Farm to Table – Part Two

A Spring Morning on the Farm

The buzz of the alarm jars me out of a fitful sleep. Can it really be 3:30 AM again, I wonder as I wipe my eyes and slowly sit up. I gaze out of my bedroom window. My wife Julie is asleep beside me. She’ll be up around five to get Jack (12) and Alyssa (16) moving to make the bus. She’s the love of my life, and every morning when I wake up, I always know how lucky I am to have her in my life. She’s supported my dream of following in my family’s footsteps and running the Morrison Dairy Farm.

I take a quick shower and put on my favorite pair of Wranglers, a hooded sweatshirt, work boots, and my trusty Purdue ballcap. Despite spring nearly being here, there is still a chill in the air on this early morning.

I walk downstairs to the smell of percolating coffee. The automatic timer coffee maker Julie got me last Christmas has served me well. I add a bit of milk to my insulated coffee cup. Olaf, our beagle, snores fitfully in his dog bed just a few feet from the kitchen counter. He wakes up with Julie and the kids most days. In the summer, he’ll sometimes pop awake with me because the sun rises earlier.

My work boots crunch as I cross the driveway from the house to the office. Adam and Rose, our employees, are already gearing up to get the milking parlor moving for the 3:30 AM milking. A married couple, the two have worked for me for several years. Both from farm families, they also share my love of the land and dairy farming. They’re practically family.

After the first milking, the cows are ushered back to the barn for feed and rest. The whole process goes incredibly smoothly, thanks in large part to Adam and Rose. They’re both so capable and even run the dairy on the rare day I am away from the farm.

Julie, Alyssa, and Jack are awake by the time I return to the house for a coffee refill. I am always grateful to have a few minutes with them in the morning before the bus arrives. Alyssa and Jack are growing up so fast. I like to think that milk has helped them, at least a little.

On this day, Julie is going to meet Jack at school. It’s Agriculture Appreciation Month and Julie is going to talk to Jack’s Home Economics class about life on the Morrison farm.

She also has a surprise planned – one of our calves is going along for the ride!

Julie tells me later that Jack’s face lights up as his teacher introduces her to the class. The weather has warmed a bit since the morning, so the kids go outside on the school patio for class on this day. The kids take turns feeding the calf milk as Julie explains how the Morrison Dairy Farm works and how important calcium is to their diets. A standard 8-ounce glass of milk contains thirteen essential nutrients.

She talks about how our farm has created jobs in the community over the years. She explains to the class how agriculture creates not just the foods people eat, but the milk they drink and even the clothing on their backs.

She then finishes the presentation by handing out samples of chocolate milk. The kids are delighted and Julie tells me over dinner that night how proud Jack was of our farm.

Check back for Part Three, where our daughter Alyssa will tell you about how chocolate milk is her recovery drink of choice for running as she prepares to run the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis in May!