Friday, April 1, 2011

Views from the field: Gideon Frisbee

The sap house at the Frisbee Farm. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Pickens.

Today's "View from the field" is a spring update from Gideon Frisbee of Riverdale Farm & Forest in Delhi. Riverdale was the recipient of a Pure Catskills grant to diversify their line of maple products through the purchase of a filter press. The farm is now able to market their syrup in a wider variety of sizes and containers.

Greetings from Riverdale Farm & Forest in Delhi NY. We’ve made it through the month of March, dodged the latest snowstorms, and are thinking SPRING! It is a busy time of the year for us in many aspects of our operation. We have two new calves in our grass fed beef herd and more to come any day. Our first batch of feeder pigs will be here this weekend and meat chickens are coming next month. Most of our time right now is spent in the sap house, producing pure maple syrup from our 800-900 taps. It has been an excellent year and it is not over yet. Many producers in the area are very happy with the season, especially after a very poor season last spring.

We are excited this year to be using our new 7” short bank filter press that we were able to purchase with the assistance of a Pure Catskills Sustainable Agricultural Development Grant in 2010. This machine has allowed us to expand our packaging capabilities to not only include our usual Catskill Mountain Pure plastic jugs but also new decorative glass containers. The use of a filter press allows us to package a beautifully clear product with no fine particles or sugar sand that could have easily been seen in a glass container otherwise. We have focused on packaging in a 250 ml size glass maple leaf which has been very popular amongst our customers. The fancier packaging is great for gifts, and our customers are buying more syrup than usual for this reason.

As we enter into April, we hope that Mother Nature cooperates and extends our already successful maple season a bit longer. If not, there is always plenty more work around the farm to be done!

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