Friday, October 30, 2009

Beef Marketing Tour, December 4th

Join us for an outing to three beef farms in the Hudson Valley. Each farm is located in Columbia County and each takes their own spin on marketing. We’ll learn about direct sales to customers on the farm and at the farmer’s market, restaurant and retail sales and cattle sales. Meet up locations include Delhi, Stamford and Windham. A Liberty meet up location will also be arranged if there is sufficient interest.

We will start out the day at Sir William Angus in Craryville. The farm is operated by Justin and Bruce Conover. The Conovers raise registered Angus and hogs and sell their products on the farm as well as to restaurant and retail buyers. Registered cattle are also available for sale. Next, we will visit Trowbridge Angus in Ghent. Operated by Phil Trowbridge and family, this farm is known for their cattle sales throughout the region. Finally, we’ll stop at Grazin’ Angus Acres just up the road in Ghent. Dan Gibson grass feeds and finishes his cattle and sells at farmer’s markets, on the farm and to buyers.

The registration fee for the day’s transportation and lunch is $15.

Please contact Leslie Deysenroth at or (607) 865-7017 to register.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Michael Shuman presentation

Over 100 community members attended a recent presentation by Small Mart Revolution author Michael Shuman. Organized by Farm Catskills with support from Pure Catskills and other regional businesses, Mr. Shuman discussed the importance of local businesses to a receptive Delhi audience.

Amy Kenyon of Farm Catskills introduces Mr. Shuman to the crowd.

The audience at the American Legion hall in Delhi.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Views from the field.

Mark Harvey of Zephyr Dairy in South New Berlin preparing for a fall planting with his draft horses. Photograph courtesy of local New Berlin photographer Marji Lexton.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pure Catskills Member Profile: Dirie Dairy Farm

Mary Anne Dirie helps a neighbor fill her milk containers from the bulk tank.

Head over Shandelee Mountain outside Livingston Manor in Sullivan County and you’ll notice a new sign along the road announcing, “Raw Milk Sold Here.” Since April, Richard and Mary Ann Dirie have been retailing raw milk from their farmstead. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets approved their license to sell the milk that is neither pasteurized nor processed. The Dirie’s worked with their milk inspector to ensure everything was in order for the license. The Dirie’s are now one of 25 farms approved by the State to sell raw milk. An upright cooler already in the milkhouse storing pastured chicken eggs now doubles
as the milk cooler – a natural fit. Surprisingly, the Dirie’s incurred no additional costs in acquiring the license or working with their inspector.

Customers can purchase one-gallon of Dirie Dairy Farm milk for $5; for customers bringing their own container, milk costs $4. Smaller containers are welcome and orders for five or more gallons receive a discount. A limited supply of farm-fresh eggs is also available at $3 per dozen. The Dirie’s encourage customers to stop by anytime since they’re almost always around taking care of chores on the farm.

Richard’s parents started the farm operation 1944. Currently, the Dirie’s are milking 40 to 50 Holsteins that eat a grass-based diet of pasture from May through November. Hay and silage hold the herd through winter months. Richard’s brother, Jim lives next door and produces maple syrup that is also available in the farm store and local retailers. Keeping with the family tradition, son Doug is now enrolled at SUNY -Cobleskill studying Agriculture.

The Dirie’s participated in “Farmstock” this summer, a series of dairy farm tours partially funded by Pure Catskills. Their tour was successful in connecting them with new customers and bringing families to the farm. Many visitors were excited to introduce their children to the cows, chickens and pigs around the barnyard.

According to Mary Ann, a large part of the raw milk business has been educating customers about the basics of farming. Many customers have questions like “Does the herd only produce milk seasonally?” or “How are the animals fed?” A few educated customers are purchasing several milk gallons at a time and processing their own cheese, yogurt or butter at home. Overall, the largest challenge for raw milk sales has been maintaining a consistent stream of customers. The Dirie’s state license limits sales to on-farm only, making for limited convenience to those not already passing by. To accommodate their customers’ needs, the Dirie’s are flexible
allowing morning container drop-offs and afternoon custome pick ups of freshly bottled milk.

The farm is located at 1345 Shandelee Road between the villages of Livingston Manor and Youngsville. For more information, contact the Dirie's at (845) 482-4301.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Buy Local Month success!

New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Patrick Hooker signed the pledge at Maple Shade Farm in Delhi.

A big thanks to everyone for their support of September’s Buy Local Month! We received a total of 253 pledges for local food in one month alone. The total dollars pledged added up to $181,027! Buy Local Month was also an opportunity to discuss Catskills farming with Commissioner of Agriculture Patrick Hooker, Assemblyman Pete Lopez and Assemblyman Cliff Crouch.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Members in the news: Lucky Dog Farm

The Fall, 2009 issue of Edible Hudson Valley is out and Lucky Dog Farm in Hamden is featured on the cover. Read the article to learn about the evolution of the farm and store over the past decade.