"After 30 years of feeling like a rubber band, I've actually started to get used to it," says Ward Burroughs, grinning as he talks about life with his dynamic wife. "Rosie asks us to stretch our minds. She sees things out of the box. Among many of her ideas through the years, it was at Rosie's vision for us to go organic, and though it took the rest of us a while to see what she saw, here we are, and I can honestly say that it's the most sustainable decision we've ever made. I don't think we would have had the courage to try something this radical without Rosie's unwavering faith." Ward says. "Like so many things she has asked us to trust in, we have come to believe that everything comes full circle."
All that happens at the Burroughs' farms seems to come "full circle." Elder wisdom spirals from the past; expanding to include new ideas, technology, and a larger, more compassionate worldview. It is apparent in their reverence for nature and the way they treat each other and their animals.
The call to organic methods came in January 2001, when Lloyd Steuve, a nearby farmer, asked Rosie if Ward would want to attend a "barn talk" on organics by a vet named Dr. Paul Dettloff. Doc Dettloff is Organic Valley's vet and a longtime advocate of organics for dairy herds.
Ward was busy, so Rosie went to the event with her daughter Christina, who was operating the family's grass based Full Circle Dairy. Rosie didn't know what to expect, but she was stirred by Doc Dettloff's ideas. "It was a fantastic awakening for me," Rosie says. "Everything that I, as a mother, had been trying to do for the health of my family, Doc Dettloff was doing for herd health. What he said about optimum health starting in the soil made perfect sense to me. Excellent soil health yields healthy feed, better nutrition, excellent herd health, and, of course, ultimately becomes healthy food. I knew intuitively from that moment that organics was what we had been looking for." For years Rosie had raised her kids naturally, using herbs, homeopathy, garlic, echinacea, and living foods. She realized that she could apply the same natural methods to the cows, and instinctively she knew that it would work.
Viewing the gorgeous expanse of lush green pastures on rolling hills, seated majestically beneath the Sierra Nevada Mountains, dotted with contented grazing cows, I wonder how it could be any other way. The timeless scene; a pristine setting; open space unspoiled by "progress." Yet because of the Burroughs' "leap of faith" to go organic, this land provides an enormous amount of nutritious food.