No Idle Hands: A Farm Photo Essay
We all look forward to the long Labor Day weekend, right?
Organic Valley farmers look forward to waking up before the sun even on a Saturday. But on Labor Day? The cows don’t know what that is.
The herd still wants fresh, green pastures and clean water. People still need cream, eggs and milk to make delicious breakfast feasts. The grass doesn’t stop growing on a holiday.
For all the farmers out there who don’t know what a three-day weekend is, this one’s for you.
For organic farmers who believe that grass is the best food a cow can get, making hay is a routine as common as Saturday morning brunch in the city. Crystal Klaphake smiles while working with her siblings to send the hay up to the barn hayloft for the coming winter on their Minnesota dairy farm.
Her father, Neal Klaphake, takes the hay bales off the track and stacks them with a strategy all his own. It isn’t quite like Tetris since every shape is different.
People who love Organic Valley milk often ask how a cow can be grass-fed in winter. This is a real glimpse into how farmers make that happen.
Even after cows are out in the pasture during the best parts of the day, they still get hungry when they do decide to go back to the barn. On the Regli farm in California, cows look forward to sweet, delicious hay hand-delivered even on the weekends.
Before cows can munch on fresh grass, Butch Lay in Tennessee puts up portable fencing to section off a fresh paddock — a small part of a larger pasture. For farms that focus on regenerative grazing, creating fresh places for cows to graze is an everyday job.
Although the work is hard, farm life is often beautiful. The Stornettas in California check on the far reaches of the land they steward on horseback while their trusty sidekick frolics nearby. Farming involves the whole family — especially the dogs.
Many of the farm families in our cooperative who grow your food also grow their own! On the Bansens’ family farm in Oregon, 100% grass-fed Grassmilk is just one of the delicious things they harvest on a daily basis.
Growing the highest quality organic food takes hard work 365 days a year, and we are constantly grateful to our nation’s farmers for their dedication, perseverance, and hard work. On this holiday weekend, we thank you, farmers, for making dairy that goes into the delicious Organic Valley Half & Half we pour into our Saturday morning coffee to give us the motivation you have in spades.