Molly Brook Farm – Danny Seo

By | August 16, 2019


Danny Seo: Just as you make a decision whether to support organic farming in the foods you eat, farmers themselves are faced with a similar choice. Stay conventional or convert to organic. I recently visited one family farm to learn first hand about the challenges and benefits. Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder Stonyfield Organic: One of our primary objectives is to provide hope for family farmers, and to connect consumers to what’s going on on these farms. Cows: Moooo Gary: I’m passionate about organic because it’s
a way of supporting, and keeping family farms like this one on the land. Cow: Moo Danny: Gary Hirshberg’s support of family
farms hit high gear in the 1980’s when he and Samuel Kaymen co-founded
Stonyfield Organic, one of our sponsors. Their organic venture started
with one cow… and one great idea. Gary: Very nice to see you.
Danny: Good to see you. Gary: 35 years ago my partner Samuel, he had a little organic farming school and we were trying to keep it alive, and we
used to sit at the farm and eat his yogurt that was being made
from his one cow, Lilly-Belle. We had to come with a way of supporting our school, and one of us said let’s just start selling this stuff. We grew our herd to 19 cows at that point, and began selling to most of the
supermarkets in southern New Hampshire. And we now buy milk from about 1,700 family farmers. Danny: So this is an organic dairy? Gary: As far as you can see looking around here. There is no pesticides, there’s no herbicides. They’re growing their feed right here on this farm. And by the way, this is a farm that
converted from conventional to organic. Danny: Oh, it did? Gary: Yeah, they were- They were conventional. Danny: So why is this so important
for you to help family farms? Gary: Honestly, I believe the only way
we’re going to be guaranteed healthy food for ourselves and our families is by
keeping people on the land where the food is grown. You’ve got people living here, raising their
children here. This is their yard. They’re drinking from this water. You want to see fields like this?
You gotta support family farmers. By the way, the folks you’re about to meet
were literally married right here. Danny: Were married on the top of the hill,
were probably married to their jobs… Gary: And we’re married to them, too. (Guitar Strumming) Farmer Myles Goodrich: Come on, Buttercup.
Cows: Moo Myles: Good girls, up the hill. Cows: Moo moooo Danny: Myles Goodrich married
his wife Rhonda on the Vermont land his family has been farming
since 1835, for SEVEN generations. Today, the couple cares for a heard of Jersey cows, and the 565 acres that make up Molly Brook Farm. Danny: Hi guys! Rhonda: Hi.
Myles: Hi Danny. Danny: Why did you guys decide,
after many generations to go organic? Rhonda: We could see that the conventional
farming wasn’t sustainable for us. It made sense for the animals, to farm the
way that Myles grandfather farmed. Danny: What do your kids think
about you doing this? Myles: (Laughs) Well my daughter
has a farm of her own. Danny: Yeah? Myles: She actually was organic before we were. Danny: Do you think I could get a little tour? Myles: Yes. Rhonda will show you around,
and I’ll get back to work. Danny: Oh. Thank you Myles.
Myles: It was nice meeting you. Rhonda: Let’s go see the farm.
(Danny laughing) (Guitar Strumming) One of the biggest changes in going
organic is where and what the animals eat. (Tractor Noise) Rhonda: We have 42 acres here
that we pasture the cows. Danny: Wow, has this always
been green and lush like this? Rhonda: We had to reseed this pasture, and this mix is a grazing mix so it has meadow fescue. It has some red and white clover, a little chicory. Normally we would have gone over that land with a tractor and a piece of equipment 15 to 20 times a season. The cows, they harvest their own feed
and they fertilize it themselves, we don’t have to put fertilizer on those fields. Another thing that we did
is we downsized the herd. We had a 120 milking cows and we reduced the number to 80. The land can support 80 cows comfortably, and
we can grow our own crops for our animals. Danny: The cows feed on different
areas of the pasture each day in a system called intensive rotational grazing. Then they get even more organic
eats inside this bright barn. Rhonda: You can see this hoop
barn puts a lot of nice light in, and in the winter, its beautiful for
the cows, they like the light. One of the things we do before we bring
the cows in from pasture is we push this feed up so
it’s right where they can reach it easily. Danny: So what’s in this mix again? Rhonda: Well it’s, it’s haylage which
really is just cut grass, And then we have an organic grain
that our nutritionist puts together, and he samples our feed, our haylage, to see what’s missing and he makes it up in the grain. Danny: Oh my gosh. Well, we’ve got the feed ready,
um, what else do we have to do? Rhonda: The beds that they lay down on, they go to the bathroom, they leak some milk, so what we like to do is take that kiln dried sawdust and scrape off any wet spots. Danny: So why is a dry bed so important? Rhonda: A dry bed is important
because wet sawdust can grow bacteria, and we don’t want bacteria near the cows. Danny: Now something I know,
when you become an organic farm that means you can’t use antibiotics, is that correct? Rhonda: That’s correct. Just kind of move that around, and
make sure there’s nothing wet underneath. Danny: And they’re elevated. Rhonda: There’s a mattress here. We want the cows, their joints
and their hocks, to be comfortable. Danny: There’s like a little bounce. Rhonda: Yeah. Danny: On this, oh my gosh. Is this also a car wash? Rhonda: (Laughing) No. Danny: What is that? Rhonda: This is a brush. And the cows love this. They bump into it and then it rolls all along their back. Danny: Oh ho ho (Laughing)
Rhonda: That’s exactly what the cows do. Danny: Ahhhhhhhhh So this is the spa part of your…
Rhonda: It is. Danny: Of your cow hotel? Haha Rhonda: It is, it is the spa part. Danny: I think the food is ready, the beds are ready, the spa is open. Rhonda: It’s time to get the cows. Danny: Is it?! Bring in the cows! (Cow Bell Rings)
Cows: Mooooo Moooo Moooo Danny: Hi guys! Rhonda: They’re saying “We don’t want to talk to you right now, we want to get in there and have some grain!” Danny: They Look so happy.
Rhonda: They’re glad to come in, they’re happy to go to pasture too, though.
They like it early in the morning. Danny: One of them is going right to the spa. Rhonda: Yeah, yeah, getting a back rub. Danny: This one’s a sweet heart! Rhonda: That’s Barbra. Oh, that’s Fairy Tale. Look at that. Good job honey. They don’t do that for just anybody. Danny: Well Rhonda, what an amazing day. I learned so much, and I have so much admiration for everything you and your husband were doing. So I am going to say goodbye, and leave these ladies to enjoy their bovine buffet. Rhonda: Thank you so much, thank you for joining us! Cow: Mooooooooo

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