On a crisp fall day in Vermont, I traveled to Newmont Farm. There I visited with Margaret Gladstone for a day full of happy dairy cattle, delicious ice cream, and plump pumpkins. Margaret was born and raised a dairy FarmHer. She recalls childhood evenings that consisted of milking cattle, getting them ready for show day, and preparing for several agriculture titles including the prestigious Miss Vermont Agriculture crown.
A Blind Date Leading To a Dairy Farm
But when she left for college to become an elementary teacher, she thought her days on the farm were over. Little did she know a blind date with her now-husband would lead her back to her agriculture roots. It was love at first sight and they spent their weekends looking for the perfect dairy farm to relocate to. Eventually, they found their own piece of paradise in Vermont.
That farm is Newmont Farm.
At first, the farm just consisted of dairy cattle. But before they knew it, their farm and family were expanding. Their youngest child of three was born on Halloween. This sparked the idea to start their side venture: pumpkins!
Today, they grow around 220 acres of pumpkins. Because my visit was full of fall, we started the day checking them.
Plump Pumpkins On a Fall Day
Their big pumpkins are sold wholesale and end up anywhere from market stands in Boston to grocery stores in the Northeast.
In order to have a successful harvest Margaret and her husband, Walt, measure this by three key components:
1. Marketing- Walt does all of the marketing. Most years, he has them completely sold before harvest even begins!
2. Labor- With this aspect being a struggle in the past, Margaret has added a home on their farm for the laborers to stay at during harvest. On an average pumpkin picking day, they have 22 employees working.
3. Weather- The most unpredictable of the three, weather plays a huge role in harvesting pumpkins. They aim for crisp fall days with no rain.
A Passion for Dairy Cattle
Next, we headed to the dairy barn, where it all started. Margaret’s heart has always been in the dairy and she knows it is because of her passion for the cattle and their welfare.
In fact, Margaret’s barn is set up with cow comfort in mind. The dairy cattle stand on rubber during the day, sleep on sand, and even have fans running on them throughout the day.
They also do all of the milkings by hand and run 24 hours a day. With 26 dairy employees, Margaret tries to make each and every member feel like a part of the Newmont family.
After watching the milking take place, we went outside for some fresh air and baby calves. When the calves are very young, they stay in calf crates outside to enjoy the outdoors. I have to say this was my favorite part of the trip!
We All Scream For Ice Cream
But Margaret isn’t the only FarmHer at Newmont Farm. Her daughter-in-law, Brooke started another side venture. Her goal is to have direct contact with the consumer and their community. What better way than delicious ice cream?
She and her husband purchased a building, renovated it, and started serving locally made ice cream. Right now, all of her ice creams come from Vermont and/or New Hampshire. But she hopes in the future to make their own ice cream in-house from her family’s milk. Can you say from farm to spoon?!
A Shinning Light In the Vermont Valley
At Newmont Farms, Margaret is more than a FarmHer, wife, mom, and grandma. She is the vision behind the scenes, an encyclopedia of dairy knowledge, a mentor with a big heart, and the glue that holds the family farm together.
True love takes many forms and Margaret’s spreads far and wide, blanketing the Vermont Valley in the form of happy cows and an orange glow that shines as bright as a pumpkin.