Breakfast on the Farm provides lessons, memories
STEWARTVILLE — Ed and Sherri Twohey had a simple reason for volunteering to host the 27th annual Country Breakfast on the Farm:
STEWARTVILLE, Minn. — Ed and Sherri Twohey had a simple reason for volunteering to host the 27th annual Country Breakfast on the Farm:
"We wanted to give back to the (dairy) industry," Sherri said, "so we decided to do this."
But as it turned out, the Twoheys gave something even bigger to two of the more than 2,300 people who visited their dairy operation as part of the Rochesterfest experience.
"This was our childhood home," said Judy (Trygstad) Hedlund, of Fridley. "It's the only one we knew."
She and her sister, Marjorie Satter, of Chanhassen, made the trip south when they learned the farm their parents bought in 1940 would be the site of the annual event that celebrates not only Dairy Month but agribusiness as a whole.
Only the house and a garage built by their father remain from a black and white photo Hedlund shared with the Twoheys. Of course, farming itself has changed a great deal in the nearly 50 years since the Trygstad family left the business.
While Twohey Dairy employees milk about 250 cows twice daily, the Trygstads had about 25 cows, in addition to a small flock of chickens and a few pigs.
Their mother did a lot of the milking, Hedlund said, "because it was her reprieve from us. She and Dad would go out to milk, and we'd clean up after supper, do the dishes, then slide down the banister and onto the couch — and break the springs."
That's not to say they didn't do any of the farm work.
"The neighbors were envious of our dad because they always said he got more work out of us girls than they did out of their boys," Satter laughed.
The four Trygstad girls — Kathryn Espe and Sharon Guenzel are the two eldest daughters — baled and stacked hay, dragged fields, picked eggs and herded cattle, in addition to household chores.
They weren't tomboys, though, Satter said, just hard workers.
"I can remember during calving season, getting on the hay wagon to go get a calf from the pasture," she said. "Dad would put the calf with us, and that cow would just be panicked while we brought them back to the barn."
Their parents sold the farm in 1966, when their father's health deteriorated. Satter, the youngest, was a junior in college.
Though none of the girls had been back since, Sherri Twohey had indeed met one of the Trygstad women.
"I met their mom years ago," Twohey said. "She drove by slowly, and I asked if she was looking for something particular. She said, 'I used to live here,' and I said, 'Well, come on in.' I wanted to meet her anyway."
Hedlund said that impromptu visit made her mother happy.
"She said, 'I watched Sherri holding her baby and rocking. ... That's where I always rocked my babies, too!' — right by that walnut staircase," Satter said.
They were grateful for the opportunity to see their former home and the land they grew up on.
"I'm so glad there's somebody living here," Satter said, "and it's still a working farm. They're doing a wonderful job. We've heard so much from everyone around here — they're such a respected family."
The Twoheys bought the farm after their marriage in 1989; they have five children, three of whom likely will stay in agriculture, Sherri said.
In addition to the dairy, the Twoheys grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa and peas.
Ed's parents, Frank and Marilyn, and his brother, Bill, farm with him on the crop side. Altogether, they run 1,140 acres.
The breakfast was catered by Chris Cakes ; there were also horse-drawn wagon rides, agricultural displays and a TV showing the milking process.