Blue Spruce Farm, Eugene and Marie Audet
Business People-Vermont: Blue Spruce Farm, Eugene and Marie Audet
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The first farm in the CVPS
Cow Power program, at Blue Spruce Farm owned by Eugene and Marie Audet
, has always operated with sustainability in mind
At Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, Eugene and Marie Audet
continue a family tradition started in 1958 when Eugene's parents, Norman and Mary-Rose Audet, bought a few acres and began milking 35 cows.
Eugene's wife, Marie, who grew up speaking French on the Lussier family farm in Middlebury, is the bookkeeper and spokesperson for the farm.
"We have a noble job," she
says, "feeding people with a product that has nine essential minerals and vitamins.
Blue Spruce milk goes directly to the Cabot Cheese factory in Middlebury
Six years ago, neither Marie nor anyone else on the farm would have taken the time to talk to reporters.
But with entry into the Cow Power program, they concluded that they had an obligation to educate the public.
"It's our nature as dairy farmers to think sustainably, to recycle, to care for the environment," Marie
conducts tours to show people how their food is "produced in a way that is good for the planet and the animals.
In the last few years, she
has shown the farm to some 8,000 people, including Chinese teenagers, Japanese feed salesmen, Hawaiian tourists, environmental journalists, and schoolchildren.
"We were completely unprepared for the unprecedented interest generated by being a pioneer Cow Power
Blue Spruce has been covered on CBS Evening News
, German and U.S. public radio, USA Today
, and The Boston Globe
, and it will soon be featured in a Discovery Channel documentary to be aired around the world.
"We didn't set out to be celebrity farmers," Marie
says, "but we do have an important message, and most of the population is too far removed from the food they eat."
"Because we just can't stand to throw anything away," Marie
says, "the used oil from the generator runs a waste oil furnace that heats our equipment repair shop.
"We're always trying to close the loop," says Marie
The next generation is already coming aboard.
Eugene and Marie's son, Nathan, 27, takes over the herd work when his
parents take a rare vacation.
Earl's son Tyler, 21, is a mechanic on the farm, and his
younger brother, Troy, is studying animal husbandry in college.
Bailey Deforge, 16, interned with her aunt Marie
in the office this past summer.
"No, we never thought of going out of business," Marie Audet
"It's not in our blood.