Tax Family Farm hosting with daughter Mary Zahurones
By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
This year’s Breakfast on the Farm event will be Saturday, June 16 from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Chuck and Pat Tax Farm west of Pierz.
Chicken sausage is being donated by Gold’n Plump and two hogs by Steve and Becky Fellbaum, last year’s hosts. The pork processing is being donated by Thielen Meats. Pierz optometrist Ken Dodge will be donating 100 dozen eggs. Sunrise Ag and First District will be donating milk, and ice cream will be donated by Coborn’s.
The Pierz Lions will be preparing and serving breakfast, which will also include pancakes, coffee and orange juice.
There will be presentations and demonstrations for protecting the environment, dairy cow care and farm machinery. Activities include a tractor/hay wagon tour of the farm, photo with a newborn calf, face painting and a children’s pedal pull.
Last year’s first Breakfast on the Farm drew 400 attendees. “This year we’re planning for 1,200,” said Pat Tax.
“All 12 Princess Kay 2012 finalists will be there,” said the 58th Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Mary Zahurones. “We’ve sent out many personal invitations to government officials and hope that they will be able to attend.”
The Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders will be there, and possibly a Vikings team member or two.
Zahurones has two full months of her reign left, and there are only two days when she does not have at least one activity or event scheduled.
“It was so unexpected to have been crowned,” said Mary. “I had been reluctant, but at every level I became more and more enthusiastic. But when my name was announced, I still thought, ‘what?!’”
“What made it even more special is that it was so unexpected,” said Pat.
“The whole experience has been above and beyond anything we expected,” Mary said.
Zahurones has made classroom visits to 25 different schools, reaching more than 6,000 students from Kelliher to Austin. She has done several of the visits with one or two Vikings team members. But last week the entire team participated in a visit with her. “I painted a mural there with Adrian Peterson,” she said.
It’s been an interesting year advocating for increased knowledge of farming among Minnesota residents, knowing the research and science behind dairy products.
“I’ve most appreciated being an educator and having others educate me at every visit,” Mary said. “It’s been fun to see different lifestyles around the state. I got to see a lot more of Minnesota.”
School visits include a short presentation of the “life of a dairy cow,” followed by a demonstration of how much milk an average cow produces and how much water they drink every day, using a five-gallon bucket.
The students are divided up into teams and race to see who can make butter the fastest using a baby food jar filled with cream.
While filling all the duties asked of a Princess Kay, Zahurones has been attending the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities full-time. She is majoring in nursing, and plans to earn her doctorate as a nurse practitioner.
“I planned my schedule so that there were no classes on Mondays, and on Tuesdays and Thursday there was an early morning class and an evening class with the middle of the day free for events,” she said.
“Mary had a full class load and Princess Kay duties and still earned a 4.0 grade point average,” said proud mom, Pat.
“We were content just to be here on the farm, before Mary was crowned,” said Pat. “We would never have opened our farm to the public like this. But this experience has taught us that we have a duty to teach people about what happens on a farm. Juice does not come from a cow, and beef cattle and dairy cows are different, for example.”
“I attribute a lot of opportunities I’ve been blessed with to being Princess Kay,” said Mary. “It’s opened a lot of doors everywhere. Being an advocate for dairy will never stop, even though wearing a crown and sash while doing it will end.”
The 2012 Princess Kay finalists will be coming to Morrison County the day before Breakfast on the Farm, and they and Zahurones will be handing out free dairy product samples at Coborn’s in Little Falls from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
They will all be riding on a float in the Dam Festival parade following the breakfast, with the four Morrison County dairy princesses and five Benton County dairy princesses.
Chuck Tax is putting the float together on a fifth wheel trailer donated by Evergreen Equipment.
During the breakfast June 16, Falls Radio in Little Falls will be broadcasting live from the farm from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. and Wild Country’s Matt and Amy will be broadcasting live from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Platinum sponsors are Central Minnesota Credit Union, Wild Country 99, Sunrise Ag Cooperative, Strategic Farm Marketing and Roger, Janice and Mark Janson.
Gold Sponsors are the Pierz Co-op, Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Ameriprise Financial-Josh Nelson, AgStar and Falls Radio.
Parking and free shuttle will be available at Sunrise Ag Cooperative north of the corner of State Highway 27 and State Highway 25 in Pierz. There will be no parking at the farm.
The cost is $5 per plate, with children 12 and under free.