Gratitude Journal: Dairy Month

Happy Dairy Month!

(and Happy Pride Month! 🏳️‍🌈)
If you know anything about dairy, you already know that dairy farmers celebrate dairy 24/7/365 – farming isn’t just a profession, it’s a lifestyle! Dairy is always on our mind, and for this beautiful month, we hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on this amazing food too. We came up with 7 reasons to support local dairy this month, and all year round!

1. Dairy foods are nutritious.

Milk contains 9 essential nutrients required to help our bodies and immune systems thrive. It’s worth noting that milk and dairy foods are also generally very affordable, playing an important role in food security and human health. Barstow’s just completed a year of milk donations to our local food pantry, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, 520 gallons generously funded by a Barstow’s supporter. Read the story here.

2. Dairy farms provide local food.

Local food tastes better. It’s fresh, it’s raised by neighbors you trust, and it doesn’t travel far. Because milk is perishable, the dairy supply chain is fast, clean, efficient, and local! Milk travels from farm to grocery store within just 48 hours! Check it out!

One small New England dairy farm can’t feed the world, but a healthy network of local farms can nourish their communities. For Dairy Month, farmstands in the area are coming together to celebrate a food connection that’s been in our roots for generations. Join the Dairy Month Dairy Crawl! Pick up your free ice cream passport at any of the participating farmstands and lick local for a chance to win! #DairyCrawl

Your neighborhood farmstand is a portal to what’s in season and what’s going on in your community! Asparagus season is wrapping up, rhubarb is in full swing, strawberry season is near, and there’s milk: ALWAYS in season. Order homemade rhubarb and strawberry rhubarb pies or pick one out of the bakery case (while they last!). Graduation parties are also in season and we are taking custom orders for cakes, desserts, platters, picnic salads, and prepared foods. Speaking of grads, shout out to two really terrific “kids”: Congrats Liam and Norah!

3. Dairy farms are environmentally conscious.

The land is our livelihood, and better crops yield better milk, so dairy farmers practice sustainable farming tactics. Best practices, like no-till planting, preserve the quality of soil, reduce erosion, mitigate runoff, sequester carbon, and protect the greater ecosystem where we raise our crops, herd, and families.
Additionally, 65% of Massachusetts dairy farmers (like the Barstow’s!) produce renewable energy on their farm. Learn more.

4. Dairy farms steward our landscape.

Dairy farmers are considered the “anchor tenants” of the region’s farmland base. Only 1.7% of the farms in Massachusetts are dairy, but dairy farms steward 9.8% of our agricultural land. Of the 125 dairy farms remaining in Massachusetts, 43% are in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties.

Our family farm requires accessibility to farmland to feed our herd. The Town of South Hadley and Kestrel Land Trust are securing funds to conserve 210 acres of farmland, land currently farmed by Barstow’s and McCray’s Farm. Local farmland is essential for food security and climate resilience in our community. Please help with this important goal, contributions to conserve this land can be made here.

5. Massachusetts dairy farms are run by families.

With Father’s Day fast approaching, we’ve got all the farmers’ favorites on pre-order! Steve Barstow gets a rhubarb pie, David, a yellow cake, chocolate frosting, and Steven, father of two in the eighth generation, will enjoy some key lime pie bars come June 20. Place your Father’s Day orders or pick up a gift card for the stellar Dads in your life!

Family is everything and dairy farming is a way of life closely connected with the land and our heritage. Preservation of dairy farms sustains the history and landscape of New England. New England has lost more than 10,000 dairy farms in the last 50 years, and two-thirds of Massachusetts dairy farms have been shuttered since 1997.

6. Dairy farms contribute to the economy.

It’s easy to see the way farmstands play a role in our rural economy, moving dollars between other farmers, local suppliers, and customers in our community. But through milk sales and dairy processing, blue collar job creation, and the purchase of local supplies by farms, each cow in the Commonwealth generates an estimated $27,000 in economic activity! A great reason to keep the whole dairy economy MOOving!

7. Massachusetts dairy farmers are rooted in their communities.

Many farmers are involved in local politics, churches, in their public schools, are on their volunteer fire departments, and honor the stories and traditions of their hometowns. With more people being transplanted in the world, it is nice to have some long-time locals contributing to the New England culture we cherish.

We love the community that’s grown within our family farmstand, expanding our dairy family to our neighbors and customers! It’s been nice to see familiar smiles this past week at the store. In keeping with CDC, State, and Town regulations and best practices, vaccinated customers and staff are not required to wear masks at Barstow’s. Please note un-vaccinated customers and team members must continue to mask up, thank you.

Barstow’s is hiring for front of house members and we’re looking for a Cook / Baker too. Our indoor seating is back at full capacity, though we continue to offer picnic table and porch seating with a view! And last thing to note: Barstow’s is back OPEN MONDAYS and we look forward to seeing you soon!

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