Hastings Dairy…all out on the table

Farm family invites public to come and see how milk is made

Cow Greeting Little Kids on the Farm
Cow Greeting Little Kids on the Farm

For anyone who has a question about the origins of their food, Brenda Hastings is holding nothing back.

“I want people to see what we do on our farm, observe how our cows live, smell and touch what they eat, and learn how milk quality and technology has changed over the years. I want people to get to know our family so they feel comfortable asking questions,” she said.

To that end, her family has opened up its Geauga County dairy farm for people to explore their food and have a good time in the process.

While the family has added some accommodations for visitors, the destination is still every bit a working farm, milking 600 cows three times a day as well as raising their offspring and a variety of crops.

“People seem to be curious about farms and food production. In recent years, there has been lots of attention paid to animal agriculture in the form of movies, books, TV news coverage and social media,” Hastings said. “I think it’s great for people to visit a working farm so they can see for themselves and ask the farmer questions.”

Hasting Dairy Farm Tours
Hasting Dairy Farm Tours

The tours seem like a natural fit for Hastings, who has documented the ins and outs of her family’s daily work on her blog—The Dairy Mom. With photographs and personal accounts, she has celebrated farm life, explained day-to-day decisions and tackled a number of consumer questions.

It’s that type of openness that the Hastings attempt to live out in their community, priding themselves on being good neighbors.

“Making our farm available to tour groups is another way we connect with our community. Many of our visitors are from Geauga County or surrounding counties,” she said. “We’ve only lived in this area for eight years, but people have made us feel at home and we value being part of such a wonderful community.”

Brenda & Lad Hastings with sons Garrett (left) and Jack
Brenda & Lad Hastings with sons Garrett (left) and Jack

While the family is celebrating a community connection to agriculture, she notes her farm is just one example of a variety of approaches to putting food on the table.

“There is no one-size-fits-all,” she said. “Production methods vary from operation to operation and that’s OK. There are many ways to produce healthy and quality food.”

At the end of the day, she hopes people feel good about her family’s values about farming, the way they care for animals, the quality of the product they sell and their desire to provide opportunities for future generations. And, as Hastings said, “It’s lots of fun to visit a working farm.”

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Tour Information
Hastings Dairy Farm on Facebook

Originally printed in Our Ohio magazine, a publication of Ohio Farm Bureau. 
Story by Seth Teter | Photos by Hastings Dairy

Ty Kellogg
Author: Ty Kellogg

Ty Kellogg has been the Organization Director of the Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula and Trumbull County Farm Bureau for just shy of two years. His primary duties include management of the four-county Farm Bureau office, assisting volunteers with membership drives, programs that promote agriculture and engaging the public in agriculture and community policy development. Born, raised and living in Geauga County, Ty can also be seen playing music throughout northeast Ohio, running, hunting, fishing and helping his parents on their farm.