MARCH'S MEMBERS OF THE MONTH: Amy Huyffer & Earl Ransom, Strafford Organic Creamery/Rock Bottom Farm (Strafford, VT)
We are excited to share NOFA-VT's Member of the Month for March In this monthly feature, we choose a member to recognize each month as a way to celebrate all the wonderful people that make up the NOFA-VT community. Thank you for being a part of it!
Amy and Earl own Strafford Organic Creamery and Rockbottom Farm in Strafford, VT. Earl Ransom grew up milking cows on their 600-acre farm. He and his wife, Amy Huyffer, carry on his family’s tradition of managing the land organically, with no herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Earl and Amy generously donate their delicious organic ice cream (and scooping skills!) to the much loved ice cream social at the NOFA-VT's Winter Conference each year. On March 1st, they hosted a special ski day for NOFA-VT members at the Strafford Nordic Center, which uses their farm fields and pastures for cross country ski trails.
Why are you a NOFA-VT member?
We are NOFA members because the newsletters and other communications keep us connected to the organic community. We need to know what's important to our customers and NOFA tells us that. Plus, NOFA members are a great group of people and we want to be part of the club.
What do you value most about NOFA-VT’s work?
NOFA keeps farming integrity at the front of people's minds. If people didn't care about where their food comes from, we would have no game at all. NOFA gives them the information and tools to care.
How long have you been a member?
Do you identify as a…. (eater, gardener, homesteader, farmer, etc.)?
We are dairy farmers.
How have you been involved with NOFA-VT in the last year?
We don't get off the farm much these days, but we have been hosts for the NOFA bulk order for many years. This year, we're turning it over to our friends at Strafford Village Farm, but we'll still be there helping (and not one will be sorry not to fight with the mud on our driveway). We also scoop ice cream at the Winter Conference.
What's the best garden/farm experiment you did this year?
It's a little older than just one year, but livestock results are slower to reveal their successes. We switched to Peach Teat nipple buckets for our calves and are raising stronger, faster-growing calves. It's a simple thing, but all the calves who just couldn't figure out bucket drinking until they got good and hungry are transitioning to the nipple buckets with no setbacks.
Why does organic matter to you?
This is how we want to farm--how we want to treat our animals and land. We are hugely grateful that others value this way of farming and are willing to pay a premium for its products.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-VT this year?
I want NOFA to carry on Enid's spirit of inclusivity and kindness. I think it might be easy for an organic organization to look down on conventional farmers and consumers, but NOFA has been able to celebrate and pursue its mission without making people feel bad. I hope you all can keep that going; all of Vermont dairy gets stronger when we're friends.