What’s it like to run a busy farm?
Candy Dyer comes from a long line of farmers. Her parents and grandparents farmed, and now she and her husband, along with her son and his wife, make a living off the land. Recently, she took a short break from farm chores to share what it takes to bring fresh food to Georgetown.
How many people work at the Dyer Dairy farm?
It’s a family operation. Right now it’s Aaron and Susan—my daughter-in-law and son—and Ron, my husband, and I. We raise our beef, and we raise pork, and we milk cows. That’s a full-time job for the four of us. One farmer cannot do it all. Besides us, we have eight to ten local suppliers at our farm store.
Tell me about your farm store, The Mercantile.
It’s a little different from what you might find at a grocery store. We go more with what’s seasonal, what the ground is giving you, and what the animals are producing. We go with the natural cycles of the animals.
Are all foods season-dependent?
Usually, your beef and your pork are around all year because you’re raising your animals to butcher all year; but as far as milk and eggs, you have your heavier times in the spring and fall, and then in the winter, when it’s colder, they don’t produce well. Especially with eggs—as the days get shorter, the chickens quit producing, and then as your days get longer in the spring, the egg production picks back up.
You mentioned working with other local farmers.
Other farmers have their own specialty niches—they might raise eggs, or they raise beef. Because we can’t resupply every day like a grocery store can, we work as a group. Even though we raise beef, too, we can run out really easily. So we work together with other local farmers so that we can always provide a variety of fresh foods to the public.
Do farmers truly work sunrise to sunset?
Definitely! [Laughs] It’s a 365-days-a-year kind of job. If you’re dealing with animals, you have to be there. It’s not like you can take off for vacation for a few days.
What’s your favorite part of farming?
Taking care of livestock. I like to garden, but I’ve learned since we’ve lived here that soil is very different depending on where you are. Raising an animal is just about the same anywhere.
For more information about the Dyer Dairy farm, including hours and products, visit www.dyermercantile.com.