Saturday, June 28, 2008


Claire wanted me to post this photo. It is staged. She IS feeding a calf. She poses for photographs now. Nothing candid anymore... Wait a minute, I do have a candid shot...

This is her getting milk out of the reciever jar to feed that calf. She was mad I took a picture of her back side. Couldn't pose there! She loves her calves.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting To Big To Fast?

Are there suppose to be two "oo's" in "to" up above? My grammer is slipping as fast as my ability to spell. Can this be lack of sleep?

Yes. I made yoghurt until 1:20 a.m. the other day and until a customer rang, did not even know that some did not set well! The Labneh curd set, assume the rest did and put in cooler. One cooler did have ice blocks in it before so the temp must have dropped too fast. Crud. Tasted good, I just drank some being a cheap yankee, but I am trying to present our business as better quality than the other guy.

I think I expanded too fast and if it had not been for Shayla, I would be in bigger doodoo than I am now. I was smart enough to say, easy now for people interested in becomming new accounts. I need to keep up with who I am selling to now before I expand.

I am also selling aged wheels faster than I am making them. Took a forced day off today to remember who Dave and Claire were. Not bad people. Glad I live with them... Got energy efficient bulbs to replace the rest of the conventional ones. Bought groceries. Cleaned floor in house. Got shelving to replace reach in cooler I needed to fix (and used as a shelving unit).

All in all, we will be fine. I just need to make sure that I hunt down any other plain yoghurts that were cultured milk and replace. That and give extra cheese. I want them happy. I love my products and am frustrated that I sold an inferior product. Will always make right, but...

Monday, June 23, 2008

1/2 gal cream top milk

Remember Hilltown Dairy? Well, we are bottling milk on a small scale again. Only the creamline, which we have to call Cream Top because there is another dairy that trade marked creamline. Oh well, same wonderful milk.

We sell it in the farm store on our farm and at Tom's Natural Foods in Clinton. For Clinton, we ask that you order it ahead of time. They have limited cooler space and would prefer people to order the milk to be dropped off on Thursdays just before the Clinton Farmers Market.

$3 for organic milk in 1/2 gal. jugs at the farm. Tom's does have a minor mark up. $4.25. Regardless, it is still less than conventional UHT orgo milk in the store.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Off to the movies

Dave's first movie was Marry Poppins in the old Clavin Theater in Northampton. Mine was Benji in the old theater in Amherst. Claire's first was Kung fu Panda at the Hamilton Theater. She was SOOOOOOOOOO excited. Dave and I took her to Joe and Vinny;s for lunch and then a movie. The date cost us about $50, but the smile from Claire was worth it. We enjoyed the day off the farm.


I believe in aliases. Abel also goes by:
Abel Hound
Abel the Hound and
Brown Dog

There are some other names generally associated with his bad breath, "woofing up the cows" or teasing Joe that should not be repeated in public.

This is a photo of Abel in his other role as co-piolet in a road trip to MA to take Erin (sister) and family to Logan Airport to fly to Atlanta, GA. He was a bit shy about the camera.

Big Boy Toys

Dave and Claire and working on the draingage system for the manure room. Smelly job, but with the rain, needed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spending Money

Well, the rapairs to the boiler system are paid, now I can pay the rest of the initial system...and someone wanted to know who should work on designing and installing theirs... Let me just say, I don't think many are able to understand creamery needs. You need to understand creamery needs and then educate the handiest boiler guy near you. That our you will get hosed. Even the ones who say they know what they are doing are sketchy. Get the flow diagrams from the vat designer and builder and understand how A LOT of different people are installing their systems. Be SIMPLE. The more bells and whistles, the more toasted you will become when bad things happen.

The best farm refrigeration and 'bout any farm broken thing guy is Dick Barnes. He has a permanent parking spot here. Spending lots on him lately. Next is the small finish cooler (the one that melted the holiday cheeses last year). I will then take the florist cooler out and give it to Tim (Poplar Hedge) for aging his goat cheeses. This will also make the farmstand cooler which will keep my cave at a more sustainable (aka not toasting my newly installed compressor etc) system.

Press today and some more ad spots will let more people know about us. We should be in enough places now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Great Way to Learn Abour Low Carbon Eating

This is a great link to learn about eating a low carbon meal. Interesting.

It is always fun

I should file as a non-profit this year. I'm spending money so fast that it is hard to keep up with it. Cave is not cooling well. Florist cooler has a hard time working at temps lower than 45 degrees F when it is 120 degrees F in the shop.

Maxine had a heifer. Woohoo. She also had a bull. Not so woohoo. Bull was also dead by the time we could get it out. We caught her a little after noon and brought her to the barn. The calf was dead (probably a while) and blocking the canal. All Dave felt were feet. It was a lot to get the calf around and pull it out. The heifer is fine.

Erin is not officially in GA. A lot to clean up at Mom's.

Marcia is not so good. Still in Cooley Dickenson. Probably until Thursday now. They are working on helping her with pain and some other bits. It is interesting how Dr.'s have a hard time dealing with pain management.

Shirley (Dave's aunt) was up. We like visiting with her. Got to see her yesterday after they went to church.

Hotter than heck out. Steam rising from the ground. Finally got some decent rain. At least a breeze was coming through the valley.

Had visitors out to the farm today. Will talk more about that later. Have to fly...

German Farmers are Doing the Right Thing, Can U.S. Farmers do the Same?

Next Shortage: Ice Cream?
Supplies in Germany could melt away if dairy farmers continue their protest against low milk prices. Milk and cream are getting scarce

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

To write letter to Steven Chadwicks

Write to this fellow. Help in efforts to save to Arapawa Goat from extinction.

Chadwick's address is:

No Give from Government (NZ) on Arapawa Goats

Gordon Copeland
Press Release For Immediate Release
Thursday 29th May 2008
No Give from Government on Arapawa Goats
Independent MP Gordon Copeland today expressed his deep disappointed that the Minister of Conservation has, once again, ruled out the possibility of the Arapawa goat herd being allowed to remain on conservation land. He was responding to a letter received this week from Minister, Steve Chadwick.

"This letter does not follow through on the tenor of the discussions which I held with the Minister on 9 April 2008," said Mr Copeland.

"At that stage the Minister indicated her willingness to work with the Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton, who has a portfolio responsibility for rare breeds, with a view of developing a 'whole of Government'solution to the ongoing national and international controversy concerning the preservation of this unique breed of beautiful goats."

"The inflexibility now displayed by the Minister is simply incomprehensible. It is possible that the Arapawa goats have descended directly from a breeding pair left on the island by Captain James Cook.

They are therefore a beautiful part of New Zealand's natural history."In these circumstances I am baffled at the intransitence which has been shown by the Department of Conservation around this issue. Indeed I believe their attitude is actually contrary to the Conservation Act itself which defines 'conservation' as 'the preservation and protection of natural and historic resources for the purpose of maintaining their intrinsic values, providing for their appreciation and recreational enjoyment by the public, and safe guarding the options of future generations. ' ".

"They seem to disregard entirely the reality that this breed of goats is a natural and historic resource worthy of protecting and safe guarding for future generations. I find this attitude both arrogant and ignorant in the extreme.

"It is also deeply disappointing that the Minister has chosen to convey her decision to me in such blunt terms just eight days after the death of Betty Rowe who devoted some 30 years of her life to providing a sanctuary for these goats.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is plenty of room within the DoC estate on Arapawa Island both to safe guard this breed of goats for future generations and to preserve the biodiversity of the regenerating flora which, in any event, is completely fenced off from the grazing area of the goats."


Gordon Copeland
Independent MP

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Accounts

We are seasonal dairy farmers and cheese makers. Until we develop enough of a cave inventory, we are stuck with the need to wait until much of our herd has freshened and cheeses are aged. Often this means that money only comes the second half of the year. It is getting better, but sometimes it gets rough. That is why I do educational programs and consulting. Kinda makes the bridge between marketing seasons.

I am hoping that I can eliminate much of that extra non-farm producing income in 2009. I love watching others grow into cheese making, but I also want our business to become what it can be. The goal is to be at 10,000# cheese in 2010.

Every May/June begins the sales calls season. I start to ring old accounts and tell them of my availability of product. With last years umpfs (basically health problems in family since 2006) I am very grateful when I get orders. We make an excellent product, so it does sell itself to a great extent, but I do have to work hard to get a couple accounts back. My fault and I will remedy this shortly.

For the last few years, I have had a 95% reorder every year. This is pretty darn good. Two accounts on my website are not doing cheese this year, Cheese Shop at Wine Sense and Comistibles. I picked up four new accounts so far, so that is good. We have also tried a new approach towards Hamilton hoping that those people would come to the farm. A few things have made for creative challenges that I will have to overcome. I like a challenge.

So far, we will have product:

  • At the Farm Store on Center Road in Madison (look for sign)

  • Tom's Natural Foods in Clinton

  • Peter's Cornucopia in New Hartford

  • Deansboro Superette in Deansboro

  • Syracuse Real Food in Syracuse

  • Green Hills in Syracuse

  • Circa in Cazenovia

  • Clinton Farmer's Market in Clinton

After I come back from MA to get Erin and family to airport I will be working on following through on other accounts. If any ideas come to mind, I'd like a shout.

Looks good. Now I have to make a decision on an intern by tomorrow.