Geof Dolman, The Farmer
Geof grew up in the suburbs of London, which he found very boring, especially during school holidays. When he was thirteen, he was sent to spend the summer with his uncle, who had a farm just south of the English Lake District. It was a working farm, where young Geof helped tend milking cows, steers (or bullocks, as they’re called in England), sheep and hens. Young Geof was in heaven.
After graduating from university with a PhD in Agriculture, Geof went overseas, making a career managing agricultural development projects, primarily in the Middle East and Africa. While in Egypt, he met Anne Johnson, who was working in overseas economic development. Anne had spent her childhood summers at her family’s vacation house off Ames Hill Road in Brattleboro, Vermont, and that is where the couple eventually married.
Another twelve years and nearly as many countries later, Geof and Anne decided it was time to set their roots, and they chose Vermont, close to her family, who were by then permanent residents. They bought a 95 acre farm and named it Roselily, after a pond they were told had once existed on the property.
With help from neighbors and friends, a hoop barn was erected for overwintering a herd of cattle, a long-abandoned concrete silo serving as the base of the building. Major improvements were made to the property and fields. Fences were installed to divide fields into smaller paddocks, as the cows would be moved frequently, assuring healthy growth of the grass to sustain the herd.
Kiki Freed, Farm Worker
As an integral part of Roselily Farm, Kiki works hard to make the world a better place. She came to Roselily because she enjoys the fresh air, physical work, and a quiet country life. Her favorite part of the work is being with the cows, her “loves,” because each one is unique, and has a distinct personality. The piggies are ok in the beginning, too.
Originally from a big family in Waterbury CT, Kiki has always been a lover of the great outdoors. She spent her youth hiking and skiing in Vermont and New Hampshire, and she knew that she wanted to make a home here. It was during one fateful ski weekend, in fact, that she first met Paul Freed, with whom she built a lovely home and even lovelier family.
They settled off Barrows Road, and Kiki dedicated many years to raising her family and teaching literacy. She loved the work, and loved kids, but she missed being outdoors. Shortly after a British farmer and his locally-born bride arrived at Rosilily, Kiki inquired about work. Memories are fuzzy, but Geof hired her either that day, (or the next), and the rest is happy heifer history.
The first animals arrived in October 2012—four cows and their calves—a lovely mixture of breeds, loosely based on the Belted Galloway. From that start, the herd grew to what is now a mixture of cows, heifers, and steers. It is a small herd, carefully and lovingly tended.
The current herd of happy cows consists of the following cast of characters. Offspring are listed below the Mothers.
- Curly Dock
In 2013, pigs were brought in. Purchased as shoats each year in the spring, the pigs live in the hoop barn until the fall, when they are fully grown and ready for processing. Stop by the Farm Shop in October for the freshest and tastiest pork chops around (bacon and ham doesn't make it until November, FYI).