June is Dairy Month!
A time to celebrate local dairy: milk, cheese, ice cream and more! ‘Celebrating’, however, looks a bit different in the age of COVID-19. With incredibly low milk prices, lost markets with the closure of restaurants, schools, and institutions, and the added stress of social distancing, new farm training protocols, and so.much.sanitizing, dairy farmers (like most everyone else these days!) have been a little preoccupied.
Traditionally, the Dairy Crawl takes you to six farmstands for ice cream and to get your passport stamped. You then submit your completed passport for a prize before the end of Dairy Month.
With so much on our plate and farmstand staff up to their necks in safety considerations, we have decided for forgo a printed passport for the annual Dairy Crawl this year, and invite you to #DairyCrawl on your own.
Visit the farmstands; Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery, McCray’s Country Creamery, Flayvors of Cook Farm, Maple Valley’s Hadley Scoop, North Hadley Sugar Shack and Market, and Smiarowski’s Farmstand and Creamery; and purchase an ice cream to participate in the Dairy Crawl and show your support for local agriculture.
We farmers have been friends and neighbors for generations.
We all face similar challenges – development of farmland, difficulty finding reliable labor, and razor thin profit margins. We borrow equipment with one another, trade tips and feedback, and lend a helping hand. While not all of the participating farmstands are connected with dairy farms, it is a longstanding tradition to support our neighbors and sustain agriculture in the Pioneer Valley.
The milk price is currently so low that it does not cover a dairy farm’s cost of doing business. Coronavirus has only heightened the uncertainty for dairy farmers nationwide. We’ve opened farmstands to diversify our businesses so that we can continue to do what we love: create local, wholesome food for our community.
The Pioneer Valley is home to 2,161 farms, which generate $128 million in annual sales, steward 182,430 acres of land and employ 4,300 people. This Dairy Month, we hope that you enjoy your visit to our farmstands!
Supporting local matters, and we appreciate your business!
This project is organized and funded by the six participating farmstands in Sunderland, Hadley, and South Hadley. Again, please note that we did not print passports this year or train our farmstand teams on how to engage with this promotion. The Dairy Crawl this year is self guided by you and your love of local dairy (thank you!) You may also print your own: Dairy Crawl 2020 passport!