MORRILL, Maine — When Robin Roberts Webster was growing up at Quanta-View Farm, her dairy-farmer father used to play a funny trick on children who would come visit — especially her cousins from Connecticut.
Roger Roberts, who sold milk for almost 30 years to Portland-based Oakhurst Dairy, told the kids that he had a chocolate cow that produced chocolate milk. The excited youngsters would milk that cow into a cup that Roberts held for them, so they wouldn’t see the syrup inside.
“Warm, frothy chocolate milk, fresh from the cow!” Webster wrote in an essay that won her the grand prize in the Oakhurst Moments contest. “They told everyone about the chocolate cow. One silly little cousin even tried to convince a teacher at school that Uncle Roger really had a chocolate cow. They will never live that down.”
On Tuesday, Webster’s funny story won her a celebration at the family homestead, as well as the prize of free Oakhurst milk for life. The first installment of her prize — which included chocolate milk — came in a vintage 1960s dairy delivery truck.
“My son told me I cheated, because anyone could have won with that story,” Webster, 47, said after the presentation.
The prize also included the chance for her to donate $1,000 to a favorite charity. Webster said it didn’t take her long to pick which one. Over Memorial Day weekend, an accidental kitchen fire began in the family farmhouse at Quanta-View Farm and largely destroyed it. More than 50 firefighters from 13 towns converged at the farm on the hot, humid day to work to quell the flames.
Webster, who has been living in Belfast since her home burned, gave the money to the Morrill Volunteer Fire Department.
“They were wonderful,” she said of the firefighters. “It was hard to see it burn — but worse to watch them go in again and again.”
Chief Patrick Scribner of the Morrill Volunteer Fire Department said that being Webster’s choice made him and the other firefighters feel “pretty special.”
“The town believes in us,” he said outside the burned-out farm, adding that firefighters from many towns were quick to help out during fire. “We attribute that roof being still on the house to the volunteers in the county that day.”
Bill Bennett, the board chairman of Oakhurst Dairy, said the contest was held to celebrate the 90th birthday of what he calls northern New England’s largest independent, family-owned dairy. Altogether, there were more than 700 entries with stories about milk deliveries, farms and more. Webster’s was an easy choice for the grand prize, he said.
“It was just a great story about a Maine farm family,” Bennett said. “Tricking kids into thinking a cow can give chocolate milk is perfect.”
Chocolate milk is clearly still a hit among Webster’s family members. Her 4-year-old granddaughter, Jillian Webster of Belfast, was running around the hay bales and the yard, clutching two bottles of chocolate milk and shouting happily.
“We definitely go through our fair share of milk,” Webster said.