Farmer Friday: Wallace Farm
Wallace Farm, Waterbury, Vermont
Rosina was raised on the Wallace Farm, which her family purchased in 1866 – making March of next year the 150th anniversary for the Wallace family up on Blush Hill Road in Waterbury Vermont. Rosina is part of the fifth generation and she grew up sawing wood for the winter, gardening, mending fences, and mucking barns; and to hear Rosina tell it, there’s no better life in the world. She is also grateful to share the experience with others.
While Rosina grew up on the family farm, she didn’t originally plan to take it over and become a full-time dairy farmer. After she finished college, Rosina taught physical education and health for twelve years before returning home. Her dad, Keith, wanted to run for a seat as a state representative, and he needed somebody to help him run the farm. Rosina was up for the challenge. Keith won the election and served two terms as a state representative, and Rosina has been on the farm ever since. Rosina’s brother Kay performs maintenance on the farm machinery, but Rosina handles everything else.
Even though Rosina is now a dairy farmer, she never quite lost the teaching bug. She has visitors on the farm throughout the year. One day, it may be 70 pre-kindergarten children seeing a farm for the first time. She lets them pet, and try to milk the cows. She walks the land with the children and patiently explains where milk and cheese come from and how the food makes its way into their homes. The next day a class of fifth graders may swing by for a few hours, and they watch as Rosina does chores on the farm and explains why each one is necessary. Rosina says, “I think it’s very important for the children to see how a farm operates and where their food comes from. It gives them deeper insight and understanding for farming and food producers, and it helps them develop an appreciation for the land.”
She always has handfuls of individually wrapped Cabot cheese snacks to give the children as a treat. From the cows on the farm, to the creamery at Cabot for processing, to the marketplace, and ultimately to the kids’ refrigerator and kitchen table, Rosina explains the full cycle to the children. And the kids seem to take it all to heart.
In addition to hosting groups of children on the farm, Rosina always brings a calf to Kid’s Fest and the 4th of July Parade in the village of Waterbury. Rosina also works at the Waterbury Cabot Annex and loves chatting with visitors over cheese. She can’t go into town without somebody stopping her to ask how her cows are doing. In fact, Rosina has named all of her cows and the kids usually ask about them by name.
Rosina took some time to answer our Farmer Friday questions:
What is your favorite thing about Dairy Farming?
Working with the animals, including my dog, Bodhi! I like to interact with the cows and see their personalities develop.
What is your favorite Meal?
Turkey with all the fixings! But I am also very happy to make a meal out of Cabot Strawberry Greek-Style Yogurt or the Cabot Alpine Cheddar!
What is your least favorite farm chore?
Getting sawdust for the cows stalls in the winter. It always freezes and you really have to dig at it in cold weather like we’ve had this winter.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
Spring! I love having the songbirds travel through and watching everything green-up. From the farm, I can watch the green gradually work its way up the side of the Worcester Mountain range – it’s like watching a miracle happen.
What is one thing you would like people who have never experienced farm life to know?
Farming is a different world. As a kid, I loved growing up on the farm. There were limitless opportunities to explore and have fun. The freedom to wander and discover was something that I don’t think enough kids have today. It is what motivates me to have the local children visit the farm.