Maine Dairy Farmers Embrace Family, Traditions During The Holidays

“This is gonna be good,” said 4-year-old Evan Fletcher as he braced his elbows on his grandparents’ kitchen table, a look of pure determination on his face as he used both hands to squeeze red icing from a tube to give his snowman cookie eyes. Christmas music streamed from the laptop in the corner.

“You know you’re supposed to leave cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve, don’t you?” his 9-year-old cousin Hailey asks. Evan giggles with delight as she fills him in on the details.

Christmas cookies are a family tradition for the Fletcher Farm family in Pittsfield, Maine. Edna Fletcher watches her grandsons Evan and Ian, 14 months, each day at the farmhouse while their mother Diana works for the State of Maine in Augusta and their father Austin works on the farm. Hailey, Edna’s great-niece, gets off the school bus at the farm every day after school. So what better time to decorate some delicious sugar cookies?

“This recipe came from a Farm Journal cookbook years and years ago,” Edna said. “I make it every year. I love it.”

Edna and her husband Walter purchased 500 acres in central Maine in 1980 and built their dairy farm here. Their son Austin wanted his children to have a similar upbringing as his own, so it was decided that rather being sent to a daycare, Evan and Ian would spend days on the farm with Edna watching over them.

“Austin came back to the farm because he wanted his children to be raised the same way he was – close to family and around everyday life on a farm,” Edna said. “The boys are exposed to everyone on the farm nurturing the animals, and they see the love we have for family, cows and employees.”

The following is Edna’s favorite sugar cookie recipe:


Sugar Cookies

  • 1 and 1/4 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 to 6 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Stir dry ingredients together using the smaller amount of flour. Add to egg mix alternately with milk. If dough is sticky, add flour to handle. Roll ¼-inch thick on well-floured board or cloth and cut as desired. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 8 minutes at 375 degrees.


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This story was brought to you by our friends at the Maine Dairy Promotion Board