Meet the Parents

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!!! 


  1. I love reading all of these posts about your trip. It sounds wonderful.

    I have trouble getting my kids to do chores too.

  2. Raising a Happy Child says

    I am learning a lot about farming from those posts – I have to show them to Anna too. Enjoy your trip!

  3. MaryAnne says

    This farm sounds similar to one I toured near our house.

  4. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says

    @ Christy — Throughout the tour I was amazed to learn how much the kiddos help out on the farm! Everyone has a job to do!

  5. Wow, I would have never guess there are so many methods. I was gonna say I thought the cows looked better/healthier out to pasture, but who am I? Definitely not a cow expert. LOL… Like you said, it's just like parenting. I'm glad both sets of cows are well taken care of and healthy. Very interesting, indeed. Again, your excitement is contagious!

  6. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says

    @ Raising a Happy Child — Emily has been asking me lots of questions about what I've been learning while out on the farms too. I think she would have loved to see how a farm works, so I'm thinking of taking her to tour one of our local dairy farms at home.

  7. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says

    @ MaryAnne — I was very interested to tour this farm, as it was the only non-organic dairy farm we stopped at. There are so many different ways to farm!! I had no idea!!

  8. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says

    @ Petula — Yes, I would say both sets of cows are taken care of, but it's very difficult to make a comparison between "organic" vs. "conventional" because it's almost like a sliding scale. Many conventional farmers let their cows graze, but choose not to go organic because they want the option to treat sick cows with antibiotics. It's not nearly as cut and dry as I thought!

  9. Oh man, can you imagine if you'd gotten to see a calving? How cool would that have been?
    So, are the cows roaming around while they're milked?

  10. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says

    @ Ticia — Oh my goodness that would have been amazing!! The cows go to the milking room (or parlor) to be milked, and that only takes about 5-6 minutes per session and they are milked 3 times a day. They don't roam around then, but they seem to want to be milked. As a former nursing mom, I can relate to that!

  11. So can I!

  12. Wow! I've never looked into a cow raising farm….if that's even what it's called! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Anonymous says

    I love your blog!! And thanks for sharing about you trip to VT!! I have enjoyed reading about it 🙂