St. Charles isn't just home to one of the most fun and charming suburban downtowns in Fox Valley, it's also the hidden home of the Lenkaitis Family Dairy Farm, where registered Holstein cows supply milk to Dean's Rockford plant here in Illinois. (Psst...want to support this community farm? Purchase Dean's sour cream or cottage cheese products!)
It was a packed house the last weekend of June as the Lenkaitis family was kind enough to open it's property up to the public for its 2019 Open House, complete with ice cream social, fund raiser and new barn ribbon cutting ceremony! The event was conveniently scheduled during June, National Dairy Month, and supported the Kane County Farm Bureau's 10,000 Gallon Milk Challenge.
We were really pleased with the turnout and very happy to have such a positive response to the event and great interest in our dairy farm. We really enjoyed the diversity of visitors that came to the open house, both young and old. Many shared stories of growing up on a farm and seemed to appreciate our effort to reinvest in the farm and keep it in the community. - Sarah Lenkaitis, Co-Owner
The farm was hoppin' at the Open House where kids chased balloons, pet young calves, ate ice cream and explored the tractors on site.
Back at the main building, guided tours allowed visitors to explore the new milking barn and even in see milking robots in action. Modern tools like these to improve efficiency and reduce labor costs, allowing today's dairy farmers to keep up with demand.
The cows love the milking robots! They walk into the milking area of their own accord and can be relieved as often as they choose. And any mom whose breastfed knows why this is a blessing! Using ID tags to identify each cow, the robots only need to milk a cow once to permanently memorize the proper position of their utters for future milking. It's a system that benefits both the animal and the farm.
But the event was about even more than celebrating the opening of the new barn. It was an opportunity to give back as well. In support of the Kane County Farm Bureau's 10,000 milk gallon challenge, all proceeds from the Lenkaitis Open House were donated to a local food bank in order to assist hungry neighbors in need.
The tour was fascinating, the cause was important and the entire event was a great time for all!
If you missed the event and would like a private tour of the Lenkaitis Farm, visit their website for detail on how to schedule an appointment.
The Fox Valley Business Review is a volunteer-run online community publication with a mission to support the “buy local” movement in the Fox River Valley of Illinois by shining a spotlight on local, independently owned companies in the area.