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Farm Discovery Day connects farmers to consumers

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - Updated: 9:56 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Saturday, Hu-Hill Farm, of Lighthall Road, hosted the first local Farm Discovery Day. The event, put on by Organic Valley as a way of connecting farmers to consumers, was just one of four held consecutively in the northeast, with the additional three taking place in Lansing, NY and Pennsylvania.

Organic Valley Pool Manager Dave Hardy, who also owns Hardy Family Farm about eight miles up the road from Hu-Hill Farm, works as a liaison between the farmer and Organic Valley co-op. He explained that Saturday's event connects the consumers to vendor farms.

"It's all about getting the consumer on the farm and meeting the farmers," he said.

Of the reason Hu-Hill Farm was chosen for the first of what will likely be an annual event, held at different locations each year, Hardy said, "it's a beautiful farm."

Hu-Hill Farm is primarily family owned and operated, with help from a couple part-time employees. Each day begins when the Hudyncia family awakens at 2:45 a.m., when they commence a full day of chores, which includes milking 55-60 of the farm's registered Holsteins -- of the 140-150 head currently on the property -- along with calf care and taking care of the farm's other animals, which include horses, a donkey, goats and a small herd of Texas Longhorns.

The Hudyncias also facilitate haymaking operations, preparing enough hay to feed the cows throughout the winter.

Milking is an extensive daily process that involves between two and two-and-a-half hours of work each morning, then again each evening. For a majority of the day and night, the cattle are at pasture during this time of year.

Saturday, numerous educational stations were set up throughout the property, including a butter making operation and a corn pit for kids to play in. Guests were invited to ride horses and take hay rides as well.

Of the Farm Discovery Day, Dairy Farmer and Property Owner Shirley Hudyncia said, "It's great. It's rewarding to connect people to what they consume. When they see Organic Valley, they can correlate it to people — to the actual farmer."

Organic Valley, a nationwide co-op with regionally produced products, aside from educating people and connecting them to the producers of their food, uses the opportunity to advertise their products, which includes milk, cheeses, spoonables (including cream and cottage cheese), and organic meats.

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