Sending our Thanks this Thanksgiving!

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This Thanksgiving we want to thank you for choosing dairy at your table.  There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate dairy products into your family’s meal!  When you choose dairy, whether it be milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream or a vast array of other products, you are helping family farmers like us!

edited sale family photo.jpgLooking for healthier options this holiday season?  Have you experimented with substituting greek yogurt in your recipes to add protein and replace butter, oil or mayonnaise?  Want to learn more about using greek yogurt in your cooking?  Check out the Cabot website for some more ideas. Curious about other healthy dairy ideas?  Adding whey protein to your baking is another great tool for adding protein to your diet!

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We may be a little biased as we are Cabot Farmers, but we really love our products and our cooperative!  There are so many amazing ways to use our products for the holidays, try this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese for a festive spin on a classic recipe or these Cheddar Biscuits for the perfect holiday rolls.  No Thanksgiving is complete without Apple Pie, make sure to use butter in your crust and serve it with Cheddar for a Vermont Classic.  How about leftover ideas, try this Turkey Casserole out!  Have we made you hungry yet?  Browse through a lot of wonderful recipes on the Cabot website.

DSC_0082.JPGThank you again for your support this holiday season, we are very proud to produce the nutritious foods that you enjoy for the Holidays and every day.  We’ll be over here licking our lips, planning our Holiday Menu!

Best, The Fairmont Family

 

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Pancakes and Farm Tours!

Have you heard about Breakfast on the Farm?  We are hosting this event this Saturday, June 17th, at our farm on Lyle Young Road in East Montpelier.  At least 1,000 visitors are expected, visitors will come for a FREE pancake breakfast and then go on a self guided tour through our dairy farm.  Thank you to the many generous sponsors that make this event happen and to the 100+ volunteers that will help the event run smoothly for our guests.

Tickets to the event are free but they need to be reserved at http://www.vermontbreakfastonthefarm.com.

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Breakfast on the Farm will be at Fairmont Farm, Inc., 95 Lyle Young Road, East Montpelier, VT on June 17, 2017

So what might visitors see on our dairy farm?  Here’s a quick preview of what to expect:

Visitors will learn about our forages!  Did you know that we can produce 60% of our cows diet by putting up high quality haylage and corn silage?

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A group of cows get fed in our free stall barn using a mixer wagon.  They are fed TMR (Total Mixed Ration) that is made up of about 60% forages we produce and 40% purchased grains.

Visitors will see our new maternity barn, where they may or may not get to see a new mom and baby.  Averaging about 5 births a day, we will cross our fingers that some lucky visitors may be able to see a new calf coming into the world!

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These two mothers help a baby calf stand up just an hour after birth!

Manure!  How can you go to a dairy farm without learning about how awesome our cows are at recycling?  Visitors will see our manure pits and learn about how we use manure as the main ingredient to our nutrient management plan which helps us grow excellent crops that will be harvested for our animals diet.

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Our “pit crawler” stirs our manure to incorporate the sand and manure together to be spread back on our fields.

When we talk about our manure and cropping, we cannot help but talk about conservation!  Visitors will see through a demonstration how our no-till crop system works to improve soil health and water quality.  We plant almost 100% no-till and have been using this system since 2008.

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Corn is planted directly into this winter rye cover crop without tilling up the land to reduce soil erosion and protect both soil health and water quality.

With manure and conservation practices of course comes equipment, there will be a variety of equipment to check out up close!

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This is a sampling of our tractors we use for multiple jobs on our dairy farm, here they are pushing up and packing corn silage!

Cows!  There will be lots of cows for visitors to see, they will learn about what life is like on our farm as a cow and how we work hard to keep them happy, healthy and comfortable.

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Cows at the feed bunk enjoying their free choice buffet.  In our free stall barns, cows are free to eat, sleep and drink water whenever they please.  They go to the parlor to be milked three times a day.

Visitors will be able to see our milking parlor where we produce about 120,000 pounds of milk a day, which is roughly 12,000 pounds of cheese!  There will be a mechanical cow to try milking and a milk truck to show how our milk is transported from our farm to the Cabot Creamery in Cabot, Vermont.

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Cows are milked in our double 15 parallel  parlor, we can milk 30 cows at a time.  Our parlor runs 21 hours a day, which includes 3 milkings for all the cows.  The three hours of down time are spent cleaning our milking system between each milking.

There will also be a station to learn about our 4-H club and summer camps, we have a lot of fun sharing our passion of caring for our animals with local youth and love to see their hard work pay off when they show their animals in the fall.

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Our winter calf won her class at the Big E in 2015, our 4-Hers work hard to qualify to show at this event.  We are proud of the work they put in to show our animals and the high quality animals we have been producing by focusing on genetic improvements in our breeding program.

The highlight of many of our tours is our calf barn and the baby calves, visitors of course can expect to spend time learning about how we raise our calves to be the future of our dairy herd.

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Calves drinking milk in the calf barn, they are housed in groups of 8 and have free choice milk, grain and water.  It is quite common to see them playing and snuggling together!

Our family hopes to see you at Breakfast on the Farm this Saturday, June 17th, at our farm on Lyle Young Road in East Montpelier.  The event is free but please remember to reserve your tickets by visiting http://www.vermontbreakfastonthefarm.com.

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Our family is looking forward to meeting yours for Breakfast on the Farm at our dairy Farm, Fairmont Farm.  See you Saturday!

 

 

Every Day is Earth Day at Fairmont

More than one billion people will celebrate Earth Day all around the world on April 22. Here in Vermont on our dairy farm we treat every day like Earth Day.

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On a dairy farm we do not differentiate between weekdays, weekends, holidays, or even night and day…our farm operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and we always celebrate our land.  We are thankful for the food it brings our cows and we continue to look for ways we can work to improve our natural resources.

Our mission at Fairmont Farm is to be a profitable dairy farm with the utmost consideration for the safety and happiness of our people, the cleanliness of our environment and the health of our animals.

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We care about our animals and the environment tremendously, we would not be able to farm without them!  For our farm to be sustainable, and continue to farm into the future, we make being responsible stewards of our land and animals part of our mission.

We are responsible for over 3,600 acres of land which is used to plant and harvest corn and hay to feed our cows. We have worked with the Vermont Land Trust and currently own 1,675 acres of conserved land, however the best way to preserve land is to keep farms in business – our farm fields cover East Montpelier, Plainfield, Marshfield, Barre, Berlin, Calais, Montpelier, Craftsbury, Glover, Greensboro, and South Albany.

 

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Our cows feed is about 60% forages that we grow ourselves (a combination of corn and hay)!

Soil health is crucial to the health of our water and food supply. When a farm field is left bare, the topsoil can get blown away by the wind or washed away by the rain. We keep our soils in place by covering our fields with plants all year long. In the spring, we plant our corn. It grows through the summer and is harvested in the fall. Then, in the fall we plant a protective cover crop like the cereal grain winter-rye that grows through the winter.  This keeps the soil in place through the snow melts and spring rains. Each 1% increase in healthy soil organic matter helps the soil hold 25,000 more gallons of water per acre.

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Winter rye starting to grow just after the fall corn harvest.

Our corn and cover crops are planted without tilling up the soil, we leave the land in-tact and plant the seeds directly into the ground through any existing vegetation.  When the soil is undisturbed the healthy root systems, the worms and the bugs all help the soil to retain nutrients much better while also doing the tillage work themselves, creating pathways for the water and nutrients to be absorbed.  There are added benefits too –less equipment trips over the field which reduces soil compaction and fuel usage.

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Corn is planted directly into the existing winter rye crop without tilling up the soil first.

In 2016 we began piping manure to many of our fields instead of trucking it. Manure is transported to the fields through a pipeline hose that is connected to a tractor in the field and either spread or injected directly into the soil, sometimes up to 12-inches underground, which protects water quality and improves soil health.  This further reduces the equipment trips over the field but also reduces the road traffic again helping with soil compaction and fuel consumption.

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Manure is being spread through a pipeline hose.  The pipeline connects directly to our manure pit and pumps manure through the pipeline all the way to the tractor in the field.

To watch a video that shows how cover crops and manure injection work visit:
Protecting the Soil ; Feeding the Soil

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One of the most rewarding parts of farming is being out in our fields to harvest our crops and preserve Vermont’s land and natural beauty.

And, when you look out on the beautiful fields and open spaces of Vermont, remember the dairy farmers who are working hard to protect our most important natural resources.

A Day in the Life of a Fairmont Camper

If you’re wondering about our summer camps, here are some snapshots to take you through a day in the life of one of our campers….

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Campers start the morning feeding the heifers

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….and showing them some love!

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Campers brushed their calves

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and learned to lead!

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They bathed their calves,

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and there was plenty of time for bonding 🙂

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Each camper got assigned their own calf for the week,

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which they formed great relationships with…

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smiles all around from the kids and the calves!

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Campers and their calves learned to work together,

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and trust each other!

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Campers also spent time doing daily chores

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and keeping the barn tidy….

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they also made sure our cows had clean water bowls to come back to!

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We made time to play some games to cool off,

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and get our energy out!

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Campers did some team building exercises,

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and helped each other out!

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We had fun watching this duck,

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and all her ducklings!

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Campers fed the baby calves….

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played with them,

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and snuggled them!

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Campers also did a great job cleaning dishes for the next feeding!

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We took a trip to visit Cabot, where all of Fairmont’s milk goes!

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Campers even learned to milk themselves…

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and make butter!

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They also enjoyed dairy products!

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They had fun posing for their very own…

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milk mustache shoot!

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We certainly loved all the different mustaches…

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so cute!!

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Campers made friends,

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and experimented with making some human pyramids!

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They got a little daring with a large pyramid…

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which didn’t last very long!

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We had some special guests from the news…

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and some more guests that taught us about fire extinguishers!

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Learned a little about the history of dairy farming,

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and about dairy showing and dairy judging.

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Campers also took a field trip to our main farm…

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to see many many more calves…

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that is always a hit for both the calves and the campers 🙂

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The whole week led up to a demonstration to family and friends,

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showing everyone what they learned during the week!

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Everyone went home with a blue ribbon,

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we had two awesome groups of campers this year!

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Friends and family even got to meet the special calves that the kids worked with all week!

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Our calves certainly miss their camper friends….

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they can’t wait until next year!

 

Our Doors are Open at Fairmont!

As much as we love farming, we love sharing it with you!  While we welcome tours regularly and have incorporated hosting summer camps and weddings into our summer routine we are very excited to be participating in Cabot’s Open Farm Sunday for the first time this fall!

IMG_0810.JPG Mark your calendars for October 9, 2016 and get excited to see our parlor, new maternity barn and calf barn, enjoy a wagon ride, hear about our farming practices, learn about our history, and try some Cabot Cheese!

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We are hoping to see many of our neighbors along with anyone in the area who is interested in seeing a dairy farm or learning more about what we do!  Please help us start to spread the word now, we are looking forward to a fun filled day with lots of visitors!