Gratitude Journal: Harvest on our Minds

Harvest on our Minds

Corn harvest is underway and the entire farm team is holding our collective breath; praying for no breakdowns, a high quality yield, and a safe silage season. Harvest time involves a lot of sitting. Steven is sitting in the forage harvester, David is sitting while packing the silo, an army of truck drivers are sitting, moving back and forth from field to farm for hours and hours and hours a day, while Doug sits and plants the cover crop in the freshly harvested fields close behind. But even with all that sitting, they’re on the edge of their seat, eager to get things done fast and get them done right.

A friendly reminder to our community that September hosts a lot of trucks and tractors on the road. Squash, corn, hay, pumpkins… when it is time for harvest the time is NOW. Farmers must get their crops in at peak nutritional value and profitability in order to remain in business. Thank you for your patience and wise maneuvering around large equipment. We do kindly ask that customers on Barstow Lane yield to farm trucks and keep alert.

This month we have a very special guest writer: Nathan Emmonds! Nate works in the front-of-house at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery and asked if he could share some thoughts about his job here on the farm. We’re delighted to share his writing and to have Nate a part of our squad!

A Note from Nate

Hello! I am Nathan Emmonds of the Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery and I will be your newsletter writer. This month, I want to take a moment to describe my experience working at the farm.

Ever since I was a little boy, I have had a massive appreciation for farmers. My grandfather would teach me how groceries don’t just suddenly appear in stores, but rather by the hard work of those willing to work the Earth. I couldn’t quite fathom how someone could work so hard, year in and year out, to make just enough to do it all again next year.

When I first arrived at Barstow’s Longview Farm, I was amazed by the sheer size of the land. When I took a tour of the property, I learned that working with crops is much different than working with livestock. Animals need consistent attention and care to ensure that their milk production is efficient, safe, and ethical. I became fascinated with the farm culture here.

One thing has been very clear to me since I started working here: the farmland is special. It’s a place where the people who own it work hard from dawn ‘til dusk, through illness, and through injury to preserve it. Then winter comes. They put on boots at 5am and walk out into the freezing cold, knowing that coming home won’t be an option until long after the sun sets. It’s far more than a field of corn and cows, it’s a way of life. And the farmers here have the utmost dedication to preserve that way of life. How do I know? I see it every day at my job.

I’ve arrived early at the bakery, in the dead of winter when most people are still asleep. Even then, the farmers were up for hours before my day had even started.

I’ll never forget the time when the cows broke loose. One summer morning, 4 cows breached the fence and started crowding around Route 47. Not the most ideal spot to hang out if you are a large, slow-moving animal! Denise, my manager, sprinted like an Olympic athlete down to the street to herd the massive animals to safety. She risked her life to protect the cows, her way of life. That takes guts!

I find myself wondering again to myself; what drives a person to get up so early and work so hard to make just enough to do it all again next year? To me, its love. Love for what they do, for their family, and for their ancestors that pushed the plow before them. It’s in their blood, and they have to love it if they are willing to stay so dedicated to it.

It’s also love for their community. Milk is a huge part of America’s diet, and nearly half the population of America report drinking milk daily. That makes this operation here at Barstow’s a crucial one. Farms, especially dairy farms, are a dying breed. Encapsulated by the ever-expanding industrial complex around them, farmers are under constant pressure to sell off their land. Serving the community has always been a huge priority for the Barstow family. That is one of the reasons why they opened the restaurant from which I work: to bring the community together by distributing local goods.

While I have only been a part of this team for about 3 years, I do know one thing. I love it here. I love the people I work for, the people that I serve, and the land upon which I operate. To me, it is sacred ground; of which I will do my very best to maintain through my position at the bakery. I am so thankful to be a part of this community and I am so thankful for the work our farmers do to keep groceries in our fridge. Because groceries don’t appear out of thin air. They appear because of hard working people willing to work the Earth.

Labor Day Weekend

Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery is open this weekend, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 8am-5pm. Join us for ice cream after a hike or lunch on the porch. We’ve got plenty of steaks, burger patties, and kielbasa for the grill, picnic salads, pies, and sweet corn for your long weekend.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars: Burger Night is Wednesday, September 14. You can also look forward to live music by Jeremy Swartz from Berkshire Hills Music Academy every Tuesday. Finally, Hockanum Day is slated for October 2 (more details soon!).

P.S. Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery is hiring a cook/baker and a weekday dishwasher to join our team! Full details and application available on our website.

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