Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 25

W

hen Roger and Patty Scholten transitioned their dairy farm to organic
in 2007, people told them they were crazy. And when they started making cheese
on the farm in 2008? "Now, you're really
crazy!" Patty says with a laugh. But, she
adds, "The more people told us not to, the
more that intrigued us and motivated us."
The couple, who own the Scholten Family Farm in Weybridge, Vermont, have their
own definition of crazy.
"'Crazy' is doing the same thing over and
over-and expecting different results,"
Roger and Patty say in unison. This has
been their mantra over the years; a motivator to continually push for change in their
business. Roger even plastered it up in the
barn, back when they initially decided to
go organic. "I wanted to see it every day,"
he says. Clearly, their progressive thinking
has paid off.
Today, Roger runs their profitable organic
dairy farm and Patty makes an award-winning farmstead cheese. This cheese, aptly
named "Weybridge," is aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill [of Jasper Hill Farm in
Greensboro, VT] and is sold in stores like
Whole Foods, nationwide. And today,
the Scholten Family Farm, smack-dab in
a town of less than 1,000 people, has its
name squarely on the national map.

Transitioning to Organic
Sitting by the wood stove in their modern farmhouse kitchen-accented by antique furniture and open to a stylish living
room-Roger is matter-of-fact. "The reason we went organic wasn't initially philosophical," he says. "The only reason we did
it was because it was a stable milk price."
Wearing a constant grin, a baseball cap and
a windbreaker, Roger seems ready to leap
from the table at any moment and jump to
work. (He admits he has a hard time relaxing, and on a dairy farm, there is always
more to do).
But Roger sits back to recall one motivating conversation. "I have a friend who just
couldn't wrap his mind around how anyone
could buy a conventional gallon of milk,"
Roger says. "'Commercial milk looks unhealthy to me,'-that's what he told me.
It's just marketing, but he said 'when I look
at this gallon of Organic Valley milk with
a family on it and a cow,' he says 'I don't
care what they charge me; that's the milk
I want to have because it looks healthy to
me.' And things start clicking in my mind.
I'm like, that's amazing! This guy will
spend any amount of money to have that
organic jug, where you have to give the
other one away for pennies on the dollar!
Gears started to turn."

Patty, who wears her brown hair short, a
turtleneck sweater and a big belt buckle,
sets a generous plate of Weybridge cheese,
sliced bread and local charcuterie on the
table. "Since I wasn't born and raised on
a dairy farm (Roger was his whole life),
I had less stress in thinking differently or
even outside the box," she says. "So I was
like, 'JUST DO IT!' And, he did."
Since the Scholtens transitioned their
dairy farm to organic, they've never looked
back. And, now, Patty points out, they eat
only organic too (and make sure their kids
and grandkids do too).
A Family Farm & Dutch Belts
The Scholten Family Farm spans 400
acres in Weybridge-a gorgeous property
with big grey silos, a white barn, and green
hills with the roofline of Middlebury College in the distance, peeking out. The college today owns and leases Patty and Roger
that land. But it was Roger's family who
owned the farm decades ago and originally sold it to the college. (Roger remembers
visiting his aunt and uncle when he was a
little boy in the farmhouse he now shares
with Patty.)
And the family farming tradition is staying
strong with the Scholten's oldest daughter,
LeAnna. She and her husband, Mike Com-

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25


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Perspectives - Spring 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Perspectives - Spring 2018

Contents
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Cover1
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Cover2
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Contents
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 4
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 5
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 6
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