Saturday, April 30, 2016

Blue Hill Blondes - A Farmer Story

Blue Hill Blondes John and Betty Tyler sell over 1000lbs of grass-fed USDA beef every year, to restaurants and individuals in Blue Hill, and through These farmers choose to serve smaller markets in order to maintain a one cow per acre quality space ratio. The most important part of their work is keeping the hay dry, the grass healthy and the cows happy.

Blue Hill Blondes is a small cattle farm in North Blue Hill, owned and run by John and Betty Tyler since 2005. Planned as a retirement from their healthcare careers, John says they wanted to "raise beef properly". After 20 years of not eating meat outside their home, Betty remarked that "it is really important how our animals are treated".

As I walked out to meet the cows, heifers, bulls and calves, music pouring over from the solar panel covered barn, John turned to me and smiled, saying said "they prefer classical." Earlier Betty had remarked that "'our cows know their name; they are smarter than what people give them credit for". The cows maternal instinct was obvious to me, as a calve took a while to get up when summoned by a soft moo from his mother, she got increasingly frustrated and her mooing started to insist "I said, come here!" It seemed she just wanted to nudge him a little and be listened to; no big deal.

The grief of raising animals was not lost on me. John and Betty told me they had just sent their 11 year-old cow and bull up to Herring Brothers, after the cow gave birth to two still-born twin cows. Betty said it was very sad to watch the cow's reaction to her calves not being there, but that it made them think that it was probably time for the old cow and bull pair that founded their farm to go. And maybe the right time for John and Betty to start slowing down as well?

The #1 cow born on the farm, named Tamworth by one of John and Betty's six kids, just gave birth to Denny who is number #20, and so a new generation of critters have taken over the farm. Will a new generation take over for John and Betty someday? I said to them that hopes to have them for at least five or six more years, which is when they think they might send their last bull up to Herring Brothers, and start to phase out. It's a lot of hard work doing the right thing right.

In honor of Blue Hill Blonde's first cow and bull, and the legacy of twin bearing they left behind, watch a WABI TV video that pretty much tells it all.


  1. To see the video reference above from WABI go to:

    John & Betty

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