Category Archives: Life

Stonyfield Farm Tour

Green Wind Farm Pasture happyfitmama.com

It’s been a few days since I returned from Vermont and the Stonyfield Farm Tour. I’m still trying to find the right words to describe how amazing the weekend was. It made me appreciate farmers so much more. And it made me love Stonyfield even more – which I didn’t think was evenly remotely possible.

Rather than gush about my love, it’s better if I dive right into what we did. Grab some coffee and a snack (perhaps a cup of yogurt?), this is going to be a long one!

Friday morning, I met Jessica outside of Concord to caravan to Stowe, Vermont. It was a quick ride but we both wanted to shake our legs out a bit after sitting in the car for 3 hours (or more for Jessica). Our hotel, the Stoweflake, was conveniently located on the rec path that goes all through town. FYI – the beds are awesome at the hotel!

SToweflake Mountain Resort and Spa happyfitmama.com

I’m so not used to mid-day runs. It was HOT. If I had not been hangry, I would have happily sat in the river for a bit to cool off.

Running in Stowe, Vermont | happyfitmama.com

After eating and showering, it was time to meet the rest of the farm tour crew. In addition to Mairead and Liza from Stonyfield, the farm tour crew included 13 awesome food, family, travel and healthy living bloggers from all around the country.

Kimball Farm

Our first stop was for a Community Farm Dinner at Kimball Brook Farm. Cheryl and her family hold summer supper parties that feature farm fresh food, live music and family fun.

Farm Dinner happyfitmama.com

If you’ve ever been to a church picnic, it totally reminded me of that (except there was no church part). Down home fun with good food and good music. It immediately made me want to find something similar back home. Everything was made to order and fresh from the gardens. I couldn’t stop raving about the tomatoes. Garden tomatoes are one of the best things about summer!

After dinner, we walked around the barns to catch a glimpse of some of the cows heading out to the pasture after being milked.

Out to pasture. Kimball Farm | happyfitmama.com

On the ride back to the hotel, of course we had to stop at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory for ice cream. I was too busy inhaling my Salted Caramel Blondie to take a pic. #priorities

Early the next morning, we hoped back on the bus and headed way north (almost to Canada) for the first farm – Green Wind Farm. It was the quintessential Vermont farm. For the girls who had never been to New England, it was pure eye candy. High up on a hill, Vermont greenery was everywhere the eye could see.

Stonyfield Farm Tour | happyfitmama.com

Ann, Joanna, Jessica, Lynda, Sarah, Erin, Ashley, Michelle, Calley, Diana, Leah, me, Nicky.

Britt and Kyle – two of Stonyfield’s farm experts – also joined us to give us the run down of everything organic and farming related.

Our first stop was in the barn to see the newest member of the herd. An adorable 2 day old calf that wasn’t too sure what to make of all the crazy bloggers taking pictures of her.

Green Wind Farm happyfitmama.com

Green Wind Farm is in transitional stage from conventional to organic farming with the help of Stonyfield. The plan is also for Julie to transition the farm over to her son and his family.

For the farmer’s who provide milk for Stonyfield, they have access 24 hours a day to resources and education. Stonyfield isn’t just buying their milk, they are continuing to educate and support their farmers. This is not the normal thing that most companies do. It’s Stonyfield’s way of ensuring their providers are following the high standards of being a USDA certified organic farm.

For a dairy farm to become USDA certified organic, the farm has to transition for a full year. Other requirements include the cows have to be at pasture for 120 days of the year. When it gets too cold, or there is snow on the ground, the cows eat alfalfa & hay (pasture that has been cut and stored). They also get an organic barley, oats, and grain blend. No pesticides or GMO’s are ever allowed!

Green Wind Farm Cows happyfitmama.com

Julie has 25 cows in her herd. It was awesome to see the special relationship with her cows. They are more like her children than anything. She knew every cow by name, it’s personality and how old each cow was. With a smaller farm, the farmer really knows his cows. It was also pretty amazing to be in the pasture with the cows and have them come up to us looking for attention just like a dog. A MUCH larger version of a dog.
Farm style breakfast at Green Wind Farm happyfitmama.com

After our tour, we were then treated to a very, very special treat. Julie’s daughter, daughter-in-law and son made us breakfast! The spread was unbelievable.

Blueberry Pancakes Farm Style happyfitmama.com

Everything was homemade – Blueberry pancakes, French toast, fresh blueberries, applesauce, yogurt (Stonyfield and their own homemade version), Tempeh and an egg scramble with fresh from the garden Swiss chard.

Homemade breakfast from Green Wind Farm happyfitmama.com
My first plate before the blueberry pancakes were ready. :)

Everything was sooooo good! So gracious. I couldn’t thank them enough for their generosity. I could have spent all day at Green Wind.

FYI – Julie’s son, Seth, has an awesome business, Pumpkin Village Foods,  that sells the farm’s maple syrup and other Vermont goods to select Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan businesses. Check it out!

Our next stop was for more food!

Positive Pie happyfitmama.com

When we arrived at Positive Pie, we were greeted by one of the founders of Stonyfield and current chairman of Just Label It, Gary Hirshberg.

The pie was awesome but hearing Gary talk about GMO-labeling and organic, inspired me. It’s clear he has a deep passion for the cause. As parents, consumers and bloggers, it is our duty to vote with our money. That’s how we are going to get companies to change their products. Buying organic shows the food industry that you care about how your food is grown and made. Every organic purchase is a vote with your dollars and can influence the choices businesses make.

Gary Hirshberg at lunch happyfitmama.com

Yes, buying organic is expensive. I wish I could afford to buy everything organic but it’s not in our family budget. Instead, I buy organic dairy (always) and try to stick with the fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list. I also try to buy organic or grass fed meat as much as possible. The point is – do what you can, buy organic what you can afford.

Every dollar makes a difference in the fight against the big corporations that could care less about what your family is eating.

We said good bye to Gary and headed to our last farm – Churchill Farm in Cabot, Vt.

Churchill Farm | happyfitmama.com

The Churchill Family – Jen, Morgan and their adorable kids, Sam and Nora – operate a larger farm that is embracing new technology. They use a robot to milk their cows!

I learned that cows want to be milked. It makes sense. If you’ve breast fed your kids, you know what I mean. At Churchill Farm, it was so cool to see the cows line up to get into the milking room. One by one, the cows enter into the milking room where they get a snack and the robot goes to work. It washes the udders and lines up the pumps to match it perfectly up to the udders. It takes minutes for each cow to be milked. Pretty cool stuff!

Robot Milker happyfitmama.com

With the new technology, it frees up some time but working a dairy farm isn’t a 9-5 job. Most days run from 4 a.m. – 9 p.m. There’s always something to do.

Cow Licks | happyfitmama.com

The one thing I loved hearing from Morgan was that their cows were healthier and happier now that they were organic. And they produce more milk. The cows don’t get sick as often as conventional cows. Cows are like humans in that if you eat a poor diet, don’t get enough sleep and exercise – you get sick.

Churchill Farm happyfitmama.com

When you ask farmers why they converted to organic they all told us it was for the money initially.  Organic dairy is sold at a much more consistent higher price – usually double or more – than conventional dairy.  But after seeing how well the cows did on organic, they knew it was the best thing for them and their families.

We said good bye to the Churchill’s and had a very interesting ride back to the Stoweflake. Let’s just say most buses aren’t meant to be on Class 4 back roads. Unless you have an awesome bus driver named Richard. :)

Sunset Vermont happyfitmama.com

After some down time, it was time for a farewell dinner at Michael’s on the Hill. The food was amazing. I’m no food blogger but damn – that was some of the best food I’ve ever had. If you are ever in Waterbury, you must go there. I want to go back asap!

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarte | happyfitmama.com

And could someone recreate this Strawberry Rhubarb Pistachio Crisp with Grand Marnier Ice Cream recipe for me? To. die. for.

Can you see why my heart, belly and head are full right now?

I’ve learned so much and have a yearning to learn much, much more. I owe a HUGE thank you to Stonyfield for giving me the opportunity to join the tour. I met some fantastic ladies and have new blogs to follow. And most importantly, I learned that small operation farming is still a possibility. I’m so thankful to those who farm. It’s not a glamorous job but it’s a job that needs to be done.

If you ate today, thank a farmer.

I was chosen to participate in the Stonyfield Farm Tour as a Stonyfield YoGetter. My travel and lodging were compensated. All opinions in this post are my own.

Have you ever toured a farm before?

Jersey or Holstein Cow – Which is cuter? I have to say I’m a Jersey fan.

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My First SUP Yoga Class

Take your yoga practice to a new level with SUP Yoga. | happyfitmama.com

Be like water. Go with the flow.

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I was in a yoga rut?

Well, I think I found my way out of it.

This past weekend I took my yoga practice out of the studio and into nature.

It was the best thing ever.

On Friday I decided to spontaneously sign up for a Sunset Yoga Hike through Bending Bodhi Yoga. It was a wicked hot and humid day but the evening was promising for a gorgeous sunset. What better way to kick off the weekend with a little hike and short yoga session looking over this beautiful world we live in?

Sunset Yoga Hike | happyfitmama.com

I want to end every day doing that!

On Sunday I attended my first SUP yoga class.

Not to spoil it but I’m kind of obsessed and want to do it every.single.day.

Being on a SUP wasn’t anything new to me. I’ve gone a few times before and have absolutely loved it. Ever since Hawaii Ron and I both have wanted to get boards. And Ron won’t let me forget that he did headstand on his board. Show off.

SUP headstand | happyfitmama.com

We had grand visions of our kids riding on the front of the boards just like all the kids do in Hawaii. Of course our kids would do that, right? But then we got home and realized that it sounded like a much better idea in our heads than in real life. Although now the idea is back in my head!

I signed up for the class through Bending Bodhi Yoga. They contracted Jana from SUP YO to do the class. Btw – what an awesome name for a company, right?

We started off with Jana giving us the details of how to get on the paddle board and how to use the paddle. We then paddled out into the harbor and after being told how to drop our anchors, set up a pod together before starting our yoga practice.

FYI – All photos from the practice are courtesy of SUP YO. SUP Yoga Balance | happyfitmama.com

Jana led about 65 minute yoga flow. We did up dog, down dog, warrior I and II, reverse warrior, sun salutations, bridge and other basic poses.

SUP Yoga Low Lunge | happyfitmama.com

The practice was slow and gentle because HELLO we are also trying to balance on the board. I was shocked to find that side plank was the hardest pose to hold. It was the only real time that I felt a sense of feeling like “OH NO I’M GOING IN!” Keeping one knee on the board was all I could muster. And there was no way I was getting my knee off the board!

SUP Yoga Reverse Plank | happyfitmama.com

I attempted crow and succeeded in getting my toes up for 2.2 seconds before face planting on the board. A few of the girls popped out headstand, which was so cool. I got one leg up and was too chicken to even try to put the other one up!

SUP Yoga Crow Pose | happyfitmama.com

So did I fall in? Surprisingly, no. A couple of the girls did and were able to pop back up on the board with no problems.

SUP Yoga Shoulder Stand | happyfitmama.com

I love yoga and how it makes me feel. But practicing yoga on a board in the ocean (or water in general) is simply marvelous.

The sound of lapping water and the gentle rocking motion of the waves. The warmth of the sun warming your skin. The gentle breeze cooling you off. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

SUP Yoga Wheel Pose | happyfitmama.com

We finished class and I could not stop smiling from ear to ear afterwards. I wanted to spend the whole day on the board enjoying the calmness of it all. I came home and promptly told Ron that I need a SUP board of my own. I see a whole lot of SUP Yoga in my future for the rest of the summer.

Fresh air and vitamin sea always does a body good. And it does wonders for a yoga practice too!

Have you done SUP Yoga?

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My Favorite Instagrammers

Find inspiration in running, yoga, fitness and food with My 10 Favorite Instagrammers. happyfitmama.com

It’s no secret that my fav form of social media is Instagram. Pretty pictures. Inspiring people. Yummy food. Cute animals. It’s got it all!

The majority of Instagrammers that I follow are runners. But I also like to mix it up with yogi’s, foodies, Cross Fit enthusiasts, animal lovers and anything else that strikes my fancy.

If you are looking for running, yoga or food inspiration this is for you. Just right click on the pic to take you to these fabulous Instagrammers accounts and follow away!

MtnRunr
Maybe because I’ve found a love for trails and wish I could run on them more, but trail and ultra runners have taken over my Insta feed. The beauty of mountains, lakes, dirt…it’s all I want to see!

Beautiful sunrise doing altitude training…🌄 #catherinespass #100miletraining #trailrunning #alta

A photo posted by Valorie (@mtnrunr) on

Crazy Mother Runners
Maybe because I want to be BFF’s with all of these ladies. I need to find my own pack of crazy mother runners to have a picnic with on a rock.

CYU888
I love Christine’s writing but her pics – Amazingly beautiful. She inspires me to post better yoga pics. And her latest trip to Banff – my need to go back there has grown!

SisuGirls
Grit. Determination. That’s what the Finnish word, sisu, roughly translates to. Where I grew up in Michigan, there is a strong presence of Finnish descendants. In fact, Ron is Finnish, too. When I found this Insta account, I immediately loved it. The world needs more Sisu Girls!

Runners Love Yoga
Ann does monthly yoga Insta challenges that specifically target runners. Not only is she a serious competitive runner, she’s got her Ph.D in English.

Stop, drop, and yoga #postrun. (For real! You'll feel a little better!) #RunnersLoveYoga #doyogarunfaster

A photo posted by Ann M. (@runnersloveyoga) on

TallensJourney
I’m no triathlete but I love following Tonya’s Insta. Bright, colorful and just plain fun!

FitFoodieFinds
A little fitness and a whole lot of yummy, better for you food. I’d like to face plant in all of Lee’s food pics.

If I could just eat this the rest of my life…Banana Soft Serve + Protein PB Cups = <3 #comingsoon

A photo posted by Lee Hersh (@fitfoodiefinds) on

larisa_elaine
This former NH Runner headed west and really makes me want to do the same thing. Her trail pics are amazing. And she’s a pretty rad runner too.

Let yourself by silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.

A photo posted by Larisa Elaine Dannis (@larisa_elaine) on

Shannon Dempsey
You can always count on Shannon to be #runmatchy for every run. I mean, how cute is that outfit?!?!

Round The World Girl

Beautiful travel pictures that make me want to go everywhere in this big wide world.

Breakfast in bed. Fueled by @powerbar #powerbar #proteinshake #sp

A photo posted by Elise 🚁 (@roundtheworldgirl) on

And don’t forget to follow me! :)

Btw – High 5 to Amanda (an awesome Instagrammer herself!) for reminding me that I had never posted anything about my favorite Instagrammers before. Thanks girl!

Who are your favorite Instagrammers?

Leave your Instagram handle in the comments so we can follow you!

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