Proud of Its Past, Freund Family Focuses on the Future

By Sarah L. Hamby, Connecticut Correspondent

EAST CANAAN, Conn. — Since the 1950s, the Freund family has nurtured the land, their animals and their reputation. The third-generation is moving forward to care for more than 600 acres of crops, including 200 acres of contiguous pasture and 200 acres of forest in pastoral Litchfield County.

The Freunds take pride in their past. They still have their old heifer wheel, with faded awards from the 1970s, to keep track of breeding. But they are also innovative.

In 1997, a plug-flow digester system was installed at the dairy farm. The digester reduces odors on the farm, which significantly improves the farm’s relationship with abutting neighbors during summer when a campsite visible from the farm’s pasture doubles the population of the small town.

“We’re very mindful of our neighbors,” Amanda Freund said.

The digester also displaces oil to heat the Freund home and act as an irrigation system, separating the fiber from manure during the winter months, storing the liquid filtrate.

In addition, the digester serves the farm’s CowPots business, which was recently recognized for sustainability.

The digester, in place since 1997, is just one of the steps the Freunds have taken to stay ahead of the game. Also in place on the farm — just across the street — are more than 500 solar panels generating about 139 kilowatts of electricity, which is meant to fulfill the dairy’s needs.

In addition to a new barn coming soon, Amanda Freund said the farm may soon be the first in the state to have a robotic milking facility.

Currently, about 275 cows are milked on the farm. Freund said the farm’s milking schedule has been updated to ensure cow comfort over summer.

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