Marchaland Farms - Generations of Easton Family Tradition

Friday, October 18, 2019
work in acres, not hours. 
 They don't just work till the sun goes down, they work till the job gets done.

I got to see firsthand the truth to that statement this past weekend when we had the opportunity to tour Marchaland Farms in Easton, NY.  It may have been our first 'official' visit to the farm, but I've been photographing it for a few years as we traveled past it on Burton Road.  In July, Sue Marchaland, one of my devoted Easton followers, emailed me offering a tour of the farm.  Sue thought some of the views from the pastures might be 'picture worthy'.  Always excited about the prospect of new views, we enthusiastically accepted the offer and when Sue contacted me this past weekend to arrange the tour, we jumped at the opportunity.  I had no idea what adventure Sue's husband, Lou, had in store for us!
Marchaland Farms was founded in 1934 by Lou's grandfather, Louis Marchaland.  The farm began as a dairy farm and operated as such for three generations until 2012 when it transitioned to raising beef.  The farm is now in it's third, fourth and fifth generation.  As a young man, Lou would come to the farm before and after school with his brother to work on the farm.  When I asked him if he knew growing up that he wanted to be a farmer, he quickly explained that farming was really hard work.  in order too avoid that, Lou joined the Marines.  After the Marines and some civilian jobs, Lou came 'home' and back to the farm to help his brother, Dan, who is now running the family business along with a nephew and a very longtime hired hand.  

The farm is home to about 140 Black Angus brood cows and 2 Holsteins.  The Holsteins are great surrogate moms for the calves when Angus moms are lacking that motherly instinct. The Holstein takes over and nurses and nurtures the babies as her own.  Calves weigh between 35-55 lbs when born and eventually grow to around 1600 lbs.  Cows are butchered between 16 and 18 months of age, depending on weight and size.  In order to produce high quality beef, the cows are raised on grass and finished with GMO-free corn silage and haylage that is grown on the farm.  Speaking of the farm...originally the farm consisted of 160-180 acres. It now consists of over 1000 acres between what they own themselves and land they rent from neighbors.   With all that land, it is fortunate that modern technology and equipment can help with the workload.

Replacing silos today are these long sleeves for holding silage.  Lou explained how silage is loaded into the expanding sleeve and how it is later removed in portions and resealed again for storage.  
During our three-hour long tour, Lou educated us on practical details about cows, feed, breeding, hay, and the economy of farming.  John feverishly took notes but me...well I listened and photographed as I sighed over the breathtaking views from Dan's pastures. Sue was correct.  Every view was picture worthy and breathtaking.  Our mode of transportation for the afternoon was a big golf cart-type vehicle (the formal name escapes me) which not only mastered the terrain we traveled, but added a bit of amusement park thrill to our commute.  And this commute was unlike any we'd ever experienced with views surpassing any I could have imagined.

After our lesson on silage, Lou headed up the hill behind the farm with our first stop in the pasture amidst the cows.  If you aren't familiar with cattle, or if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting them (many of them) up close and in person, let me tell you they are curious and least the Marchaland cattle anyway.  Within seconds of Lou stopping our chariot, we were surrounded by black and sometimes red, wide-eyed, shiny nosed cows, large and small sniffing, licking and hoping we'd stopped for something more exciting than conversation.  I wish there was a way to insert video into this post because the serenade we got was loud and enthusiastic.  Even when Lou turned the engine back on, no one budged.  These beautiful cows were obviously used to machinery and not afraid of humans.  Their size and number may have something to do with it.  Lou did explain that despite how close they were, catching a calf over a day old is nearly impossible, explaining why it's important to tag and care for babies soon after birth.  

Here is Marchaland Farm from our view atop the mountain.  While the view was no doubt enhanced by the peak foliage, I cannot imagine it being any less awe inspiring at any season.  We could see for miles and miles and though I've referred to Easton as God's country many times, on this day atop the mountain, I swear I had a glimpse into the window of heaven.  All that was missing was a reunion with loved ones.

We traveled over the hills and down the road to one of the farms the Marchaland's rent land from.  Again we climbed the terrain (well, not we, just our limousine) and soon we were once again on the edge of heaven overlooking miles and miles of God's green earth in Washington County and beyond.  As the afternoon progressed, Lou made his way over the hills and past ponds, down worn paths we'd only seen in passing, from pasture to pasture giving us a glimpse of where the cows spend their grazing time.  If beautiful surroundings made for delicious beef, these cows would provide the best on earth.  These are some lucky cows!  

I didn't get to meet Dan Marchaland that day but after touring his farm, I feel I know a little about him, and his family.  One might imagine that sharing a family business with a stranger, even a little photographer/blogger like me, might have something to do with pride, but it was abundantly clear that what this farm is about is not just pride in having a successful business.  It's about heart and it's about the love of family and the dedication and hard work that goes into keeping a family business alive and successful generation after generation, even through hardships.  It's about a family that knows the value and rewards of hard work and the determination and drive to carry on what started before you.  It's about the accumulation of knowledge and expertise, and the application of years of experience.  It's about elbow grease and sweat, long days and short nights.  It's about commitment and it's about family.  And that is what pride is about on Marchaland Farm....pride in their family business and maybe a little in their spectacular views.

I fell in love with Easton for the first time in 2017 and I've been falling in love with the people who live there ever since.  There's something genuine and welcoming about the folks in Easton, people who love their land and appreciate when others love it too.  The Marchalands are no exception.  We are blessed to be able to meet and hear the stories of so many folks in Washington County who have reached out when I've shared photos on Facebook.  I guess it's rural hospitality and I'm so grateful to be on the receiving end of it so often.  Thank you Dan for opening your family farm to us and thank you Lou for sharing your afternoon and extensive knowledge and passion about farming.  

For more information about Marchaland Farms All Natural Meats, you can follow them on Facebook at: or at their website:

Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Come back soon to see where life takes us.  To see more of beautiful Easton, check out my blog Directory under the category, Destinations-New York.

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