When was your farm established and by whom?
Although the property had been farmed for many years beforehand, it was purchased by Jack Appel in 1967. Two sons, Rich and John, hence Appel Brother’s Dairy, purchased it from him around 1989.
What generation are you on the farm?
We are 2nd generation on the farm.
What is your favorite aspect of dairy farming?
Haha! I asked my husband and he replied, regulations, lawsuits. Sarcasm anyone? 😉 Seriously though, working with our family. We are fortunate enough to have all 4 of our children working for us in one capacity or another. Our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, helps manage the Cheese Shop and café while our other daughter works in the cheese plant, making cheese. We also have two sons who work for us on the farm as well. This was also a favorite aspect as our kids were growing up. We homeschooled all of our kids so they were able to spend lots of time with their Dad outside on the farm which also gave me much-needed breaks. Rich, my husband, their Dad, may have worked crazy hours, 7 days a week but I was able to see him every morning when he came in for breakfast and again at noon when he came in for lunch. We ate all meals together until the kids starting getting busy with sports and such. As we grew in size, we were able to add workers which made it possible to take time off not only for vacation but also during the day so we were able to go to all our kids sporting events, dance, theatre etc. Our kids have awesome memories of being able to wander and explore “down below”. We have farms on either side of us so their ability to roam was huge! Nothing better than being able to have your family around you!
What is one memory you have of farm life that you will never forget?
Rich remembers well, as does anyone else who was around at the time, his Dad singing hymns while he milked the cows. He had a beautiful tenor voice that could be heard all the way across the yard. 🙂
What do you think might be the biggest threat to handing the farm over to the next generation?
When Rich and his brother, John took over the farm, it was fairly simple and small. Out of necessity the farm has grown over the years, it has become more complex. It is definitely harder to stay on top of everything now. With the combination of the farm and the cheese, it’s going to take a whole team to make it work. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a threat but it certainly is a complication, being big enough to survive but not too big for the number of people in the next generation who might want to take it over.
If you could tell consumers one thing about dairy farming, what would it be?
We care about the animals, we care about the land. It’s more than just a job, it’s a way of life.