Sunday, July 27, 2008


I went to this workshop Hosted by NOFA NY, Lightning Tree Farm and Wild Hive Farm. I get rather obsessed with biodiversity in livestock, but equally important in biodiversity in crops. We had this opportunity at the end to view the various test plots of the heritage wheats, ancient wheats and re-looked at commercial varieties from Canada. The one Elizabeth Dyck from NOFA-NY got pumped about was the Emmer. This is a Mid-East variety that has some real possibilities for organic production. It is not so input driven like the commercial varieties we have today. It is also probably one of the oldest wheat strains. Really pretty in this test field of about 1/4 acres of Emmer.

Beck from Aunt Bee's farm as also at the workshop as was Matt Grove from Bagel Grove (baker). It was good to see others in Central NY interested in this project.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tim's Rooster

Tim is the same guy that bought Peppermint Patti. Some day he will get to milking his goats and making cheese. He does our AI work and preg checks our cattle. Quite good at what he does. Claire likes to get her balloon rooster from Tim when he is done. Claire also has a stuffed rabbit names Road Kill.

We do have a therapy fund for her. We think she is smart enough to get into college with scholarships...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Micro dairy concept

I think I like this Frank Kipe. I honestly don't know him well, but he is into the idea that a peron with 5 cows can make a living making and selling dairy products to their local community. I talked to him a bit yesterday about his filler, then mobile dairy system and basically about all of his ideas on this micro-dairy concept.

Seems like a sustainable concept and a viable concept for a community that is interested in keeping a farmer local. Apparently it costs about $12,000 plus a little for the equipment and is PMO (means meets federal regs). 100 people at $150 can buy and ship the equipment. Another small investment and the building goes around it... See where I am going? I think that this can be a sustainable community/farmer approach to supplying a local community with a local dairy product. All legal and on the up and up.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Consumers and food systems

Went to a conference/workshop yesterday. It was about the food system in NY. Interesting. Did get to identify some interesting people and watch the same old same old go though their steps.

The biggest thing that came out of it for me was a comment from a Veg cooperative representative during the "supply side" break out. He was at a meeting of suits for a supermarket in New England. Apparently it costs $12,000 on average to take one refridgerated tractor trailer from CA to the northeast! That was an eye opener.

Shayla did the Clinton Farmers Market for me. I have her write down questions and comments from customers so I can address them in a timely manner. She got a doosy this time...

"I use to love cheese. Cheese used to love me. Thien I had a heart attack and Doc said no more saturated fats. It was the hardest thing I'd given up since sex..." She signed it creepy old man 7/17/08.

You get a lot of things at markets. It is humbling to understand the disconnect between consumers and farmers at times. The above one was funny, but some should be a study of consumer education about where their food comes from.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Meet Shayla

Shayla is my intern/help for the summer. She is a local girl and learned about Camembert and Brie while in France for a learning immersion program at University. She just made her first batch of Camembert yesterday. She will be marketing for me at Clinton Farmer's Market on Thursday. She has been there for a few week and aside from me bothering her the last two weeks (not necessary), she has been there by herself.

I hope she keeps cheese making. We need more great cheesemakers with her wonderful drive and personality. We also love her smile!

This picture makes me remember that I really do need a new market tent.

Sissy the Chicken Keeping an Eye on Things

Baby Goats are Way Cute

Baby goats with Claire are out of Carmella. Born last night. The other two in the paddock are Phragmite's baby goats. She had them last week. Waaaaay cute. Claire wanted me to post their pictures.

Becoming a Slave to the Fresh Stuff

A friend and cheese maker refered to fresh cheeses (goat in her case) as cocaine for the cheese maker. It is terribly addictive to turn on the steam boiler (in my case), heat it, cool it, make it, sell it, deposit the cash... The reason why I make cheese becomes second.

We make fresh mozzarella (my first cheese), quark (my second), labneh, yoghurt in 3 flavours, feta (when I get around to it) and my ultimate high dunlop curd.

I made raw milk gouda in kilo sized hoops yesterday. I had to. Dave was not back from MA yet. He had to go. He and Claire. I had to show Shayla how to make Camembert. I had to milk cows and do chores. I had to walk dogs. I had to feed chickens and mind goats... Gouda was a soul filling cheese. I needed to make it.

I am now behind and need to catch up on fresh product. Oh yah, and now this milk. I need to do yoghurt and fresh cream top milk. Sucks to make great cheese sometimes. People want it and I have to make it!!

I hope the parts and bits to the cave come in soon so that I can go into recovery and make the aged stuff again. I can see my work for a while before it is sold. Number in the bank balance don't help the soul, the product carefully turning on the shelf, waxed, washed... I can see it, feel it, smell it, watch it grow into a full potential. Not make it and pack it in the coolers and take the money...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rain rain go away come again when we are done with hay

I think I've come upon a new rhyme. First a drought. That makes pastures consider going dorment. Then rain. Rain when we are suppose to be getting our hay off. We only lost 5-6 passed on the Phillips lot south of the farm. Dave plans to try to cut some more off tomorrow. I hope it works.

Our neighbor to the north better not start mowing. There is always this guy in a farming/rural community that no matter what year or weather conditions, the instant they mow a certain field, or in this guys case, mow... there is sure to be rain.

Marcia not well again. Between rain and concern over her health, he is going in circles fast. I am just tired, but in a good way. Cheesing is going well. Shayla, my new help is awsome! As an employer I am starting to understand the importance of mistakes being my lack of communication. . She is a natural!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Market Updates and all

Green Hills and the Farmer's Market at Green Hills is picking up. I am seeing some of the same faces every week. We tried to stay an hour later, but only 1-2 customers were there for the last hour. I think we will petition to come home at 6pm. I also noted the happy conversations about people buying from Green Hills during the week when we are not there.

Tom's Natural Foods is also picking up. They are the only retail location where we will sell the 1/2 gal. fluid cream top milk. Reserve your jug with Bonnie or Tom. The milk is pasteurized to 145-148 degrees F. You can make any fresh cheeses, yoghurt or drink it. They also have most of our other cheeses.

Clinton Farmer's Market is a happy place. I have to admit it is one of my more favorite locations to market. It may be the Cannoli's that I can buy across from my stall, or the level of buying food locally education being better in that market area. A pleasant place to have conversations with customers.

Peter's Cornucopia is new to us and I have to do tastings to bring sales up. I am a little suprised that it did not pick up as fast, but I think I need to set aside some real time to do face time with customers. It has helped the Clinton people who frequent Tom's to learn more about what they are eating with positive results. I will talk to Peter about tastings tomorrow.

Hamilton Farmer's Market... My cheeses can be found at Aunt Bee's stall. Not this weekend as she is going to be at a Family Reunion and I desperately need to make more cheeses. I am FLYING through inventory and need to make cheese this weekend. Made a lovely batch of Dunlop on Easter (sold at Green Hills today). I still have my loyal customer base.

I will talk about some of the other market areas tomorrow. I think my "off switch" came on. I am tremendously tired. Will get Clinton ready in a.m. Shayla will do the market and I will make yoghurt. Funny thing is that I am borrowing a bread proofer that another local dairy who is not in business used to make sheep yoghurt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What are these hoops?

A fellow in Central NY bought a storage container full of these hoops. From Queensboro plant a number of years ago. He'd like to know what they are. There is this collar that slips up and it appears that there are these pins that hold the collar in place? The lid and bottom are removable and I am not sure if they push the collar down while pressing or if the followers are missing. Really neet hoop.

Any ideas?

IH 706 For Sale

Dave is selling his beloved 706. Nice tractor. $4900.