When I arrive at Sprout Creek Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley just outside of Poughkeepsie, it’s snowing for the first time this season. The grey sky blankets the farm’s rolling 200 acres with gentle white flurries. The last of fall’s vibrant foliage blazes from the trees. It’s gorgeous here.
Shepherd’s Way Farm, a farmstead sheep dairy and creamery, conjures images of the ancient pastoral seasonal rhythm that has guided our collective agrarian history. Flocks of animals are grazing, moving from pasture to pasture, gathering sustenance and producing milk that would nourish the community in coming seasons.
Nestled in the shadow of Mount Adams, about 20 miles north of the Columbia River, sits the tiny town of Trout Lake, WA, population 557. Here, Cascadia Creamery, is reviving a cheesemaking tradition that dates back 125 years.
No doubt about it, this is rural country. The White Salmon River runs, wild and scenic, next to the highway that takes you up nearly 2,000 feet into the high country.
For Andy Hatch, there is an image that sticks in his mind: Last spring, his wife, Caitlin, and their farming partner, Liana Mericka, cared for the nearly 200 calves born on Uplands’ farm in April and May, while simultaneously nurturing their own babies. Liana had her infant strapped on her back, while Caitlin’s toddler slept close-by.
It pulls together themes in Hatch’s life as a parent, husband, farmer, businessman and cheesemaker — such as dedication and renewal. There is an easy analogy to be made regarding the round-the-clock commitment needed in both endeavors: raising a child and running a dairy farm, he says.