At ‘This Place in History’, we’re in Salisbury with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.
“We’re exploring generational farming here in Vermont; celebrating it, looking at its past and understanding where it’s going in the future. So we’re going to go talk to Chase Goodrich of the Goodrich Family Farm,” said Perkins.
“My great-great-grandfather Wilbur began farming in Salisbury just north up the road. My grandfather Donald Goodrich started this current milking operation here in 1956, out of the old tie stall. He started with 10 and then moved his way up to 30 cows and the farm has just grown since then as generations have returned home,” began Goodrich.
“Prior to your family starting in the dairy business in the 50s, they were farming in this area. What were they farming?” asked Perkins.
“I think with my grandfather Wilbur it was a lot of self-sustaining farming. And then my grandfather began as a milk inspector, inspecting all the local farms around here, and then eventually decided to get into the business himself,” answered Perkins.
“Everybody has their different reasons for why it’s important, I think. For myself, I love the land. I love working the land. I love the crops. I love taking care of the cows, but I’m really more drawn to the aspect of calling this home and being able to manage and take care of this little piece of heaven that I think is here,” explained Goodrich. “My sister loves cows. She loves animals and loves taking care of the animals. Farming nowadays is kind of this unique situation where you can have different aspects that bring people back home to the farm.”
“For the past eight years, we’ve been working with Middlebury College, Vermont Gas and Vanguard Renewable Energy towards building a digester at our farm. Cow power 2.0, but on the natural gas grid.”
“We would combine food waste with cow manure to pipe natural gas to Middlebury College as part of their efforts to be carbon-neutral. One of the cool parts we have is local businesses. If you think about the Exchange Street line, you have Agri-Mark, Vermont Coffee Company and the Otter Creek Brewery. The opportunity for local people to bring food waste in and get products made into gas and then be returned to the natural gas line to those customers,” explained Goodrich.
“So we’re super excited, we’re super encouraged. It’s been a very difficult process. I think eight years ago we kind of had this vision that this how we need to move our farm into the future as water quality becomes a bigger and bigger issue.”
“Becoming a more efficient farm, obviously with these low prices, it became more and more important. And this is kind of the next direction we see that for our future and farming and to raise our family. This is the direction we need to head and we need to go,” concluded Goodrich.
Keeping dairy farming in the family! At ‘This Place in History’!
For more from our ‘This Place in History’ series, click here.
To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historic markers, click here.
To reserve your tickets for a visit to a Vermont dairy farm this Summer, click here.