It’s been a few weeks since I went to Vermont on the 2016 Stonyfield Farm tour, and it’s still hard to put into words what an incredible, enriching experience it was. Growing up on Cape Cod, the closest I ever got to a farm was driving by one on a road trip! That all changed when I headed up to Vermont to spend some time on two dairy farms along with a wonderful group of bloggers including:
- Ashley – Big Flavors From a Tiny Kitchen
- Lynda – Me and My Pink Mixer
- Michelle – My Gluten-Free Kitchen
- Leah – Mamavation
- Dianna – The Kitchen Prep
- Joanna – Making Mine
- Ann – Fountain Avenue Kitchen
- Nicky – Little Family Adventure
- Angela – Happy Fit Mama
- Calley – Back to Calley
- Sarah – The Chef Next Door
I arrived at the Stoweflake in Stowe, Vermont on Friday afternoon and met up with Angela from Happy Fit Mama for a few hot and sunny miles after sitting in the car for over 4 hours! We enjoyed a late lunch at Charlie B’s and then got ready to meet up with the rest of the Stonyfield farm tour crew for dinner including our host Máiréad Dunphy and Liza Dube!
Summer Supper at Kimball Brook Farm
We took a bus ride over to Kimball Brook Farm in North Ferrisburgh. Kimball Brook Farm hosts community dinners during the summer months! How cool?! It was a beautiful Vermont evening, and we dined on locally sourced food (including butter, cream, milk and flavored iced tea from Kimball Brook) and enjoyed some live music before saying hello to the cows and heading back to the hotel to rest up for our busy day of farm touring!
Green Wind Farm
The next morning we got an early start and headed to Enosburg Falls to visit Green Wind Farm, owned and operated by Julie Wolcott and her family. The farm is transitioning to organic for their dairy, though their farming for fruits and vegetables is already organic.
We were so warmly greeted by Julie and her family, and I was so moved by the love she has for her animals and the farm and the tremendous amount of work involved in the day-to-day operation of a farm! After a brief introduction to Green Wind Farm and some information from Kyle Thygesen (Farmer Relationship Manager) and Britt Lundgren (Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture), we headed into the barn to learn about the ins and outs of operating a dairy farm.
On our way into the barn, we were introduced to a baby calf (just a few days old) who was ADORABLE and the subject of many photos! Julie then explained the milking process and the day to day life on a dairy farm. Afterwards, we headed out to the pasture area to see the cows in the field. The girls were happy to be out– enjoying the sun and beautiful weather. I love that you can just walk over and pet them (or they come over to you!)! Here’s a picture of me with two girls that were born at the same time and always stick together!
After our tour of the farm and some visiting with the cows, we enjoyed the most DELICIOUS farm-fresh breakfast inside the Wolcott’s home. It was a picture-perfect vintage farmhouse kitchen complete with a spread of farm-grown foods including eggs florentine, pancakes, yogurt, tempeh, and so many other delectable goodies! Breakfast in Vermont wouldn’t be complete without pure Vermont maple syrup, and Green Wind had some of their own on hand for us to enjoy.
I was so impressed and inspired by the love that the Wolcott family has for their animals and their land, and I truly hope I can go visit again (with the boys!)!
Lunch with Stonyfield’s CEO
After our trip to Green Wind Farm, we headed over to grab some delicious wood-pizza (made with local ingredients of course!) at Positive Pie in Hardwick. Not only was the food delicious, but we had some great company in the form of Stonyfield CEO, Gary Hirschberg.
Gary used to live in my town (such a small world!), and I was lucky enough to sit next to him at lunch! We got to hear the inside scoop about what’s going on at Stonyfield and the organic food industry (side note: check out Just Label It for more info). Whenever I get to interact with a Stonyfield employee, I love the company even more; and this was no exception!
Our afternoon farm excursion took us to Churchill Farm in Cabot. Run by Jen and Morgan (and their two adorable children), they are 4th and 5th generation farmers in the town! It was so interesting to see a younger generation of farming and how they have integrated some new technology into their dairy farm.
They actually have a robotic milking machine– it was SO COOL! The cows have transmitters attached to one leg, and they go into one of two milking stalls when they desire (has to be at least a 5 hour interval). The milking equipment is laser guided onto the cow, and she gets to enjoy a grain treat during the process. The robot’s computer keeps track of milking intervals, amount milked, etc. and data can be reviewed at any point. It was fascinating to watch!
Dinner at Michael’s on the Hill (Waterbury, Vermont)
We ended Saturday with an UNBELIEVABLE dinner at Michael’s on the Hill in Waterbury. A chef-owned restaurant full of farm to table cuisine made this group of lifestyle/food bloggers very happy! The menu at Michael’s on the Hill changes seasonally, and we enjoyed dishes including: tomato and watermelon panzanella salad with Vermont Creamery goat feta and roasted Castelvatrano olives; summer corn soup with corn fritter and ramp oil; pasture raised beef tenderloin with sea salt roasted broccoli, crushed fingerling potatoes, creamed wild mushrooms and truffle butter; and plum tart with milk chocolate ice cream and dulce de leche.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend the Stonyfield Farm Tour 2016. I have always been a loyal fan of Stonyfield and its mission, and the farm tour made that love ten times stronger! Stonyfield is a company that talks the talk AND walks the walk. Whether it’s working with local farmers to provide them with the resources they need to transition to organic or helping advocate for a consumer’s right to know when it comes to GMO; they are a very socially and environmentally conscious company and I’m very proud to work with them!