“It all started with cows!” exclaims Horizon’s Cindy Masterman. She’s talking about a doozy of a farmer love story we want to share with you in honor of Valentine’s Day: that of Horizon producer partners Henry and Teresa Hardy from Farmington, Maine, and their son Andrew and his bride Ashley.
Loving life on the farm has been a big factor in bringing both of these couples together:
Henry & Teresa
Both Henry and Teresa were involved with 4H growing up. They lived three counties away from each other, but often met at fairs around the state as they competed showing cows. Teresa recalls fondly, “When I was about 16 we were competing at the Bangor Fair, and Henry and I were at opposite ends of the barn. I’d noticed that he’d never smile or say anything, so one day I decided to take his hat!” She declares it wasn’t flirting, but Henry contends she was flirting from the start. “It made him mad, but at least it made him smile! So I continued to take his hat!” Teresa counts their first date as the night she invited him to her family’s camper for a homemade spaghetti dinner at one of the fairs. “I guess I got him through his belly,” she laughs. Henry concedes, “It helped!”
Andrew & Ashley
Andrew met his wife Ashley in high school. She wasn’t a farm girl at first, but after spending time hanging out with friends at the Hardy’s farm playing Kick the Can, learning how to drive tractors, and snowmobiling, she was hooked. As high school progressed and Ashley spent more time at the farm, she developed a crush on Andrew, as did one of the other girls who also spent time at the farm. Teresa remembers, “Henry and I were sitting back, watching and laughing: Andrew had two girls chasing him, and he was clueless!”
“I had to endure him dating other girls. I hadn’t admitted it yet, but I did have a thing for him!” Ashley says. Finally one night Andrew asked her out to a taekwondo class, and that was it. They dated through the rest of high school, then each went to separate colleges, but didn’t stay apart long, partly because Ashley missed farm life. “I missed Andrew, the cows, the tractors, the dogs, and the cats!” She transferred back to a nearby college, helped out on the farm, and the couple got married in July of last year. “Boy, it didn’t take a lot of time for her to become a farm girl!” says Teresa.
Today, Andrew and Ashley both work on the farm, with the entire family pitching in to help with the day-to-day chores. They live a half-mile down the road in what they call their “Castle in the Clouds”. When asked what she likes most about farm life, Ashley said “I love living on the farm. When you wake up, you know that you’re responsible for the animals: they need you. And I like the hard work: at the end of the day I feel like I can go to bed and I’ve accomplished a lot. Living close by is wonderful,” says Ashley.
It’s also changed her life. “Since I work on an organic farm, I really have a thing for being natural, and using nature’s resources. Even with what you eat: I used to put ketchup on everything and not try many new foods. But when I came to the farm, I started trying more foods, and stopped using so much salt and ketchup. I changed the way I ate, and it definitely changed the way I felt inside and out.” The families garden, can, raise chickens, and hogs.
The secret to love
This year, Henry and Teresa plan to celebrate their 25th anniversary where they honeymooned: at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. “We’re not a fancy-restaurants-with-candlelight type of couple,” she remarks. Henry and Teresa’s secret to two-and-a-half decades together: “honesty, trust, respect in each other’s differences, playfulness, teasing, and being willing to work our differences out. We work together, and we still respect the fact that even if we’re ticked off with one another, chore time is chore time. You suck it up, get over it, and do your chores. We may scowl at each other, but we move on. We don’t run away.”
As for the newlyweds, Ashley echoes Henry and Teresa’s philosophy on the secret to her and Andrew’s marriage: “The number one thing is trust. We’re honest, we don’t keep anything from one another. Every day we get up and work, and don’t make time for foolishness. If we do have issues, we talk. We never go to sleep without resolving issues and saying ‘I Love You’. And we always are laughing and joking around!”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
About the Hardys
The family raises about 50 Ayrshire cows on 165 acres, and have been shipping to Horizon Organic since 2003. Henry is featured on the Horizon half gallon cartons. Also, both Andrew and his sister Marjorie have received the Horizon Organic Producer Relations (HOPE) scholarship, which encourages children and grandchildren of Horizon producers to enter the field of organic agriculture. The Hardy’s youngest daughter Ashlie is a junior in high school, with plans to attend college and major in agriculture.