Our recent GetJoyfull Food Trip to Cheslen Dairies was truly a full day of adventure, and fun. Cela, and I even packed in a few mishaps, and messes for good measure, lol. It was a very humid day, and the air was heavy with wildfire smoke. Buzzing Yellowjackets were out in full force, and much to our chagrin insistent on tagging along.
But the challenges of the day did not dampen our GetJoyfull mindset. If anything they helped us to appreciate the experience all the more. After all, there are no days off in farming– it’s not a career for the faint of heart.
“Farming is for the courageous; the disciplined; the hard-working; the caring, and the kind. All characteristics of farmer, Jason Crozier.” – Emily Mardell
In Part 1: GetJoyfull with the Crozier’s we met Amy Crozier, and had an invaluable lesson in agronomy. Now, in Part 2 we’re teaming up with Amy’s husband, Jason Crozier to learn about the heritage of Cheslen Dairies, and modern advancements in dairy farming.
Say hello to Jason Crozier, farmer & family man.
Jason is a fifth generation farmer who’s family has been at heart of dairy farming in Alberta for over 170 years. The Crozier’s are a close-knit crew, and Jason is first to acknowledge the hard work of past generations, and their ongoing influence.
Jason’s dad, Lenard, is still a physical, and guiding presence on the farm. Pride beamed from Lenard’s eyes as he talked with me about his sons, Jason & Brett, and what they’re doing to carry on the Crozier tradition of producing quality Canadian milk.
Lenard launched in to full Grandpa mode, and came to our rescue when the keys were locked in the farm truck, along with our lunch!
In fact, the Croziers were among the first farms in Alberta to adopt robotic milking technology. Knowing little about this technology, I was eager to learn more. Happy cows, as Jason so well explained, produce the highest quality milk. “Voluntary milking” systems are flexible, efficient, and ultimately cow-governed. Meaning Cheslen cows choose when, and how often they’re milked. Leading to improved comfort, mammary health, and production.
“Happy cows produce the highest quality milk.” – Jason Crozier
The Cheslen farm is designed with cow comfort top of mind. Operating with natural ventilation, and high-efficiency climate control–all measures to ensure their cows are relaxed, and happy.
As we walked around Cheslen Dairies, Jason talked openly about the challenges of meeting the demands of farming, and family. Jason explained how advancing technology is also helping him create a predictable schedule, and better work-family life balance.
It’s not lost on Jason that technology he employs today did not exist in the time of his forefathers. It’s clear that Crozier family roots, run deep.
At Cheslen Dairies Cela found a treasure trove of fun things to explore, and do. Between the cuddly kittens, adorable calves, and friendly kiddos she was truly in her glee. On the drive home, a happily exhausted Cela encouraged me to “talk less, and explore more” on Food Trips. I could not help smile at her sincere, and unfiltered honesty. However, at the time I wasn’t sure why she felt compelled to share. But, when I got to see the unplugged antics she was up to while I was interviewing farmer Jason, her gentle advice made a lot of GetJoyfull sense.
“We can all benefit from a little more adventure time caring for animals, rolling down grassy hills, and stopping to enjoy the wildflowers.” – Emily Mardell
Thanks to our friends at Alberta Milk, and Dairy Farmers of Canada for supporting the GetJoyfull movement, and Alberta farmers like the Crozier’s. Cela, and I are excited to get back into the GetJoyfull kitchen to create fun, quality-infused recipes. Stay tuned, everyone!