by Heather Jones
The Milk Run was not your average farm tour. It was a six-kilometre race around 220-year-old Courthouse Hill Farm in Gore, Nova Scotia.
“It was excellent!” organizer Michael Blois told Farm Focus.
Fifty-five people, ranging in age from five to 50-something, took part in the Aug. 6 inaugural event that included a hill with a panoramic view of the farm. “They also travelled through a corn field, through a cow pasture, through an alfalfa patch, and over a big line of round bales of hay. They had a lot of fun.”
Blois said The Milk Run was a very simple idea. “We’ve been dairy farming forever and a day (eight generations). People don’t know how milk is made and we want to show them. We want to show them what’s unique about farming, all the ways we farm, how we’re making life better for cows, (and) how we’re making milk sustainably and at the highest quality,” Blois said.
The event created more agri-tourism (and income) for the farm. The Bloises also host MudCraft–an adventure-filled obstacle course–and mountain bike races on their 1,010-hectare operation. In preparation for The Milk Run, Blois said, “We took a fence down, mowed a path, and marked it. And made sure the farm looked nice.” He said they were very safety conscious and made sure there was nothing that would harm participants.
Unique to The Milk Run were four dairy stations (manned by 10 volunteers) set up throughout the course. Runners were treated to chocolate milk, cheese, and yogurt, and at the finish line, ice cream topped with the farm’s blueberries.
“(We were) pleased with the turnout because it’s a very busy time of the year,” Blois said. He was also happy with the positive reviews. He is already making plans for the 2017 race. “Dairy farming is important and it’s important that people understand what it’s all about. Next year I want it to be more hands-on, to let the runners get more up-close and personal with the farm, the cows, the milking area, and the equipment.”