For the Barstows, farming is more than just a way of life – it’s their past, their future, their heritage, and their legacy.
For the last 213 years, the Barstows have been farming on their land in Hadley, MA. Now run by the sixth and seventh generations of farmers (with the eighth already playing on the farm), the Barstows are committed to caring for their community, land, animals, and the planet.
The Barstow family begins each day bright and early at 5:30. Thanks to the robotic milkers they installed in 2014, the cows are already being milked on their own schedule. Denise Barstow, part of the seventh generation acknowledges that “it’s a big task, but it’s important! Happy, health cows produce high quality milk, and more of it!”
Through the centuries, the farm’s motto has been “Looking Forward Since 1806,” a phrase that the family keeps in mind as they continue to innovate on the farm. In 2008, they opened their Dairy Store and Bakery to diversify their business and open their doors to the community. The shop features homemade baked goods, prepared foods for purchase, and a delicious locally sourced lunch that you can enjoy while you’re there.
In 2013, they installed anaerobic digester that captures the methane from cow manure and turns it into an energy source. The system provides a number of benefits to the farm and their community: renewable electricity to 1,600 local homes, heats the family farmhouses, diverts food waste from landfills, reduces farm odor, improves their soil health and crop yields, and reduces their carbon hoof-print by 85%.
Denise shares, “I love that what we do is so connected to the planet. We rely on soil health, animal-wellbeing, and often, the weather for our success. We do the best we can to take care of our resources, treading lightly and always learning.” She adds that, “we love more than just the way of life – the misty mornings, the cows grazing on pasture, the freshest food – this farm is our past and our future, our heritage and our legacy.”