“When we take care of the earth, it takes care of us.”
~ Jack Lazor, Butterworks Farm, Vermont's Original Organic Dairy
Jack and Anne Lazor, godparents of the organic dairy movement and stewards of the soil since 1979, now work alongside daughter Christine and son-in-law Collin, and granddaughters Ginny and Ursula, at Butterworks Farm, Vermont’s Original Organic Dairy.
Since their start as 20-something back to the landers, Anne and Jack have dedicated their lives to Butterworks Farm, and they’re still looking to learn and try new things and push the envelope for what is possible for organic agriculture in the northern Vermont climate. “You don’t have to stop innovating just because you’re old,” says Jack.
The farm’s latest innovation is a high pressure wood fired steam boiler, which heats milk, sterilizes equipment and warms buildings from abundant local wood. Not only is it self-sufficient, the wood fired boiler is also a nod to the roots of their business, as homesteaders preparing yogurts and cottage cheese on a wood cookstove, which they then delivered door to door.
Committed to self-sufficiency, seed-independence and to giving more than they take from the soil, Butterworks Farm also grows its own grain and feed for the cattle, and produces organic dry beans, oats, spelt, cornmeal and open pollinated corn, and sunflower oil, for human consumption. Their soy beans are turned into soy milk and artisan tofu over at Vermont Soy.
Says Jack, “We’ve cultivated a relationship with the earth, and its given back to us. I believe you have to have that generosity. You can’t just take, take, take, only thinking about profitability in the short term.”
They regard Newport. Fresh by Nature, as a step in the right direction for cultivating a local food network. “In the recent past, 60% of our products went to a big warehouse out of state for Whole Foods in Boston and NY. And 40% stayed in state. In the past three or four years, it’s gone the other way. And I’d like to have it be 100% staying here in Vermont. And things are headed in the right direction.”