Grass-fed

Localvore Baguette

This sweet and savory combination of local ingredients makes an excellent localvore lunch or dinner, whether you’re dining in or enjoying a late summer picnic. You’ll find many of the ingredients featured in the Weekly Sale from September 1st – 7th, including Champlain Valley Creamery’s Organic Champlain Triple Cream cheese, Red Hen Baguettes, and Champlain Orchard’s apples, so it’s a perfect time to give this one a try!

Spotlight on Larson Farm & Creamery

Larson Farm and Creamery is basking in the glow of the Co-op Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed, A2A2 dairy products are 20% for member-owners from July 21st – 27th! Read on to learn more about the history of this family farm and their deep commitment to ecological stewardship:

 

History

Rich and Cynthia Larson first began dairy farming in 1976 on a 300-acre farm they purchased just south of the small town of Wells, VT. They began as conventional farmers with a grain-fed milking herd that peaked at 150 cows. Due to a combination of factors including falling milk prices and shrinking profit margins, their conventional dairy folded in 1993. Armed with a passion for environmental stewardship and a desire to do things differently, Rich and Cynthia regrouped and relaunched their dairy farm in 2007. This time around, they opted for a smaller herd, invested in soil improvement, became USDA-certified Organic, 100% Grass-fed certified, and focused on producing high-quality raw milk. 

In true family-farm fashion, Rich and Cynthia have a lot of help from family members to keep the farm running smoothly. Their daughter Mercy manages the dairy herd. Cynthia and niece Kristin manage the horse retirement boarding and pony breeding program, and sister-in-law Lee is the creamery manager.

Mercy Larson prepares for milking the family’s Jersey herd

Ecological Stewardship

According to their website, “At Larson Farm, we share a vision of healthy communities, healthy people, and a sustainable food system built on good stewardship of our natural resources. The land, cattle, and dairy products are certified organic. The cattle are certified 100% grass-fed, and our dairy cows are 100% A2A2. Healthy soils mean healthy cattle who produce nutrient-rich foods free of artificial chemicals and pesticides. Our vision is to provide fresh nutritious dairy products to local and regional markets while being good stewards of the land and caring for our sweet Jersey dairy cows.”

The Larsons built their new organic dairy farm on the firm belief that all life depends on the health of the soil since healthy soils high in organic matter resist drought and produce plants with high levels of nutrition. And this is just what their grazing Jersey cows need to stay healthy and produce nutrient-dense milk. They also built their new venture upon the understanding that cows are ruminants that did not evolve to eat grain. At Larson Farm, the cows are on fresh pasture from May 1 through early November, at which time they are fed a diet of dry hay or fermented hay (silage). They always have access to fresh water, salt, a vitamin/mineral supplement, kelp, and clay. Their grain-free diet results in milk with a high level of CLAs and Omega-3 fatty acids, both beneficial to human nutrition.

Raising cows on pasture in a manner that builds deep rich soil, retains water, reduces erosion, and sequesters carbon is a critical part of the farming practice at Larson Farm and Creamery. According to Rich and Cynthia, “the cows are given access to a small area (a paddock) where they stay for 3-6 hours. The paddocks are sized to allow the cows to eat the top half of the grass and clover, which is the high-energy portion of the plant. They are then moved to a fresh paddock. What we are doing, on a very small scale, is to mimic what happened on our great plains when the American Bison herds roamed while eating, depositing their thank-you plops, and moving on to clean fresh grass. In so doing, the large herds did not degrade the soil but rather built rich soil high in organic matter.

A2A2 Milk

The Larson’s herd of Jersey dairy cows has been tested to be homozygous (having identical pairs of genes for any given pair of hereditary characteristics) for A2A2 beta-casein. A cow’s genetics determine what kinds of proteins are present in her milk. Humans, goats, and sheep all produce milk that only has A2 protein; cows, on the other hand, experienced a genetic mutation thousands of years ago that made some cows produce an A1 protein in their milk. Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health demonstrate that consumption of milk containing A1 proteins results in an increase in inflammation, gastrointestinal discomfort, and other signs of dairy intolerance in many individuals. These inflammatory markers and adverse gastrointestinal effects are no longer present when individuals consume milk containing A2A2 proteins, indicating that what many presume to be lactose intolerance might actually be the result of A1 protein in the milk. Additional studies have linked A1 milk protein to other health problems such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, autism, and other serious non-communicable diseases. Click here to learn more.

Rich Larson pauses to give one of the Jersey’s a chin rub

Direct from their farm stand, Larson Farm and Creamery offers raw milk, with all its rich enzymes and natural beneficial bacteria, plus grass-fed beef. They also produce a line of pasteurized products, including certified organic and grass-fed A2A2 yogurt, cream-top milk, gelato, and cultured butter, which you can find at their farm stand or here at the Co-op! 

 

Spotlight on Rogers Farmstead Creamery

We’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on an organic family farm nestled in the rolling hills of Berlin, VT known as Rogers Farmstead. From June 30th – July 6th, all Rogers Farmstead organic dairy products are 20% off for member-owners! Read on to learn more about this Real Organic farm and the family who churns out delicious dairy products for their community:

Nathan and Jessie Rogers met just over 20 years ago while both were working for IBM in Essex Junction, VT. Nate grew up on a dairy farm in Northern New York and had originally dreamed of a life in agriculture, but after observing the struggle that many dairy farmers were facing with declining milk prices and market oversaturation, he initially opted for a different path.  Jessie grew up in Cape Cod and had established a career in chemical engineering when she met Nate. The couple married and happened to move next door to a dairy farm in Fletcher, VT, rekindling Nate’s love for the dairy life and sending the couple on a new trajectory back toward the land. 

The Rogers Farmstead in Berlin, VT

In 2012, they were able to purchase a 133-acre farm in Berlin that was conserved by the Vermont Land Trust. It needed a lot of work, but Jessie and Nathan had the energy and determination needed to breathe new life into the derelict farm. They still weren’t certain that dairy farming was the right niche, so they first experimented with farming organic grains. They understood the critical role of grazing animals in holistic ecological land management, and they had an existing barn, so they decided to bring in a few Jersey cows.

The happy grass-fed Jersey herd at Rogers Farmstead

The Rogers soon found themselves with more milk than they needed and began dabbling in yogurt-making. In 2016, the bakers at Elmore Mountain Bread, who were buying most of the Rogers’ grains for their bakery, happened to introduce them to a mutual friend named Maurissa Mauro of Ploughgate Butter fame. Mauro had recently purchased Bragg Farm in nearby Fayston, VT, and had a creamery facility where the Rogers could experiment with producing their yogurt at a wholesale scale without the usual burden of needing to invest in infrastructure upfront. It gave Nate and Jessie the chance to hone their craft and establish markets for their dairy products.

7-Year-Old Elliot Rogers loves helping out on the family farm

Support for their dairy products was steadfast and strong, leading the Rogers’ to eventually expand their Jersey herd and construct their own creamery and farmstand on their farm in Berlin. They now produce organic cream-top milk; chocolate milk; whole milk yogurt in plain, maple, and vanilla; fresh mozzarella; and fresh cheese curds. Over the years, they’ve gradually phased out grain production on their farm to focus on maintaining pristine pasture and hayland for their grass-fed dairy herd. You can find their full range of products at their farmstand and, here at the Co-op, we’re proud to carry their milk and yogurt. 

Nathan Rogers pictured with some of the family’s grass-fed Jersey cows

Nate now works full-time on the farm, and Jessie pitches in as often as possible around an off-farm job with the Agrimark cooperative. The couple is often flanked by their two young sons, Tristan and Elliot, who are both eager to pitch in and help where they can. On a recent visit to their farm for photographs for this feature, we were enthusiastically greeted and toured around the farm by 7-year-old Elliot, who was excited to point out that he’d soon be adding a veggie garden plot of his own. It’s good to know that Rogers Farmstead is already working on its succession plan! 

Elliot Rogers enthusiastically greets customers at the family’s farm store in Berlin, VT

The Rogers Farmstead is supported by the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership (NOFFP) and is  Real Organic Certified, which is a third-party add-on label allowing small, organic, family-scale dairy farms to differentiate themselves in an ever-increasing landscape of industrial mega-dairies whose practices are no longer consistent with the original intentions of the organic program, despite their USDA organic labels. When you see a Real Organic label on a dairy product, you can be certain that you are supporting a small family farm whose cows are raised on pasture, with animal welfare and environmental stewardship at the forefront.

Elliot and Nathan, along with the family dog Peanut, all enjoy checking on the youngest cows in the family’s grass-fed herd.

The Real Organic Project is a grassroots farmer-led movement working towards certifying thousands of farms across the United States. Their label distinguishes soil-grown fruits and vegetables from hydroponically-raised produce, and

pasture-raised meat, milk, and eggs from products harvested from animals in horrific confinement (CAFOs – confined animal feeding operations). The folks at the Real Organic Project believe that the organic standards, with their focus on soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare were written as they should be, but that the current lack of enforcement of those standards is jeopardizing the ability for small farms who adhere to the law to stay in business. The lack of enforcement is also jeopardizing the overall health of the customers who support the organic movement; customers who are not getting what they pay for at market but still paying a premium price. And the lack of enforcement is jeopardizing the very cycles (water, air, nutrients) that Earth relies upon to provide us all with a place to live, by pushing extractive, chemical agriculture to the forefront.

We’re grateful to folks like the Rogers family, who are committed to pasture-based organic farming practices that offer solutions to the mounting challenges presented by a rapidly changing climate. 

 

 

Spotlight on North Hollow Farm

We’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on a family-owned farm nestled in the rolling hills of Rochester, VT known as North Hollow Farm! All of North Hollow Farm’s grass-fed beef and pork products are 20% off from June 23rd – 29th, so it’s a great time to stock up the freezer! Read on to learn more about this second-generation thousand-acre farm and its commitment to climate-friendly grazing practices:

Located in the heart of Vermont, on the skirts of the Green Mountain National Forest, North Hollow Farm delivers the finest in grass-fed beef, natural pork, chicken, and goat, and 100% pure Vermont maple syrup products. Owned and operated by second-generation farmers Julie Brown and Mike Bowen, the farm was first purchased by Mike’s father, Carroll Bowen in 1948. At that time, Carroll was able to purchase 200 acres for $2,000, which Mike quips wouldn’t even cover the taxes by today’s standards! Over the ensuing years, Mike and Julie were able to purchase adjacent farmland and also lease nearby land, bringing the total up to 1,000 acres of hayland and pasture.

In 2003, Mike and Julie made the decision to stop growing corn for silage, shifting to an all-grass model for the sake of soil health, bovine health, and human health. Their original herd in the 1970s consisted of Hereford purebred cattle, which they eventually crossed with Angus bulls, and added a Charolais bull a few years later. In 2005, after making the transition to a grass-fed and grass-finished model, they added several Red Devon bulls to their herd. This English heritage breed is well known for its exceptional grass-finishing qualities, thanks to genetics that predate the beef industry’s shift toward grain finishing.

 

Management Intensive Grazing (MIG), also known as “grass farming,” “rotational pasture management,” and “prescribed grazing” is an environmentally and economically viable system of forage-based animal production that builds soil organic carbon, promotes increased biodiversity, improves water retention, and facilitates carbon sequestration. In this flexible approach to rotational grazing, paddock size, stocking density, and length of grazing period are adjusted to balance forage supply with animal nutrient demand through the grazing season. Vermont’s landscape and topography are well suited to this type of pasture production. North Hollow Farm’s livestock is rotated from pasture to pasture and they self-harvest most of their own feed. The team at North Hollow Farm closely monitors the health of both the animals and the pasture plants to ensure that optimal feed conditions are met.

Here at the Co-op, we carry a wide range of North Hollow Farm’s grass-fed beef and pork products. Their cattle are raised without growth hormones, digestive stimulants, or antibiotics. Everything they eat is produced at the farm. Their sausage, ham, bacon, frankfurters, and kielbasa are made without the use of nitrates or fillers. If you find yourself cruising along route 100 through Rochester, be sure to stop at the North Hollow farmstand to browse their full range of products. And if you’re looking to order from the comfort of your own home, North Hollow Farm ships!

Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from January 27th – February 2nd. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over 46 years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sequestration, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty-six years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne) and a desire to live “happily ever after as a couple of back-to-the-landers.” By 1979, the couple was selling yogurt, cottage cheese, and raw milk locally to a growing fan base. Over the next several decades, Jack and Anne continued to blaze new trail as leaders in organic farming, laying a firm foundation for the robust local food system whose fruits we’re lucky to enjoy today.

Along the way, Jack managed to find time to teach classes in organic agriculture at the University of Vermont, give frequent inspirational keynote addresses at organic farming conferences, fervently advocate for the adoption of organic practices, particularly within the dairy sector, and write a book called “The Organic Grain Grower” which Mother Earth News dubbed “the best resource we’ve seen for small-scale grain growers everywhere.” Jack was known for being an avid perpetual student as he and Anne exhaustively researched ways to farm with environmental stewardship at the forefront. 

In 2010, Jack was diagnosed with prostate cancer and spent seven years on dialysis for cancer-related kidney failure. Over that period of time, Anne kept Jack and the farm running, serving as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire Butterworks team. After a long and courageous fight, Jack lost his battle with cancer in November of 2020. Jack and Anne’s daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks Farm and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products, and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Jack & Anne Lazor

Anne and Jack Lazor were awarded NOFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 and were the first organic farmers to be inducted into the Vermont Agriculture Hall of Fame. NOFA-VT was also proud to launch a soil health cohort program this year to honor the legacy and wisdom of Jack Lazor. This cohort will promote farmer-to-farmer education and relationship building in an effort to address both short-term mitigation strategies around soil health as well as long-term systems change. This cohort will prioritize farmers who are, or wish to become great educators and will continue to share what they learn with other farmers through mentorship or by hosting workshops in the future. In this way, the funds will continue to pay it forward and honor Jack’s legacy for years to come. Several Addison County farmers including Chad & Morgan Beckwith of Ice House Farm were honored as part of the inaugural class of soil stewards. To see the full list, click here.

 

The lucky cows of Butterworks Farm are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. Jerseys were chosen for their ability to produce exceptional milk on a 100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are always available to the cows in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals’ bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  

 

Jack shared in a Butterwork’s Farm blog post that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils. Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.”

Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from July 1st – July 7th. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over 46 years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sequestration, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty-six years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne) and a desire to live “happily ever after as a couple of back-to-the-landers.” By 1979, the couple was selling yogurt, cottage cheese, and raw milk locally to a growing fan base. Over the next several decades, Jack and Anne continued to blaze new trail as leaders in organic farming, laying a firm foundation for the robust local food system whose fruits we’re lucky to enjoy today.

Along the way, Jack managed to find time to teach classes in organic agriculture at the University of Vermont, give frequent inspirational keynote addresses at organic farming conferences, fervently advocate for the adoption of organic practices, particularly within the dairy sector, and write a book called “The Organic Grain Grower” which Mother Earth News dubbed “the best resource we’ve seen for small-scale grain growers everywhere.” Jack was known for being an avid perpetual student as he and Anne exhaustively researched ways to farm with environmental stewardship at the forefront. 

In 2010, Jack was diagnosed with prostate cancer and spent seven years on dialysis for cancer-related kidney failure. Over that period of time, Anne kept Jack and the farm running, serving as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire Butterworks team. After a long and courageous fight, Jack lost his battle with cancer in November of 2020. Jack and Anne’s daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks Farm and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products, and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Jack & Anne Lazor

Anne and Jack Lazor were awarded NOFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 and were the first organic farmers to be inducted into the Vermont Agriculture Hall of Fame. NOFA-VT was also proud to launch a soil health cohort program this year to honor the legacy and wisdom of Jack Lazor. This cohort will promote farmer-to-farmer education and relationship building in an effort to address both short-term mitigation strategies around soil health as well as long-term systems change. This cohort will prioritize farmers who are, or wish to become great educators and will continue to share what they learn with other farmers through mentorship or by hosting workshops in the future. In this way, the funds will continue to pay it forward and honor Jack’s legacy for years to come. Several Addison County farmers including Chad & Morgan Beckwith of Ice House Farm were honored as part of the inaugural class of soil stewards. To see the full list, click here.

 

The lucky cows of Butterworks Farm are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. Jerseys were chosen for their ability to produce exceptional milk on a 100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are always available to the cows in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals’ bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  

 

Jack shared in a Butterwork’s Farm blog post that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils. Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.”

Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from July 1st – July 7th. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over 46 years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sequestration, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty-six years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne) and a desire to live “happily ever after as a couple of back-to-the-landers.” By 1979, the couple was selling yogurt, cottage cheese, and raw milk locally to a growing fan base. Over the next several decades, Jack and Anne continued to blaze new trail as leaders in organic farming, laying a firm foundation for the robust local food system whose fruits we’re lucky to enjoy today.

Along the way, Jack managed to find time to teach classes in organic agriculture at the University of Vermont, give frequent inspirational keynote addresses at organic farming conferences, fervently advocate for the adoption of organic practices, particularly within the dairy sector, and write a book called “The Organic Grain Grower” which Mother Earth News dubbed “the best resource we’ve seen for small-scale grain growers everywhere.” Jack was known for being an avid perpetual student as he and Anne exhaustively researched ways to farm with environmental stewardship at the forefront. 

In 2010, Jack was diagnosed with prostate cancer and spent seven years on dialysis for cancer-related kidney failure. Over that period of time, Anne kept Jack and the farm running, serving as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire Butterworks team. After a long and courageous fight, Jack lost his battle with cancer in November of 2020. Jack and Anne’s daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks Farm and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products, and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Jack & Anne Lazor

Anne and Jack Lazor were awarded NOFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 and were the first organic farmers to be inducted into the Vermont Agriculture Hall of Fame. NOFA-VT was also proud to launch a soil health cohort program this year to honor the legacy and wisdom of Jack Lazor. This cohort will promote farmer-to-farmer education and relationship building in an effort to address both short-term mitigation strategies around soil health as well as long-term systems change. This cohort will prioritize farmers who are, or wish to become great educators and will continue to share what they learn with other farmers through mentorship or by hosting workshops in the future. In this way, the funds will continue to pay it forward and honor Jack’s legacy for years to come. Several Addison County farmers including Chad & Morgan Beckwith of Ice House Farm were honored as part of the inaugural class of soil stewards. To see the full list, click here.

 

The lucky cows of Butterworks Farm are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. Jerseys were chosen for their ability to produce exceptional milk on a 100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are always available to the cows in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals’ bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  

 

Jack shared in a Butterwork’s Farm blog post that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils. Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.”

Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from March 26th – April 1st. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over forty–six years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sinking, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne). As long-time sustainable farmers and leaders in organic farming, they continue to play an important role in the dynamics and operations at Butterworks and beyond. Jack is a writer and frequent inspirational keynote speaker at organic farming conferences everywhere. He enjoys food, friends and pursuing his passions- sustainability and soil science. Anne keeps Jack and the farm running as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire team. She enjoys gardening, keeping chickens and ducks, the study of homeopathic medicine and upholds the homesteading spirit she and Jack started with 40 years ago. Their daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Their cows are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. They choose Jerseys for their ability to produce milk on a  100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are available to the cows always in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  

 

Jack Lazor shared on the Butterwork’s Farm blog that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils.

“Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.  We are excited to be trying something challenging and new.  Our farming practices were already focused on mineralization and soil health which has built a vibrant farm organism.  Our switch to 100% grass-fed dairying is taking us to new levels.  It is incredibly hard work, but so much fun and what we are learning we want to share with others in the process.”