Scott and Martha Monroe run the Pleasantville Farm in Warren, Maine, and it’s a labor of love. They purchased the farm in 1999 and started with a small beef herd, chickens, and other farm animals. They then decided to keep a couple of milking cows on the farm, and they’ve been growing steadily ever since. They milked the cows by hand into a bucket, separated the cream, and churned butter every day. Around 2003, they increased to seven milkers and started shipping a small quantity of milk. They now have 28 milking cows and 28 young stock, and they hope to build up to 40 soon. Scott, Martha, and their two adult children all pitch in to make the farm work, and they all work other jobs as well.
While the farm is self sufficient and profitable, it’s not enough to meet family expenses. Scott is an oil burner technician and Martha runs a daycare center on the farm, often having as many as ten children in her charge. One boy has been with her for nine years, and he and the older kids love to help out in the barn, milk the cows in the afternoon, and enjoy the outdoors. Scott and Martha recently sold their home to their daughter Rachel and built a new one themselves next door. Rachel always helps out at hay time and lends a hand with daycare. Their son Michael lives nearby and helps maintain equipment, harvesting hay, and even takes charge of the children upon occasion. For the Monroe’s, the farm is a family affair and everybody does whatever needs doing to get the job done.
The Monroe’s consider their farm part of their community and open their barn to all comers. Parents love to drop their kids off with Martha because they know they are learning about the land, getting lessons about agriculture and animal care, and spending time outdoors. Friends and neighbors stop by all the time, and they bring their friends and relatives by to get a first-hand look at a dairy farm. School groups and scout troops are a frequent sight, and the Monroe’s will always stop what they’re doing to make sure the visit is special and memorable for the kids. Says Martha, “I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I have come to love the life. The work is relentless, but it’s the most joyful experience and fun work I could imagine.”