call or text

315.269.9237

9104 Butler Road
Sauquoit, NY 13456

RSS

Blog

Keeping the Pasture Raised Pork Going

One thing I've come to realize over the last several years is that as an individual farmer, its impossible to do everything. At least without going crazy and sacrificing product quality. This has led to us scaling the farm back to just raw milk, grassfed beef, and some pastured turkeys.  Many of you still want the pastured chicken and pastured pork though. So I have some good news!

Charles Pillbeam has been supplying us with piglets for years for our pastured pork enterprise. This year he will be raising them all the way to finish and we want to make them available to all of you.

Charles just finished his first year of college at Morrisville. Currently he farms with his family on their farm just outside of Holland Patent with plans to go full time after college. He's got a great setup going, the piglets are born and raised on the farm until they go to the butcher. Once they are big enough to respect electric fence they go out on pasture. The Pillbeams have also been working towards growing a portion of the pig feed (in addition to pasture of course) for the pigs right there on their on farm.

We're sending some pigs to the butcher soon and there are still a few slots available. If you are interested in getting a half or whole pig then send me an e-mail or give me a call. I will be handling getting the pigs processed and orders can be picked up here at WintersGrass Farm in Sauquoit. We'll be using the same butcher, Red Barn Meats, which so far everyone has been very happy with.

Prices are as follows:

Half Pig            $4.50 per lb
Whole Pig        $4.25 per lb

Prices are based on hanging weight and include all processing fees. We will also have pigs available this fall. Send me an e-mail if you are interested or have questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

From the soggy but green pastures!

Jordan Winters

New Farmer in the Mohawk Valley

Over the last few years one of the things I've come to realize is that I need to focus on just a couple things to really make sure we are always offering a quality product. Especially with a young family now I just don't have the time to do everything. So WintersGrass Farm will not be raising pastured chicken this year. But this gives us a great opportunity to work with other farmers in the valley because I know many of you still want a close and reliable source for quality pasture raised chicken!

So I'm introducing Danielle Marriotte of Three Sisters Farm in Floyd NY. She and her family have been raising broilers for their family for a couple years now and are ready to start offering them to the community. You can order directly from Danielle her farm website Three Sisters Farm or for those of you in the Clinton and New Hartford area you can order through WintersGrass Farm. I will be sending out and e-mail with an order form soon so look for that. Make sure you welcome Danielle and her family by following her here on Facebook and if you are looking for a local source for Pasture Raised Chicken, be sure to check with her! Here is a letter from Danielle:

Hello! My name is Danielle Marriott. I run Three Sisters Farm, with the help of my family. We are located in Floyd, NY (located between Utica and Rome) in the Mohawk Valley.

This year we will be raising two varieties of meat birds.  Our Cornish Cross X meat chickens are the standard, pasture-raised meat bird and a Red Heritage variety that is said to produce more yellow omega 3 fat and less saturated fat than fast growing breeds. Our poultry are raised out on pasture so they can do what chickens were meant to do. They scratch and peck, eating seeds and grass and insects. They are provided feed, that is all-natural and free from antibiotics and milled fresh in Upstate New York.

I’ll explain the “How” we will raise these marvelous creatures in a minute, but let me explain the “Why” behind “Farmer Danielle” being a farmer.  The answer to this question is so multi-faceted, yet starts with a sincere desire to grow healthy food for my family and my community, while simultaneously doing so in a manner that is good for the earth.  There are tangible health aspects for myself, for my customers and the earth when raising and eating healthy food in a thoughtfully sustainable manner.

As far as “How” we raise our chickens, we have spent countless hours in study and practice understanding how to raise healthy, wholesome, great tasting birds.  The process is a combination of healthy, uncontaminated feed, a natural environment, and caring attention.  Though I could go on a similar rant as Joel Salatin… sharing with you the nightmarish, disease-ridden, chemical and medication-based, filthy conditions commercial chickens are raised in… I would rather focus on all the positive ways our farm raises our birds. Sadly, most consumers don’t realize they are actually paying for this.  My solution is to offer a healthy, natural food item. I welcome any and all to our farm to see our approach.

I will have meat chickens ready for pick-up around the 1st week of July and the 1st week of August, depending upon how well the chickens are growing. The Cornish Cross X birds will be $3.50/lb. and Red Heritage at $4.00/lb. for around a 4 lb. bird. To plan orders, I need to both ask and know how many birds you may be interested in. Please let me know any questions you may have, as well as how many birds you would like to order.

You may contact me any time via telephone, e-mail and by visiting our website!

Thank you so much!
        
Danielle at Three Sisters Farm
Telephone: (315) 868-5774
E-mail: threesistersfarmfloydny@gmail.com
Website: http://threesistersfarmfloydny.weebly.com/

Raw Milk Test Results Update 2

We finally have all four of the test results in and all four of them were clean, no listeria. As I mentioned previously I will be posting the results online so everyone can see what we test for, and what the results are. I have to figure out what format to upload them as plus it usually takes awhile to get the official copy from the state. So it might be a few weeks.

Till then it's back to work! ( not that we ever stopped) We will be open tomorrow (Saturday) from 11:00 to 3:00 and we have plenty of milk, lots of eggs, and ground beef on hand. Also, I will be sending out the bulk beef order form in a few days so look for that it your inboxes! Plus, lots going on right now so I'll have some more news tomorrow, so make sure you check back in. We look forward to seeing you here at WintersGrass Farm!

Raw Milk Test Results Update 1

I know it's been a little quite over here but we have been working hard and are getting back in the swing of things. As of today we've had 2 out of 2 clean milk samples and waiting on results from the third. (should know tomorrow) I plan on being more active here again but for now just wanted to share an e-mail I sent out to our regular milk customers a couple weeks ago:


Just wanted to give everyone an update. We did some testing last week and all samples came back clean of listeria. On top of the regular testing we tested each cow individually to make sure none of them were the problem. All of them tested great. We will be running tests for the next 3 weeks to insure that there is not an ongoing problem. But I am confident that we have it under control and that this will not be a problem going forward. We have been going over everything with from cow health, to milking procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again.

Some of you have asked how serious this was so I thought it would be good to share some info from the CDC. No one has gotten sick from listeria in raw milk since before 1971 ( i'm not sure what data is available from before that time) so in the last almost 50 years it has not been a problem. It seems that the good bacteria in raw milk keeps this one in check. The other factor is that there would need to be high amounts of listeria in the milk in order to get some one sick. Considering how clean our milking process is, it is highly unlikely that there was more than a minute amount actually in the milk. Unfortunately, (even though the state took 8 days to fully run the tests) the state test results only indicate that listeria was present. But no indication of the actual amount was given to me.

Pete Kennedy from Farm to Consumer Defense Fund addressed this a few years ago. The full article is here

"Within the past year, (2007) eleven dairies selling raw milk (six in New York, five in Pennsylvania) and one dairy in California selling raw cream had their sales suspended by the state for positive tests for Listeria monocytogenes (L-mono). In none of the twelve cases did anyone become sick, but in each case a press release was issued informing the public that the dairy’s milk (or cream) had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and that those who had purchased the milk (or cream) should throw it away. The press releases typically warned that L-mono can cause “a serious and sometimes fatal disease called Listeriosis in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems” (FDA News, September 21, 2007—see Press Releases at www.fda.gov). Yet records from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), released in May 2007 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), disclosed not one case of illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes in raw milk or cream between 1971 and 2005. FDA’s own documents reflect the same findings."

I am sorry to have to be talking about this but I want to be fully honest and transparent to all of our customers. I certainly take this seriously and I've been going over everything to make sure we are producing a quality product 100% of the time. One thing I will be doing going forward is posting all of our test results online so that everyone can see how we are doing. I am also looking into joining the Raw Milk Institute, founded by Mark Mcafee of Organic Pastures in California. RMI has a wealth of information from long time experienced raw milk producers  and they work with producers around the country to implement the best procedures and to identify potential week points in the production model.

So all that being said, I am extremely grateful to everyone who has not only been very supportive, but also very eager to start getting milk again. I am pleased to say that we are open for business to all of our members. If you would like to start getting milk again then let me know if you want it on your regular pickup day or if you want it sooner. If you have any questions, please let me know and I will be glad to talk to you.

Sincerely,

Jordan Winter

Raw Milk Recall

One big reason there has been rise in the local farmers producing and selling directly to friends, neighbors, and other members of the community is that people have become more skeptical of big ag and how their food is produced. You all want to know how your food is produced and where it comes from. As always it has been our goal to be open and honest about our production practices. Of course this is easy when everything goes right.

Last week our milk inspector informed us that our milk sample had come back positive for listeria. I am not sure how or why so I have agreed at the request of NYS Ag & Markets to suspend milk sales till we do further testing. We will be taking the next 2 weeks off to do more testing and evaluate our processes, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Some have asked us how often we test. The state requires that our milk be tested for pathogens every 3 months and the state does the testing. All previous tests have been free of listeria. A more general milk quality test is run on a monthly basis which has always come back very good.

I do ask if you still have some milk from us that you will dispose of it and contact me for a full refund.

Raw milk is an amazing food with many benefits and I’ve heard from a number of customers how it has really helped both them and their children. I am committed to producing the very best and safest raw milk possible and doing everything necessary to accomplish that goal.

This should have been up sooner but I was waiting to here from the state on a couple things. Thank you to everyone who has been very supportive. I will keep everyone updated on what’s happening and I hope to be back at it as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Jordan Winters

Winter Hardy

There are two kinds of northerners. Those that can't wait to move to warmer climates, away from the months of snowy days, the subzero temperatures, and the often snowy, cloudy days. Then there are those that not only deal with the winters, but embrace and love them. The crisp clean air, crunchy snow when temps drop well into the single digits, the sunny and cold midwinter days. Knowing that no matter how cold it gets, he is tougher then the cold.

I am one of the latter persons. But one of my favorite things about winter is that spring is so much more beautiful and appreciated after months of cold. I was up very early last Saturday morning and the first thing I noticed when I walked outside was that the smell of spring was in the air. There is no mistaking it and It is one of the most refreshing, welcoming, and energizing times of the year. For what ever reason it has come early this year. The whole week is looking like it will be in the 50s even 60s. It is certainly unseasonably warm for this time of year as it feels more like March now but I aim to make the most of it and enjoy it.

The cows are loving it and I've noticed that as it gets warmer they eat less hay and the milk production goes up. As the snow is quickly melting away the cows wander around looking for bits of grass left over from last season. I'm sure we are still a couple months away from grazing pasture but with this nice weather I think we'll get a head start on fence repairs and fencing in some older pastures that I wasn't able to get to last year.

On another note, I will be taking orders for our Grassfed Beef in the next couple weeks so expect an e-mail soon. Enjoy this amazing spring weather and make sure you get out to see us here at the farm this afternoon from 1- 4:00. We have raw milk, non-gmo eggs and some ground beef. We'll see you at the farm!

An Odd Winter

Today is finally colder and a bit windy. Roughly 18 inches of snow fell on the farm yesterday which is the heaviest snowfall for us this winter season. Generally by this time of year we've already had 6 to 8 weeks of single digit or colder weather. But this winter has been incredibly warm. January was more icy then snowy and one of my hay suppliers even mentioned that he was already tapping his maple trees and boiling down sap. That's a good 6 weeks before the normal start to sugaring season.

The downside to all the "spring thaws" we keep getting is that everything turns to mud which the cows don't like as much and it makes it harder to drive the tractor out on the field to get hay to the cows. Everything is soft and mushy so the tractor tends to sink in a bit.

So today we are enjoying a cold snowy day to mostly stay inside where it's warm, catch up on some reading and office work. The cows venture out fill up on hay as they need and then return to the warm barn to get out of the wind.

If you feel like getting out today we are stocked up on ground beef again, as well as excellent pastured eggs from David and Fannie King! Not to mention we have plenty of delicious raw milk available today. We are open from 1:00 to 4:00 today so if you feel so inclined to brave the cold weather, then stop on by. We'll see you at the farm!

Raw Milk Guarantee

Producing raw milk for customers is a lot of work. It's much harder than just milking the cow, chilling it down in the bulk tank and shipping it away on a truck. Good customers want to know where their raw milk comes from, how the cows are raised, what they are fed and such. If the milk tastes like cow, or sours too quickly, or a dozen other things, then the customers aren't going to like it. The industry is able to remove all these variables by pasteurizing and homogenizing the milk. If the farmer messes up now and then it doesn't get noticed because of this.

With raw milk, if the farmer isn't doing his job right, it can be noticeable in the taste and quality of the milk. We had a few quirks to work through when we first started producing raw milk last winter. Mainly, protein residue was building up on the milk equipment. The only sign of this was the stainless steel looking dull even though it was perfectly clean. But because of this the milk would sour sooner than it should. All it took to fix was switching detergents. With the new detergent, the milk equipment would look nice and shiny after every washing.

Our goal is to produce delicious, nutritious, and clean raw milk from 100% grassfed cows and we've been doing that for close to a year now. That being said we guarantee our milk. If for whatever reason you don't like the taste, flavor or anything about it we will refund your money. We have many happy customers and have had a number of them tell us how surprised they are at how good the milk tastes.

Below is a video by Charlotte Smith on what causes the different off flavors in milk. If you are a raw milk fan you should find it interesting. Please let us know what you think and what your experiences have been in the comments!

 

Farm Store Hours

We are changing the store hours up a little. We are now open on Mondays from 1:00 to 4:00 and Saturdays from 11:00 to 3:00. On Mondays and Saturdays we will have milk bottled and ready to go so you can just stop by. Of course we are also open during the week for anyone who wants to stop by, just give as a heads up so that Jordan can make sure he is around to help you. Subscription members still pick up milk on whatever day you sign up for.

Come on out for some 100% grassfed milk and eggs! We'll see you at the farm!

Best Eggs in the Mohawk Valley

The focus here at WintersGrass Farm is to produce the best 100% Grassfed Raw Milk and Beef that we possible can and I believe we are well on our way to accomplishing that. However, many of you have been asking for some other products and the one that stands out right now is eggs.

So I'm thrilled to say we have started to work with David and Fannie King of Hilltop Organics Farm over in Fort Plain. David and Fannie are Amish farmers who currently produce 100% grassfed milk for Maple Hill Creamery on there beautiful well kept farm on the edge of the Mohawk Valley. David approached me last year about selling eggs for them as he is looking to add another enterprise to keep his young boys busy. It seemed like a great idea so we are going with it.

The chickens are fed NON-gmo grain and will be following the dairy herd around the pasture in a custom eggmobile, similar to the Joel Salatin method. We've been selling eggs to a few customers and so far the response has been that they are better then anything else out there. David was just recently able to increase the egg layer flock so we now have enough eggs to offer to everyone right out of our milk fridge here on the farm.

I will be taking some pictures later this spring and posting them on the website to share how the chickens are raised. In the meantime, come on out to the farm this Saturday and get the best eggs in the Mohawk Valley and some 100% grassfed raw milk. I will have extra milk bottled up for anyone who wants to stop by! I'll see you at the farm!