Content ID

280690

Farmers Turn into Roadtripping Cheese Ambassadors

Last May, Rachel Freund and her partner, Cole Van Seters, set out on a “quarter-life crisis” adventure in a red-and-black plaid van. With help from Cabot Creamery, the couple’s mission was to commit Random Acts of Cheddar, thanking volunteers with gifts of cheese in communities across the country. They also hosted public sampling events along the route. 

After graduating from college, Freund managed herd health and breeding on her family’s dairy farm. The farm is a member of Cabot Creamery Cooperative; the milk is turned into the company’s signature sharp cheddar cheeses.

Road-tripping Ambassador

“What am I doing with my life?” Freund recalls asking herself prior to the trip. “I decided I needed to take a break to explore something outside of where I’ve been living and to decide if this is where I wanted to be.” 

Freund and Van Seters had been dreaming of a cross-country road trip. “We wanted to visit national parks, explore the country, and meet lots of new people. I really hadn’t traveled too much around the country,” she explains.

Little did they know that, at the same time, Cabot was looking for traveling cheese ambassadors. 

By working with Cabot, the couple hosted cheese sampling events at grocery stores, breweries, and food shows. Over the course of seven months, Freund had the opportunity to teach curious taste testers about the flavors and mouthfeel of the different varieties of cheddar.

As people enjoyed tiny cubes of tangy cheese, Freund would pull out a small photo album. “It was my pleasure to show them the company is owned by dairy farmers like my family. I’d say, ‘This is my family’s dairy farm in Connecticut. We milk 300 dairy cows with robotic technology, and we are a third-generation farm.’ ”

People grew more curious as she shared. “I’d tell them the history – that my grandfather started the farm and now my brother and sister are working to be owners of that farm. I’m flipping through the pages and I’m showing them pictures of our dairy cows and calves and of our cropland. I’d explain how we’re always looking for sustainable ways to do what we love, which is to take care of the land. Those cows allow us the opportunity to be stewards of the land and protect the really valuable resources that we get to be a part of in our little corner of the world.”

Freund’s enthusiasm and authenticity drew people in. They could see she wasn’t just another lady with free samples.

“Being present, sharing your story, and sharing your product goes a long way in connecting with people,” Freund says, acknowledging it is hard work. But, showing up and engaging in person doesn’t have to be as extravagant as a cross-country road trip, she adds. Going to farmers markets, cultural fairs, or festivals in your own area can be meaningful, too.

Random Acts of Cheddar

Between sampling stops, the pair committed Random Acts of Cheddar by distributing more than 1,500 pounds of cheese to thank volunteers at fire stations, libraries, and nonprofits. 

From coast to coast, do-gooders accepted the cheesy tokens of appreciation with a smile. Along with the bag of dairy products, Freund distributed information about Cabot’s Reward Volunteers program.

The free website allows volunteers and organizations to track donated time. “By tracking their hours, volunteers automatically have an opportunity to win prizes from Cabot and other participating companies,” Freund explains.

The program can be helpful for nonprofits, too. “If the organization works with a lot of volunteers, they can actually use the Reward Volunteers site to help them manage or keep track of their volunteers’ hours. Instead of writing it down on paper or having staff type the hours into a spreadsheet, they can use Reward Volunteers as a tool,” Freund explains. By registering as a nonprofit, the organization also has the opportunity to win a cash donation. 

Freund encourages fellow farmers to log their service on the website. Working with 4-H, FFA, or Ag In the Classroom are just some of the ways farmers can make a difference while sharing their story. As a bonus, they may even be rewarded with cheese! 

Learn more

rewardvolunteers.coop

Read more about
Loading...

Talk in Marketing