While in Vermont, this past weekend, we decided it would be the perfect time to visit a local dairy farm! In fact, Vermont is home to quite a few dairy farms, many of which produce other seasonal goodies as well, and I couldn’t help but visit one during my favorite time of year, maple season!
March is a really exciting time for dairy farmers in New England because many of them participate in the short, sweet season of maple tapping. With maple on our mind and picture-worthy Jersey cows to capture – we were off to the nearest farm in our area!
Just before noon we started driving, in hopes of catching the 1:00PM calf feed. After traveling down a few snow-covered roads, we arrived at the picturesque Richardson Farm hidden away in the hills of Hartland, VT. With over 450 acres of land, the dairy farm is home to the cutest of Jersey cows, an updated maple sugarhouse, acres of woodland, and the Richardson Family.
New England houses roughly 1,000 dairy farming families. Many started their farms as family operations and handed them down from generation to generation. The Richardson Farm was highlighted as a local supplier to many of the restaurants we dined at during our trip, and knowing it was close to where we were staying, we decided to check it out for ourselves.
Amy Richardson invited us to explore the farm that her husband’s family has been operating for over 5 generations. Amy kindly took us on a tour of the farm, first established in 1907, and further explained how New England farm families work together daily to produce fresh, delicious, wholesome dairy products. A lot of work goes into not only operating the farm, but also the care of the animals. Which by the way, were so cute.
We began our tour by meeting a few baby Jersey cows who ranged from four days to six weeks old. The young calves were inside the barn for extra warmth and the older cows were outdoors enjoying the fresh winter air.
While meeting the cows, we learned just how friendly of an animal they are. From greeting us with licks to trotting around excitedly playing – it was really sweet to be a part of!
Next, we met the mature true blue New England dairy cows. Amy taught us, as a smaller breed, Jersey cows consume less overall. Which makes the farm more efficient to operate. not to mention, Jersey cows are known for having richer whole milk too! As one of the original farm-to-table foods, milk arrives at local grocery shelves just 48-hours after leaving a regional dairy farm, just like Amy’s, which is crazy to think about.
We’re so grateful to the Richardson Family for giving us the opportunity to capture some silly moments with these gorgeous cows and teaching us about the dairy process supply-chain.
As Connecticut was getting hammered with snow over the weekend, our crew was blessed to escape to the clear and suprisingly warm weather in Vermont. With that being said, if you’re headed to a farm this spring, I highly recommend wearing rain boots and a weatherproof jacket – since damp grass, cow licks, and maple syrup can all get a little sticky.
Which brings me to today’s topic, exploring maple season in Vermont at Richardson Dairy Farm.
As you may know, I visit farms often for fun. There’s something nostalgic about New England and it’s family-run orchards, berry farms, and dairy farms. New England farmers go above and beyond to preserve open-spaces and maintain rolling hills; many of which you often see featured on our Instagram.
Like most New England farms, the Richardson Family goes out of their way to protect its historic farmhouses, barns, and sugarhouse. If you’re new to the whole maple thing, a sugarhouse is where the maple syrup is made and bottled! Believe it or not but many dairy farms and pancake houses in northern New England produce their own maple syrups to sell to the public. In fact, farmers can produce enough maple syrup to sell YEAR-ROUND in March. If you’re not a New Englander, don’t fret! Many farms sell their homemade syrups online.
Once we wrapped up our visit to the farm, we drove to downtown Woodstock, VT where we loaded up on pancakes, maple syrup, and lavender lattes made with whole milk from Richardson’s Farm. It was the perfect way to end the day and truly appreciate all that New Engalnd dairy farmers do for our community.
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Thank you to New England Dairy & Food Council for sponsoring this post.