Segis Pietertje Prospect was born on a farm near Meridian in 1913 and was owned by George V. Leighton. He sold the Holstein to E. A. Stuart, the CEO of Carnation. She became Stuart’s favorite cow. He nicknamed her Possum Sweetheart.
The company’s tagline for many years was “Carnation Condensed Milk, the milk from contented cows.” E.A. believed deeply in the philosophy that happy cows produced more milk. On the wall in the cow barn on the Carnation Farms spread, were painted these words, written by William D. Hoard:
“The RULE to be observed in this stable at all times, toward the cattle, young and old, is that of patience and kindness….
Remember that this is the home of mothers. Treat each cow as a mother should be treated. The giving of milk is a function of motherhood; rough treatment lessens the flow. That injures me as well as the cow. Always keep these ideas in mind in dealing with my cattle.”
No cow was more contented than Possum Sweetheart. At least none showed their contentment more in the production of milk. Sweetheart put out 37,380.1 pounds of milk in 365 days. The average production for a milk cow at the time was about 1,500 to 1,900 pounds of milk in that period of time.
The Idaho born and bred Holstein lived to be 12 years old, which is a long life for a cow. In 1928 E.A. Stuart commissioned a sculpture of his favorite cow. Well-known sculptor Frederick Willard Potter carved Possum Sweetheart’s life-size likeness into marble.
The sculpture to a cow who produced her own weight in milk every three weeks can still be seen today at Carnation Farms, Carnation, Washington.