Blue Slope hosts Cabot Vermont

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Franklin - posted Tue., Oct. 18, 2011
Mini donkey Tabasco snacks on some hay during the Cabot's Cheese Farm Open House event at Blue Slope Farm on Oct. 16. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Mini donkey Tabasco snacks on some hay during the Cabot's Cheese Farm Open House event at Blue Slope Farm on Oct. 16. Photos by Melanie Savage.

It was all about Cabot cheese on Oct. 16, as Blue Slope Farm participated in Open Farm Sunday. A Cabot representative handed out samples of sharp cheddar cheese and answered questions for visitors to the farm.

Cabot is owned by Agri-Mark, which “markets 40 percent of all the milk in the New England market for the 1,500 dairy farmer owners of the cooperative who live throughout New England and New York,” according to dairyamerica.com. “Roughly 25 percent of this volume is marketed under the co-op's Cabot brand name, with the rest being sold to over 75 fluid bottlers and manufacturing customers throughout the eastern U.S.”

“The purpose of Open Farm Sunday is to let the public see where the milk that goes into Cabot cheeses is produced,” said Blue Slope co-owner Sandy Staebner. At Blue Slope, approximately 120 cows are currently milked. According to Craig Staebner, who hosted one of the wagon rides around a portion of the 585 acres managed by the Staebner family, the farm may not produce enough hay and corn to feed the cows and the other animals this year. “It’s going to be tight,” said Staebner.  The tropical storm that swept through the region in late August did significant damage to the farm’s corn crop.

“We didn’t lose too much hay,” said Staebner. But large areas of corn were bent and broken. Many plants had their leaves tattered, leaving them less productive for the remainder of the season. “I’d estimate that we lost about a third of the corn crop,” said Staebner. The corn that was successfully harvested took approximately 16 times longer to collect, due to adaptations required by bent and broken stalks. “We’re not totally done harvesting the corn yet,” said Staebner. “We’ll have to see. Weather is just a part of farming. You just have to deal with it.”

Among the attractions at Open Farm Sunday were Tabasco, Scarlet and Jasper, a trio of donkeys that live just down the road from Blue Slope. There was quite a size difference between Jasper and Tabasco, despite the fact that both are full-grown. Jasper, with ears measuring 18 inches long, is an American Mammoth Jackstock and Tabasco is a mini donkey.

For more information regarding Blue Slope Farm and Museum go to www.blueslope.com or call 860-642-6413. For more information about Cabot, visit cabotcheese.coop.


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