Gosliga Farm is a multi-generational farm located in west-central Vermont along Lake Champlain. The Gosliga family cares for over 1,500 cattle and cares for nearly 2,000 acres of fertile land in the Dead Creek watershed using climate-friendly cropping practices. They are member-owners of the Dairy Famers of America dairy cooperative.
The Gosliga family was ready to host the event in 2020 until plans were put on hold due to the pandemic. Gerrit Gosliga says they’re happy to give people the opportunity to relax a little bit and have fun at this much-anticipated summer event.
“We work really hard to create a positive culture within the farm and we’re excited to share that with people,” Gerrit said.
Breakfast on the Farm, in its eighth year, has brought over 11,000 visitors to farms across Vermont. The volunteer-run organization accepts applications each year from farms interested in hosting the free event. The goal is to help people get to know the farms that make up the backbone of the landscape and economy.
“For a lot of people, it’s probably scary to see a farm and not know what’s going on,” Gerrit said. “Once people visit and see what we do it’s not as scary to them and they appreciate the work a little bit more. Our customers drive by our farm all the time, it’s good for them to know what’s going on and how we take care of the cows.”
Established in 1966, Gosliga Farm started with Gerrit’s grandfather Gerardus ‘Gerry’ Gosliga. He immigrated from the Netherlands and worked on dairy farms in Minnesota, California, and New York. He and his wife eventually settled in Vermont where they purchased their first herd of cows and raised their family alongside many other Dutch farming families that chose Addison County as their home at the time. Their children, Bert, Jake, and Grace eventually became partners in the business.
Gerrit and his cousin Jeff Gosliga are the third generation to join the partnership. Today, the fourth generation is growing up on the 1,500-acre farm, where the family employs 10 people and cares for over 800 milking cows and 500+ young cattle.
“We started with about 53 cows, and in the early 90s we built our first free-stall barn in anticipation of growing to 250 cows and building a parlor to make farming a little more fun,” Gerrit said. “The older generation wasn’t afraid to make a change and move forward.”
In 2009, a barn fire forced change on the farm again.
“We had a chance to rebuild our barn and we could’ve built it the way we always did, but we chose to do something a little different: automated calf feeding.
At the time there was hardly anyone doing it, and my uncle Jake was the one who suggested it,” Gerrit said. “We could have gone backward, and we decided to do something progressive.”
Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is a great way to learn more about the innovation, people, and cows that make dairy farming possible in the Green Mountain State.
“Cow comfort is important to us. If you take care of the cows, the cows will take care of you,” Gerrit said.