Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reflections About Opening Our Farm in 2011

This year we opened our farm to the public for group and school tours, birthday parties and ten Open Days. Since this was our first year, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. It ended up being a terrific experience with about 550 people visiting our dairy. With one year of agritourism under our belt, we’re already planning events, displays and activities that will enhance visitors experience next year!

One of our visitors makes a friend in the milking parlor
Duane Hastings, and his 1957 Farmall 450, take visitors on a hayride tour
The hayride was a highlight - Thanks to Duane Hastings and my Dad for driving!
Our 2012 event calendar is posted on the Hastings Dairy website. We have some new events next year such as Cow Tales Adventure & Storytime for children 5 years and under, Cow Camp for children 10 years and under and Dawgs at the Dairy which is a nighttime event where we’ll serve dinner. In addition to these new events, we have some themed open days throughout the season. 

The Junior Dairyman play area is lots of fun!
The dairy products display with the cows being milked in the background
The Dairy Facts display
Our family really enjoyed hosting visitors this year. It was a neat experience to share our farm with others. The visitors seemed to have fun getting up close and personal with our cows and calves and had lots of good questions. We’re located in northeast Ohio, so we had a variety of weather at our events; everything from hot to cold to wet to windy. But even on rainy and cold days, we had a few brave visitors. 

Garrett, Becky Emmons and Jack at the Admissions tent
Our original admissions tent was distroyed by a strong wind after the first open day, so it was replaced by an admissions table. . . .  

Jackie Profera, Joe Profera, Jack and Garrett play cards while waiting for visitors
The swing set was made by Taylor Emmons and Lad put it in the ground

My sons tested all the creations on our farm-themed playground
The original corn box was on the outdoor playground, but it was such a wet year, we had to replace the corn twice because it was getting soaked. So the cornbox was moved to the porch so it would stay dry.....

The cornbox and corn play area on the front porch
My dreams of opening our farm would not have been a reality without the help of many people. Lad’s parents, Duane & Pat Hastings, his brother, Lane, and sister-in-law, Diana, helped build the playground and on our open days. My parents, Tony & Carolyn Souza, Becky Emmons, Jackie Profera and Joe Profera all helped on our open days throughout June, September and October. A special thanks to Taylor Emmons for building a fun playground complete with a water trough slide, tire swings and bridges! My husband, Lad, and everyone who works at our dairy contributed to preparing our farm to host visitors. Thank you!

My Mom and Garrett handling the admissions area

My Dad talks to visitors about the freestall barn during the tour
Last week I received a nice surprise at the dairy. It was a box filled with toy tractors, a skid steer, wagons, and more! This generous gift came from Fred Shohayda owner of Cortland Tractor . He was recently at our dairy and Lad shared with him that we’re opening our farm to visitors. So he sent a box of beautiful new farm toys for children to play with in our indoor Junior Dairyman play area. What a wonderful display of support!

The boys of toys donated by Cortland Tractor
Thank you to all our visitors in 2011. We hope you had a great time and will come back again. We look forward to being open in 2012! 

See you next year!


  1. Congratulations on your first year! It will only get better and better with time!

  2. That is wonderful - I think it is great you are doing this and offering these programs!

  3. Looks like so much fun and what a great education for people who do not live on a farm! Sounds like it was a huge success!

  4. Thank you for the support! Established dairy tour veterans, Cows-N-Corn, have provided lots of inspiration. I'm grateful for that!

  5. Greetings I stumbled on your blog by mistake when i was searching Live search for this concern, I need to tell you your website is quite useful I also seriously like the design, it is great!

  6. As an agriculturist I salute you for your critical writing capability.

  7. Thanks for the comments! Glad you enjoyed reading my blog. I hope you'll return again or consider subscribing to receive my weekly blogs via email.

  8. Y'all have a beautiful farm! I've enjoyed reading your blog and appreciate the hard work that y'all do.

  9. I just wanted to let you know that I am a suburban gal but my husband was born and raised on a dairy farm. We've been married for 15 years but recently we took over the milking operation for his parents and I was/am a little overwhelmed at the amount of work. I don't want to dissappoint him so I secretly research information. I found your website while searching for newborn calf care and I just LOVE it! You have done an amazing job of educating people on the business. I am bookmarking this website and plan to visit it frequently. Keep up the good work. :)

  10. Your comment made my day! It's great what you and your husband are doing! Good luck with everything and thank you for reading my blog.


Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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