Health and your Neighborhood Dairy Farm

Even before this global pandemic, health is a topic on the farm that we consider daily.

Every dairy farmer knows that happy, healthy animals produce higher quality, higher volume milk, and are less expensive and easier to take care of. Animal health is as much about pure love and devotion to our herd as it is about our bottom line.

Soil health is another priority at Barstow’s Longview Farm. Practices like no-till planting and manure management through our anaerobic digester ensure healthy soils and a productive New England landscape for generations to come. We welcome you to get in the soil health game…

Covid19 has sparked conversations about re-cultivating Victory Gardens in backyards – pick up some farm fresh compost for yours. Fill your own bucket or get it in bulk. Bulk delivery is also available. More details here.

The food system remains safe, clean, efficient, and operational as always:

U.S. farmers have placed their seed orders, cows continue to milk, processors package food, truckers are on the road, grocery stores restock, and restaurants package meals to go. Communities have rallied to make sure food insecure families are getting the help they need.

Cabot Creamery Cooperative has donated hundreds of shipments of single serve cheese to New England hospitals, giving health workers a quick and nutritional snack to keep them going. If you are a health care worker and would like to apply for a Cabot shipment to your hospital, fill out this form.

Last week, the federal government recognized agriculture as an “essential” business. Farms across the nation are carrying on because, well, that’s what we do on holidays, weekends, weather disasters, on-farm emergencies, and global pandemics. The only thing that can truly bring our food system to a screeching halt? MONEY.

The coronavirus has highlighted weaknesses in many systems around the world, including the U.S. food system. While the system itself is unshakable, the amount of money flowing through it is in crisis. For decades farms, truckers, cooperatives, processors, grocery stores, and small restaurants have dealt with razor thin profit margins. Disasters intensify disparities.

We can barely keep milk stocked at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery.

The dairy aisles at the grocery stores are picked bare. However, the projections for milk prices this month are about $11 below our break-even on the farm.

We expect our April paycheck to reflect the price we received in 2008. With schools closed and restaurants shuttered, milk consumption is down and commercial sized tubs of sour cream, butter, and cheese are being donated. Frightening times are ahead for all family dairies across the nation, big and small. This video explains more.

Meanwhile, we have been overwhelmed with support at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery.

We’ve been sending bag loads of Barstow beef, prepared foods, soups, and grocery items out the drive thru window. Last week, Michael took 9 bulk compost loads to community members looking to practice social distancing in the garden. Breakfast and lunch sales have been steady, thank you for sticking to some of your routines, we rely on your patronage.

I had a brief chat with a woman at the drive thru window the other day, thanking her for visiting Barstow’s despite these stressful times. “I want you to be here when this is all over” she replied.

Even with the many loans and grants swirling from federal, state, and private programs, small businesses, including ours, will take a hit from Covid19. We want to be here when this is all over – and other small businesses too. Here is a list of local businesses that are currently open that need your support. CISA also compiled a list of Local Hero farms and restaurants open here.

Here’s a short list of ways to support Barstow’s during the Covid19 crisis. Reaching back into the Barstow Blog archives, the articles: 9 ways you can support your local dairy farm and 6 reasons to care about New England Dairy are still relevant toady.

The Barstow family and team at Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery remains healthy and in good spirits.

We continue to be vigilant about sanitizing surfaces and handles, washing our hands, and practicing proper food handling. We are sad to announce that our Steak Dinner will be postponed to a later date, the Earth Day tour is cancelled, and our live music with Jeremy on Wednesdays is cancelled until further notice.

Let’s recognize that this is an incredibly stressful time for everyone. We are all being tested by social distancing, financial stress, and concerns about loved ones. We hope that you and your family are well and finding comfort in good food, the signs of spring, and from being rooted in this incredible community. It’s been recommended that keeping routines during this global pandemic keeps us grounded. If you’d like to post the Barstow’s April Outhouse News in your restroom, we have you covered.

Continue to celebrate the little things (and the big things!)

Birthdays are still happening, Easter is coming up, and although you can’t go OUT for dinner, having someone else cook your meal is a welcome treat. We are taking orders for Easter goodies, bday cakes, and prepared foods like full pans of lasagna, shepherd’s pie, and more.

The only challenge with the drive thru is that our customers can’t see all of the awesome offerings in our bakery case, prepared foods freezer, and grocery shelves. Check out our website, Facebook photos, and posts on Instagram. We recommend calling ahead to reserve items for pick-up since inventory is always changing. We are happy to chat with you on the phone and are staffed to handle longer phone calls. Thanks for helping us continue to move items through our farmstand and sustain our family, staff, and business.

Thanks for the Love!

  • In our online “E” Name the Calf Contest we invited you to submit comments and feedback about Barstow’s Longview Farm and Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery. Here are a few of the comments of many that absolutely made our day! Thanks so much for all the love!
  • So very happy you are able to continue to serve the community during this difficult time. You give honor to the great tradition of New England farmers. Thank you.
  • Can’t wait to come this summer for a farm tour! Keep up the good work.
  • We absolutely love your farm, your family and your deli! You have the most amazing food served with a smile!
  • Best hidden treasure around here! Thank you for all that you do!
  • We love Barstows!!
  • I have never actually been been, but your Farm is a fun destination halfway between my daughter and I! She is a nurse in Eastern Mass! We planned on taking a tour this spring…. but of course that is on hold. Your newsletter always makes me smile ( and hungry!) and someday we are going to visit! I am praying for you and all the other small businesses that are still serving our community! These are difficult times … but those sweet calves still need names! Good luck and thanks for smiles!!
  • Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to helping the community in these uncertain times!
  • Thank you! We love entering the contests and are so glad this is available online!
  • Yes, thank you to all of you for providing us with a safe service during this difficult time . I feel so lucky to have a place to go right in my neighborhood! Everyone is so cheerful and as always the food is delicious! I am especially thankful for having a place to get milk and of course muffins and cookies!
  • We so enjoyed learning about your automated milking machines and the compost conversion to electricity.
  • Keep up your great work!
  • Thank you for supporting our community and providing healthy and yummy food in this trying time
  • Yay! We love Barstow’s
  • love you guys stay safe
  • I’m a Mount Holyoke grad and I love getting your emails! Hope all is well out there and that everyone is safe, healthy, and happy 🙂
  • Every time I go back home to CT for a visit, I/we come up Wayne & Sandy’s Cat’s Cradle and to Barstow’s for lunch & to name the Calves! I’m so glad that you are continuing with your naming the calves on line! We all need a bright spot in our lives! Especially now!
  • Love your farm and store, one of our favorite stops!
  • You are doing a great job being a responsible dairy farm. Keep it up.
  • Barstow’s Dairy Store is a breath of fresh air! It’s our unwind weekend breakfast.
  • We love you guys! Hang in there!
  • We love your burger blast days, pasture day and your live music. Thank you for always providing a nice visit and food eats.😋
  • You guys ROCK!!!
  • We love you guys!❤️
  • We love your macaroons and key lime squares!
  • One of my favorite places!
  • It’s a great place to go to eat, and the peanut butter bars are AMAZING!
  • I love your gluten free cookies!
  • Thank you for continue taking care of your community and cows. I’m excited to come for a visit once everything has cleared up and in the meantime am stocked up on a lifetime supply of Cabot cheese!
  • Great family & community!
  • Special feel good place
  • Your store and bakery feels like home
  • Thank you for continuing to allow us to patronize your store during this trying time. Stay safe and well!
  • Hi Everybody! Keep up the great work!

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Barstow's is open. Call ahead for grocery availability / to place orders: (413) 586-2142(click to view hours)