Farmer Friday: Richardson Family Farm in Hartland, Vermont
Ezra Richardson just finished up his freshman year, studying Environmental Science at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. His family’s farm, Richardson Family Farm, is just across the Vermont border and an hour north of where Ezra is hanging his hat during the semester. This summer he will return home to help on the farm until he returns to Keene for his sophomore year.
Richardson Family Farm was purchased in 1905 and is now run by Ezra’s grandparents Gordon and Pat, his parents, and aunt & uncle Audrey and Reid Richardson as a partnership. In addition to dairy farming, they tap about 8200 maples each year (making maple syrup that you can purchase online and at the Cabot Annex) and they produce split-rail fencing, a mile of which has graced the grounds of a fellow Cabot Co-op member at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont.
We checked in on Ezra to answer our Farmer Friday questions about growing up on his family’s picturesque dairy farm and what changed in the past 9 months since starting college. Thanks, Ezra!
Has being away at college changed your sleep pattern?
As a kid who grew up on a farm I never really was one to sleep in. Besides, haven’t we all heard the saying “the early bird catches the worm?” A little corny, but I believe it! Being away at school has changed my sleep patterns some, but I still tend to go to bed early and get up early as many days of the week as I can. I have always been that way.
What did you miss most about the farm?
I really missed the scenery. I miss being able to walk right through the middle of it all and take it all in.
What did you miss least?
What I missed least is the constant line up of chores that must, and I mean must, be finished by the end of the day. It has given me an understanding of responsibility that I consider lucky to have, as well as a work ethic that I’ve noticed some other students don’t have.
Ever visit local farms?
I am only in my second semester at Keene State, and I do not have car. The combination of not really having a lot of free time, and no way of getting from point A to B except my feet, hasn’t allowed for much exploring. However, there is a small local farm in the area that has a few milking cows, organizes tours and events for locals, and also has number of walking trails. When my family came for a visit we all went and checked it out. It made for a great afternoon!
Do you still help out when you’re home on vacation?
Oh yes! I will actually be working on the farm this summer and always try to help out when I’m home. Truth is, when you live close to the farm, work with family, are familiar with the work, and get paid some on top of that, it makes sense to help out. The farm is my roots, and that’s what I grew up doing. It feels great!
Do you see dairy farming being part of your future?
At this point in my life I can’t necessarily say that dairy farming won’t be a part of my life. However, after many years on the farm, I have a pretty solid idea that it isn’t going to be what my career is centered around. It has helped to make me the person I am today, and I have a deep appreciation for the land and everything the farm has given me. I would like for my own children to someday be able to experience something like the upbringing I’ve had.
Is there an aspect of dairy farming that has helped prepare you for college?
I would have to say that all together the biggest thing I am thankful for when it comes to the farm is the work ethic it has given me. I feel good when I take on a challenging task, and applying for college was certainly a challenging. I’m so happy that I told myself I could handle it. Look where I am now. I love the school I am attending and I can’t wait to see where this part of my life takes me!
If you would like to learn more about Cabot Creamery Cooperative or take a virtual tour of Richardson Family Farm or some of our 1,200 farm families, click here. You can also sign-up for our Newsletters.