Gratitude Journal: Alaska Calves

The winter is slow at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery. We would love to be busy all the time – we miss seeing our high season customers and it would help us pay our bills a little more easily – but with longer nights, colder days, and shorter hours, it does make sense.

For that reason, the slow time gives us a chance to get away from the farm for a little while. And I was lucky enough to get away last week to beautiful, clear skyed Alaska.

Dylan and I went to visit our friends Laura and Landon who have homesteaded up in the Alaskan wild. Flying into Anchorage, we adventured into Girdwood, Seward, and experienced the Ceremonial Iditarod Start!

We stayed in the cabin they had built together, and when given the house tour, I spotted two familiar faces right away! Ranger and Rodeo the calves were posted proudly on the wall, Name the Calf Contest Winners from back in October!

The Name the Calf Contest at Barstow’s is one of my absolute favorite farmstand traditions.

There are about 100 heifer calves born per year on Barstow’s Longview Farm and each one gets a number. But every calf has her own personality, and to honor that, we make sure every animal on our farm gets a name.  Calves born around the same time have names that begin with the same letter. We invite our customers at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery to enter the Name the Calf Contest.

It builds a connection to the farm you sustain when you buy a sandwich or milkshake or cookie at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery. And I think that’s really special.

It made me glad to know that the photos we mail out (with a free ice cream cone coupon as well!) might end up on the walls and refrigerators of the customers who named her!  I laughed thinking of our calves as famous little ambassadors to the dairy industry and to Barstow’s Longview Farm in particular.

I’ve always thought about the transaction as a trade: a lovely name and your generous support, for an ice cream cone. But looks like the trade is the name and the support for an ice cream and a dash of cuteness for your wall! I love it!

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