Preston Dairy offers annual sweet retreat over Labor Day weekend

Julia Baratta, Freelance Writer
Christian, 4, walks the “balance beam” with assistance from Krista and Sheree Dirschell. This activity was included in the haybale obstacle course.
Andrew, 7, and Ashlyn, 8, allow their thumbs to be “milked” with the pulsation machine. This stop was stationed after the tour of the milk house during the Preston Family Farm Tour.
The mother cow tends to one of her newborns during the Preston Family Farm Open House. The calf was one of a pair of twins.

QUINCY, MI -- As they have been doing for the last ten years, the Preston Family Farm invited the public to come and tour their dairy farm on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Over 1500 came and participated in the day long event. Among those who were there was a special group of individuals.

“We were so excited to work with ADAPT to bring some of their clients to the farm,” Organizer Paula Preston said. “We have always been handicap accessible but this time we worked out how they could tour the farm.”

Due to liability and safety issues, the clients weren’t able to ride on the hay wagons. The family worked out a plan for the handicapped attendees to go in their van with a tour guide riding along with them. All of the tours had a local dairy farmer who shared information about their experiences with cows along with highlights about Preston’s Dairy Farm. Numerous antique tractors pulled the wagon filled with hay bale seats throughout the event.

The farm was filled with activities for all ages. Stanley Preston, the family patriarch, was making his way around the farm and doing very well for a 97 year old. Golf cart rides were available for those who weren’t as able to get around, providing them with the opportunity to see all that was going on.

On the other end of the age spectrum, the children had an area just for them with a large corn bin, a “milk the cow” station, a craft table where they created a cow mask and turned fresh milk into butter, and face painting. A hay bale obstacle course included a tunnel and a balance beam. A popular stop was the pedal tractor area with hay bales to crash into after riding down an incline. Many colors of tractors were represented.

Another high point was meeting the new calves that were born just that morning. One of the cows gave birth to twins, adding to the excitement of the day. A veterinarian was stationed just outside of the calf barn where other cows would possibly be giving birth that day and she was available to answer questions from the attendees.

Obviously, everyone enjoyed the free ice cream and bottles of milk given away that day.

While it is a fun day for the family to go “out to the country,” the Preston family is also out to educate those who visit the farm, whether they were from Fort Wayne or next door. Over 150 volunteers assisted the family in meeting that goal. Farm Bureau members, community members and friends came out to support the Preston family in sharing the joys of dairy farming.