• Season 4 | Episode 5 | Amanda Freund | Please Pass the Gas!

September 30, 2019 3 Comments

Gas is where it’s at on Freund’s family dairy in Connecticut!  Now, let me tell you more!

Amanda Freund is one of four children born into a dairy farming family.  As the children grew so did the demand for more income so her mother Teresa went from selling corn at a roadside stand to expanding the farm market.  As the kids grew, so did the market with Teresa’s careful guidance and today is just one of the important pieces of the Freund family puzzle.   

The family is full of innovators and 22 years ago Amanda’s father made the decision to put in a methane digester - one of the first in the country.  The digester allowed them to make a useful product out of the manure that came from the dairy - thousands of pounds a day! The manure is gathered up each day and put into the digester where the methane gas is produced, which, along with solar is used to power the farm.  Then, the liquid is separated from the solid. The liquid is used as fertilizer on their fields and the solid is used to make the family’s Cow Pots. The Cow Pots are another invention in the quest to have less waste and use that they had. They form the dried byproduct into various sizes of pots that are then used for garden plants…giving the plant a biodegradable and self-fertilizing home!  

I arrived at the farm, greeted by Teresa and rows and rows of beautiful flowering plants…all planted in Cow Pots, of course!  The greenhouse is now part of the Freund’s Farm Market. Teresa showed us around the market, telling us about the uniqueness of her store and also talking about all of the vegetables grown on the farm which she not only sells at the store but also uses in her catering business and bakery!  During peak growing season the Freund harvest thousands of pounds of tomatoes from the greenhouses each day!

Her youngest daughter Rachel also works at the farm full-time in the store and greenhouse. We caught up with her a bit too, watching her tend to the flock of chickens which started as an FFA project when she was in high school!

Once we were done at the store, I walked to a different part of the farm where I met Amanda, another of the Freund girls who have returned to the farm, full time.  She balances her days between the dairy and Cow Pots and this morning was getting ready to start feeding the waiting cows. She jumped up in the cab of a big front loader and got the silage she needed to mix feed out of a huge pile. 

Then, she switches to a smaller tractor with a wagon where she mixed the feed then pulled up to the waiting cows in the free-stall barn. After feeding was done, she stopped for a minute to show me a few of the cool pieces of technology on the farm, which also make it much more sustainable.  She explained that they built this new barn a few years ago and it is the housing and milking area for their herd. From the great ventilation and airflow to the scratchers for the cows, it was clear that cow comfort is high on their list. Then she showed me the robots. First, Juno which I thought of as a very large Roomba vacuum.  It is a robot that automatically moves around the barn at set times to move the feedback up the bunks for the cows as they push it out while eating. She also pointed out the automatic scraper which removes the manure from the floor so it can be used in the digester! We then crossed through the barn to the milking area. There, they had a series of robotic milkers installed where the cows are milked by the robots a few times each day.  While I have seen robotic milkers before, the technology and efficiency are always impressive!  

After we were done in the barn we made our way down to take a look at the methane digester.  Amanda explained that it is very old, 22 years but still works well for their farm. She explained the process from atop of the structure that holds the methane gas.  There was no denying that the air was pretty poo-scented around the digester, but the efficiency and sustainability of what it can do are worth it!

The Freund farm and the FarmHers that are behind it are just so cool.  I love telling the story of the market, digester and Cow Pots as a story of sustainability, innovation and, well, Poo!

3 Responses

Barbara I Huss
Barbara I Huss

October 05, 2019

How can I get some of these pots.

Anita Roberson
Anita Roberson

October 04, 2019

I absolutely have to agree with the response above mine. What an awesome idea!!!
I grow cut flowers and am going to be looking for your Cow Pots!!!!

Odille carpenter friend of Laura Freund
Odille carpenter friend of Laura Freund

October 02, 2019

Your farm and stand are fantastic. It is so wonderful to see a family of women being innovative and eco friendly who use sustainable energy to help our planet. Teresa your catering business is the best. Farm to table and all absolutely delicious dishes. This is a great story of a deserving family!

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