“We made maple syrup, cut wood and we were a dairy farm,” Ingalls said. “We had 80 head of Guernsey cows, and we peddled milk in Cooperstown.”
These were days when milk was delivered to homes by the producing dairies. Ingalls claims that Guernsey cows give the best tasting milk of any dairy cow. The Ingalls milk was known as Cloverleaf Farms. The Ingalls’ eventually formed a partnership with several other families in the Cooperstown area, all with Guernsey cows.
The milk business changed in the latter part of the 20th century, with many family farms going under, so the Ingalls had to change what they produced in order to stay in farming.
“I started growing and selling sweet corn,” Ingalls said. “Then came gladiolas. We sold them at the stand, next thing we knew we were delivering them to the area florists from Richfield Springs to Oneonta. My son got us started in strawberries, and we let some people in to pick them and thought we had a good market for this.”
“We tapped into the Susquehanna River, which is at the edge of our property, and got irrigation into the land. From there we went on to melons, potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes, and became a much better farm stand. We really enjoyed it. I like to grow things,” Ingalls added.
In addition to the family operating the business, the farm stand and growing the produce provided work and some extra income to a lot of the area’s youngsters, Ingalls said.
“I’m proud of a lot of those kids and my grandkids. Some of them went on to become doctors and other professionals,” he said.
Ingalls has kept in touch with some of them, and both he and many of those successful adults claim that their success was gained by developing a good work ethic by working in those fields.