TCHDailyNews farm stops begin with the host of the 2017 Oconto County Breakfast on the Farm, Rockledge Farm outside of Lena, which is owned by John and Katrina Zak.
The breakfast will be held on June 11 and will allow the public a chance at an inside look into the Zak’s farm operation.
“Starting out in the morning at 7 a.m. there’s a sunrise service,” said John Zak said about the start of the day on June 11. “After that, the breakfast starts right around 8:00. There’s self-guided tours, you’ll be able to walk around the farm, in and out of the barn, parlor, see close-up with the petting zoo and the calves and cows. There will be bouncers here for the kids, some kind of scavenger hunt they’re having and runs from 8 until 1 [p.m.]”
Rockledge Farm features about 600 acres of land that they farm, to go with 140 cows, which is close to double the amount they had before they expanded in 2013.
When it comes to employees, the Zak’s have one full-time and three part-time helpers, which can present its challenges, however to them, that’s what can make farming enjoyable.
“You don’t know what to expect when you walk in the barn,” John explained. “You don’t know what to expect after chores are done in the morning. It’s just a new challenge every day.”
“I enjoy the challenge too and doing the best job that we can,” Katrina added. “It’s also a lot of fun to raise kids on a farm because there’s always things for them to do and work and play. It’s fun to be together as a family.”
Family is important to the Zak’s, and so is giving their three kids an opportunity to continue Rock Ledge Farm, but they understand they can only control what they can control.
“It’s very important,” John said about the family element. “Yeah, you’d like to see the kids take over and move on, but some of it kind of relies in other people’s hands and it’s out of our control.”
With the many challenges farmers are facing today, it can sometimes be overwhelming, but John says it helps recalling advice he was given a number of years ago that helps he and the farm continue to push forward.
“Faith, family and friends, without those three you’re nothing. It takes good communication and a lot of trust within the network of people you’re working to get by and go on every year. I would say I try to surround myself with some good people and I think we are.”
The Zak’s say they’re excited to share their farm with the rest of Oconto County, as they put prepare the final touches before next Sunday.