Gratitude Journal: Joey’s #FarmLove


Winter on the farm is the trade off between wet gloves and the passable dexterity of frigid fingers. It’s the alley scraper frozen to the floor in a puddle of manure. It’s wrestling a newborn on a frozen morning into a warm calf jacket and a hot bucket of milk. Winter, like every season, is it’s own labor of love – Farm Love.

#FarmLove is ever abundant here at Barstow’s Longview Farm. Along with dollars and (good) sense, #FarmLove is what gets us out of bed every morning, fills the bulk tank with nutritious milk, and stocks the bakery case with Grandma’s homemade cookies. It’s an essential to what we do and who we are.

Amidst a crashing milk market in the mid-2000s, Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery was born. What we were hoping for was stability and a way to support our 214 year old dairy farm business. We also knew that opening our doors to the public would open our farm up to the community. It has been deeply rewarding to connect face-to-face with customers. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in the routine of paperwork, equipment repairs, herd checks, and all the hurdles of keeping an agricultural operation running smoothly. Hearing directly from our community that they appreciate the hard work of farming and the good food it produces has provided a needed lift.

Through Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery, we’ve extended our #FarmLove – to neighbors, new friends and regulars, and our community – over the counter and out the drive thru window. As the years have flown, we’ve watched farmstand children becoming adults, and farmstand babies grow into kids.

Joey is four and a half years old and he knows what he likes (and it’s grilled cheese with avocado and carrot cake for dessert!). Joey has always been adorably shy and remarkably self-aware. He’s politely requested “Barstow’s THEMED birthday cakes” and Barstow’s porch birthday parties complete with a farm tour – for which we always receive a very kind, almost legible, handwritten thank you note.
From Santa Claus, Joey asked for a cash register to add to the little Barstow’s kitchen located in the play room. In his kitchen, Joey goes by “Jean” and hopes for a customer to visit the drive thru window. His Mom points out that this would be an extra special visit as the play room is on the second floor!

“We first started going to Barstow’s for the yummy food and family friendly dining space. (And, as a new parent- purchasing eggs and milk through the drive-thru is nothing short of a miracle.) We kept going and going because everyone at Barstow’s became like family.” shares Joey’s Mom, Jenn. “As soon as Joey could speak he was asking for “the cow place”. Whether rolling down the hill, looking at the cows, or visiting with the kindest staff, he always feels welcome. Our family is so thankful to have Barstow’s in our community. We feel so fortunate to eat and shop at a local farm that means so much to us.”

As a staff and family we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Joey, his family, and so many other families who live ‘just up the road’, ‘just across town’, or ‘not too far as the crow flies’. We are grateful to have become a gathering place for our local community – our #FarmLove is spilling over!

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