Pancakes, cows draw a crowd
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 08/02/2012 2:23 PM
CLAREMONT, Minn. – An overcast sky didn't deter people from attending the annual Steele County Breakfast at the Farm.
Steele County Dairy Princess and Princess Kay finalist Kelsey Mussman stood at the end of the driveway greeting consumers as they arrived at the farm. She took her post at 7:45 a.m., just in time to greet the first full bus that arrived at Clover Glen Farm.
Mussman was delighted to see so many people from Steele County turn out to support the dairy industry. Buses provided transportation from the Steele County fairgrounds in Owatonna to the farm near the county line.
More than 1,200 dined on pancakes served hot off griddles in the shed, carrying their plates to picnic tables under a nearby tent. There, friends and neighbors visited while volunteers delivered more pancakes.
Clover Glen Farm hosted the annual breakfast on June 23. Glenn Johnson and Debbie McDermott-Johnson moved Clover Glen Farm from Carlton County to Steele County in 1993, when they purchased the dairy farm of long-time Steele County farmers Bruce and Mary Larson. Three years ago, Jon and Kim Klejeski and their children joined Clover Glen Farm.
Their partnership agreement calls for the Klejeski family to take over the farm in seven years, Glenn said.
They are milking 70 cows now, with about 20 dry. The herd is half Holstein and half Brown Swiss. They also have four registered Guernsey. The Brown Swiss are registered as are some of the Holsteins.
The Steele County American Dairy Association asked Clover Glen Farm to host the breakfast last July, Glenn said. They agreed because they believe in the dairy industry.
"I think we need to promote milk production otherwise people forget where their food comes from," Glenn said.
Steele County's Breakfast on the Farm mixed learning with fun. Children could have their picture taken with a calf, ride around the farm on a barrel train pulled by a lawnmower and jump in a bouncy house. Farm tours were also offered every half hour, taking visitors on a walking tour of
the calf hutches, compost barn and parlor.
Pictures with a calf were very popular, judging by the long line that snaked away from the haltered calves. Three-year-old Dalila Spencer of Owatonna chose the brown-and-white calf for her picture and giggled the entire time as the calf nuzzled her lady bug boots. A volunteer snapped her picture and another turned it into a button.
Over at the petting zoo, Zachary Langager, 9, and his younger siblings, Justin, 6, and Mikayla, 4, each held a week old chick in their palms. They marveled at how quiet they were.
It was the first time the Owatonna family attended Breakfast on the Farm, said their mother, Bertha. The first thing the children noticed was the bouncy house and then they moved to the petting zoo. She didn't know if they've have time for breakfast.
"I haven't even tasted the breakfast, but I think it's awesome," Zachary said of Breakfast on the Farm.
Other activities included a craft tent, where children were able to get Got Milk? Tattoos, make cow paper bag puppets and crowns, and dig in a corn box. There were three horse-drawn wagons giving rides for the entire family.