QUINCY, MI -- Preston Farms opened their gates and barns to the public on September 2 for an afternoon of educational displays and tours, enjoyable games and crafts, and free milk and ice cream. Over 150 volunteers made it possible to host 1,475 people, give away 800 pints of milk, and serve over 75 gallons of ice cream at the farm tour!
The Preston Farms in Quincy, MI has been at their current location for 75 years and continue to build on the legacy that was started then. Presently the farm is being run by the third and fourth generations of the family with the fifth being trained for the future. Glenn and Suzy Preston, along with his brother Keith and Paula, consist of the oldest generations working with their respective sons Adam and Crystal and Brian and Carrie. The spouses are an integral part of the operation and a strong support system.
The activities were spread throughout the farm, giving the visitors a sense of the dairy and the work that goes into a glass of milk. A welcome station invited everyone to come in and spend some time learning about the cows and the individual care that is given to them. An additional ten stops were available for the afternoon.
The milking parlor was open for a view of how the animals are truly relieved of their milk and the process behind it. A milk production booth promoted the obvious drink of choice for the day with a milking machine to explore.
The attendees were invited to stick their fingers into the udder attachments and feel the sensation that a cow does when she is being milked. A question and answer exhibit was also examined.
A display and explanation of silage was in the “Cow’s Kitchen” while the calving area was open to visit with and view the babies. Much of the side lawn was dedicated to the children who came to the farm. The county 4-H program offered handouts and inspiration to join. An option to make your own butter was an enjoyable experience for the guests and delicious as well. A crafting area with fun ideas including a hand print cow and face painting with cow, tractor, milk bucket, and corn as a few of the options was a stop on the walking tour. A small farm-style obstacle course was also popular with the children.
A hayride tour took interested families around the farm and into one of the long barns with areas for the cows to appreciate salt blocks and silage as well as comfortable sand bedding. The sand offers a more sanitary sleeping arrangement for the animals and is fairly easy to clean and re-use. The various recycling processes were explained by the tour guide as they were incorporated into the sustainability of the dairy.
While immediate family is an important part of the success of Preston Farms, the extended is very supportive of the mission for the day. Jukka Muurimäki from Helsinki, Finland was there for his second visit during the farm tour. He was an exchange student in 1970-71 when he was a senior at Quincy High School and resided at Stanley and Maxine Preston’s home, the second generation at the farm. Muurimäki visits about once a year and decided to help with the tour for 2017. He did win the most traveled honors though other family members came from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Las Vegas.
The farming community of Branch County, MI was there as well with some of them having helped out for many of the years the farm tour has been held. The Preston family expressed their deepest gratitude for all the volunteers and their assistance with event.