The Wheeler Farm is in the beautiful Deerfield Valley in the Southern Vermont town of Wilmington. Three generations of the Wheeler family have worked the farm, which consists of 100 acres that can support crops and 50 acres of pasture for the cows. The Wheeler family – Henry, Carrie, John, Liz, Rob and Karen – milk 60 cows and raise 50 young dairy calves on the farm. The cows are housed in a tie stall barn where they are milked and fed in their stalls. Cows are outside on pasture during the summer months; in the winter, they spend their time in their stalls, protected from the weather. The one additional animal on the farm is their border collie, Rex, who is a constant companion and works on the farm to herd the cows to and from pasture.
The Wheeler family produces maple syrup on the farm, as well as milk. A typical day for the Wheeler family begins around 4 a.m. with milking the cows, feeding the animals, and cleaning the barn. By 7:00 a.m. the milking and barn chores are finished and the Wheelers are on to the rest of the day’s work. Depending on the season, that can mean maple sugaring, planting or harvesting crops. The Wheelers also plow about 30 driveways in their local area during the winter. Milking begins again in the afternoon, and the barn chores are done by around 5 p.m. The day continues if there is more work to do for sugaring, planting or harvesting crops or plowing driveways.
Even with their busy days, the Wheeler family is involved in their community. Henry is a long-time fence viewer – a town officer in Vermont who assists with determining boundaries between properties, or fence lines. John and Liz are very active in the local fair in the summertime, organizing and volunteering their time. Rob was a Selectman for the town for six years. The Wheelers also allow community members to hunt and fish on their land as long as people ask for permission and do not drive onto the fields.
Learn even more about Wheeler Farm by visiting Cabot Creamery Cooperative.