barn soon after.) The Parents use clean sand, and recycled tires for bedding, which the cows seem to like. The cows are fed corn silage, which is sometimes mixed with grain and haylage.
There are many non-organic dairy farms which allow the cows to graze on pasture. The Parents’ farm does not have the pasture to allow 600 cows to graze. Much like parenting, there are many different farming philosophies and styles.
Rachel’s little girl Grace showed us where the calves and cows who are about to give birth are kept. Grace said she loves to help out with chores on the farm like feeding the cows and making hay! I’m going to have to ask Rachel what her secret is, because sometimes I have trouble getting Emily to make her own bed in the morning!
Next up, a FANTASTIC dinner with some of the farmers, and later I get to milk a cow!!!! Plus, breakfast with Miss Vermont!!!