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Friday, May 6, 2011

Of Pasture Walks and Garden Walks, Part 1

By uncle Dale

We have just finished a pasture walk and I am eating lunch with nine dairy farmers and our County Extension Agent on the veranda of Myron & Janet Martin’s home at Peace Hollow dairy farm in western Maryland. Janet brings us steaming macaroni and cheese casserole, homemade sweet pickles, freshly baked whole wheat roles, and savory butter. It is all delicious. Janet knows what I like and sets a tall mug of ice cold raw milk in front of me. I am in heaven.
  The entrance to Peace Hollow Farm in western Maryland. In the background is a Mennonite church built on land donated by Myron’s father.

 One of the joys of my job is pasture walks. Groups of farmers meet at each other’s farms to walk the pastures, look at the dairy cows and facilities and offer suggestions on how to improve production methods. After the pasture walk we have lunch, where I present economic information from my research at the University of Maryland. 

I have known the farmers sitting around me for years. They are the salt of the earth, as good a people as you will ever meet. They all have strong families. They are all devout Christians from various denominations. They all have an intense desire to use the resources God has given them to produce high quality milk while protecting the environment. This is evidenced in the prayers that begin each pasture walk. 

Sometimes I wish we could turn back the clock 50 years when this culture was common and not just isolated pockets in the vast landscape of metropolises and industrial agriculture.

  Myself (left), Myron Martin (middle), and Ron Holter (right). 

Myron and Ron both produce milk for the Organic Valley milk cooperative. This nationwide company is the real deal. It is a cooperative of small family farms like Martins and Holters who really care about their customers. Ron serves on the Northeast Educational Board of the company. Try their drinkable yogurt. It is incredible. Click here to get coupons.  


Dale Johnson said...

You make me sound so old with that "rocker" statement.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I sure appreciate the hard working farmers across America!

Mike said...

Great article Dale. I am excited to try the drinkable yogurt. I drank yogurt a lot when I was in the Dominican Republic. It was one of my favorite things to eat/drink.

daisy said...

What a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I believe in supporting companies who choose to do the right thing. I know what you mean about wishing the clock were turned back 50 years. I think in some small way, we are doing just that. Each choice we consumers make gets us there. Continued blessings...

JaNae said...

I was so happy to read this! In my home we have been buying Organic Valley milk for a few years now. I was always worried it wasn't really from family farms but after this now I know for sure. Thanks!