Founded in 1960, Willow Bend Farm is a family dairy farm located in Shortsville, New York. When your business is as embedded into community as dairy businesses are, it is important to make sure that you take the time to connect with and celebrate community. This is something that the second-generation operators of Willow Bend recognize, which led to the creation of the Milk Pail Dairy Discovery Barn.
Since the Milk Pail Dairy Discovery Barn’s creation, they have been hosting monthly events to connect with locals and other dairy businesses in the area. Events are held on the second Saturday of each month in a series they call Second Saturdays. In 2021, Willow Bend was awarded a $22,000 Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) Multi-Business Dairy Agritourism Grant to improve the event series.
With the help of the grant funds, Willow Bend worked with local and regional dairy entities to promote dairy products made in New York State through their Second Saturdays events. Willow Bend created educational materials to help consumers and locals understand more about dairy practices and promote the monthly events. One particularly successful event, the Dairy Discovery 5k and Fun Run, engaged many different stakeholders including community members and local dairy businesses. The inaugural Dairy Discovery 5k and Fun Run, held in the summer of 2021, included nine different local dairies and attracted more than 100 racers!
The operators of the Milk Pail Discovery Barn plan to continue their monthly event series for the foreseeable future, which include Mother’s Day at The Milk Pail, Let’s Celebrate June Dairy Month, Berries and Cream, Farm and Family Day, the Dairy Discovery Fun Run/5k, and the Harvest Celebration. If you get the opportunity, make sure to check out the Milk Pail on second Saturdays this summer!
The Multi-Business Dairy Agritourism Grant program supports the development and promotion of agritourism activities to elevate dairy businesses in the Northeast region. Projects engage at least three Northeast dairy farmers or processors in the grant’s agritourism activities and promote awareness and consumption of regionally produced dairy products.