Combine vegetable oil, thyme, and Dijon mustard in a large bowl and mix together. Season the meat with salt and pepper and toss in the marinade, cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Remove the meat from the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large, deep-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add a tablespoon of butter, and brown the meat pieces on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Deglaze the pan with the champagne vinegar. Add the chicken stock and the residual marinade in the bowl. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and then a lid. Cook over the lowest heat , about 20 minutes. Flip the meat over. Cover with parchment and lid and continue cooking 10 minutes. Add the scallions. Then cook until the meat is done, about 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and cover to keep warm. Reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. Stir in half the tarragon and creme fraîche. If the sauce seems too watery, put the pan back on the heat and reduce it until it is thick. While the sauce is reducing, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the radishes and brown all over. Season with salt and pepper. Add the radish leaves, toss and then add the peas, honey, the remaining teaspoons of vinegar and remaining tarragon and toss to coat.
Recipe adapted from hegarumfactory.net
Taking The Next Step
When we became ready to expand the Kriemhild brand and develop another product we searched our stomachs for something unique but also something that echoed the qualities of our butter: high butterfat percentage, full fat, and grass-grazed. We settled on crème fraîche, our cultured heavy cream. To turn this dream into cultured cream, we needed the help of our second dairy co-packer: Sunrise Family Farms in Norwich, NY.
Opened for business in 1999 by Dave and Susan Evans, Sunrise Family Farms collects milk from multiple dairy farms, organic and conventional, in the surrounding Chenango County area, processes, and packages it for over 10 different private dairy labels. Sunrise Family Farms is neither a large manufacturer, nor a tiny one. This mid-size operation makes it possible for them to serve national brands, and at the same time package for smaller local brands (like us!) allowing them to grow their production and diversify their product line. The creamery currently runs multiple shifts, 24 hours a day, and employs a team of more than 50 dedicated workers.
Being familiar with their high-quality yogurts, and with their availability of local, grass-grazed cream, Sunrise Family Farms was our go-to for co-packing our crème fraîche.
The process for making crème fraîche is similar to making yogurt or sour cream, but even more simple. When the milk arrives to sunrise family farms, it is pasteurized at a high temperature, 161 degrees fahrenheit, for a short amount of time, 15 seconds. This technique, known as high temperature short time (HTST), is the most common method of pasteurization in the dairy industry. (It is a separate method from Ultra pasteurization (UHT), which holds milk at 280 degrees fahrenheit for 2 seconds or vat pasteurization which holds milk at 145 degrees for 30 minutes)
After pasteurization, milk intended for crème fraîche production is held at 80 degrees fahrenheit. The cream is separated using a centrifugal cream separator, and the remaining skim milk is used to produce other products within the facility. The cream is moved to a vat, and a mix of cultures is added. The mix of cultures is different from yogurt. The main cultures in yogurt, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, are heat loving bacteria. Therefore, when making yogurt, the milk is fermented between 110 and 115 degrees fahrenheit.
The cultures in crème fraîche include L. cremoris, L. lactis, and L. biovar diacetylactis, and often others. When these bacteria are added to cream, they consume the lactose, the sugar found in milk, and convert it into energy leaving lactic acid as a byproduct. The lactic acid decreases the pH of the cream, making it inhospitable to other competing bacteria that encourage spoilage, and changing the flavor. It is L. biovar diacetylactis, specifically, that produces the buttery flavor you know to be distinctive of crème fraîche.
After the culture is added, the cultured cream is sent through a pipe into a rotary filler that fills and encloses individual tubs. As the units come off the filler they are brought to a well ventilated incubating room that is held at 80 degrees fahrenheit as the cream “sets”. As the pH decrease due to the increased production of lactic acid by the live bacteria, proteins in the cream begin to unfold. This process thickens the cream as it incubates from 12 to 18 hours before it is packaged, refrigerated, and then picked up by Kriemhild.
Co-packers are essential to the dairy industry
Even though you might buy a national brand, local co-packers can make it possible that the milk in your food is sourced from local farmers. For smaller businesses, like us, co-packers can be a significant stepping stone on the way to their own processing facility. Sunrise Family Farms, in particular, serves as an important outlet for a dairy rich region and provides jobs in an otherwise economically struggling area. As a fellow small business, we are proud to have Sunrise Family Farms as our co-packer. We both strive to support family dairies in our community.
Stocking our farm store, the Kriemhild Kupboard, was an evolutionary process. There are so many great retail establishments in the surrounding area that carry equally-great local products (including our own), and we also set the goal of supporting our local farmers and food artisans. Although we wanted your shopping experience at the Kupboard to be familiar, we did not want it to feel redundant.
With that vision, we set out with the intent to build on what we make at Kriemhild and see where that road would take us. So, naturally, we started with your favorite - Meadow Butter.
Made with Kriemhild Butter
Butter may be our end-product, but for some of our wholesale customers, it’s just the beginning of their culinary creations.
We often get asked by our customers if we make flavored butter, which is a fair question. Although Kriemhild doesn’t, we know someone who does - and does so with our butter to boot. D’Arcy Butters is a food business just a skip and hop over in Hudson, NY who mixes our Meadow Butter with locally sourced herbs and spices to make unique flavored butters.
And flavored butter is not the only food where our butter acts as the main ingredient. Black and Bolyard, food crafters in Brooklyn, NY cook and caramelize our Meadow Butter, and then they infuse, season, and whip the final product to create a butter with intense, deep flavors that can be used in place of plain butter in almost any dish.
We admire these fellow food crafters for their creativity and commitment to wholesome, flavorful and nutrient dense food. Carrying their products in the Kriemhild Kupboard felt like a natural extension of our company values, with the additional positive of introducing our customers to different flavors and methods of applying butter to their meals.
Better with Butter
When you step into the Kupboard, it may appear at first glance that the selection of food we carry is incidental. Yet, if you look closely enough, you’ll find that the food collection is carefully curated to complement our Meadow Butter. For instance, Mosher Farm’s popcorn -- better with butter; Johnston’s Honey Bee Farm Honey -- make your own flavored butter; Eggs -- because if you’re still cooking your eggs in some sort of oil then you’re being severely deprived; even Fojo Coffee, which may seem a like an odd one out, but add a dab of unsalted butter and you just turned your cup of joe into an energy drink!
Keep it Crème Fraîche
Don’t worry, we didn’t forgot about your favorite crème fraîche. Many of the non-dairy foods we sell pair perfectly with our cultured cream. With some Mizrahi Manor Granola and Maple Syrup, crème fraîche can act as a perfect base for a parfait. We carry a wide variety of spice and cheesecake mixes from Halladay’s Harvest Barn for those who want to dip (pun definitely intended) their toes into the world of crème fraîche, or those seasoned crème consumers who want to whip up a quick dish. Grab a bag of Fruit of the Fungi dried Mushrooms and Flour City Pasta and you have yourself a fantastic creamy pasta entree.
There is an obvious theme that strikes most people when they visit the Kupboard: we stock many forms of dairy. Since we’re only able to produce Meadow Butter and Creme Fraiche at this time, we feel having the Kriemhild's Kupboard is a good opportunity to feature other regional dairy processors whose work complements our own, and perhaps share some attention with a few of the lesser-known producers or there.
For instance, Jones Family Farms Gelato is a dessert gaining traction in the area, and we can certainly understand why. They offer a great selection of unique flavors and even more interesting, they make their Gelato from the milk of multiple animals. You can choose whether to have flavors made in traditional cow milk gelato, or branch out into goat or sheep milk. There’s even Sorbetto for those who may enjoy a dairy-free treat.
You may have seen that we carry Grassy Cow cheese curds and East Hill Farms cheese because, first of all, they’re really good tasting cheeses, and secondly, we identify with them as a fellow small, grass-based dairy producers.
If you've stopped by a farmers market lately, you may learn that we connected with Trimona Organic Yogurt through our wonderful co-packer, Sunrise Family Farms. This bulgarian yogurt is made with the milk from several farms across Chenango County. We loved the its taste, its imaginative flavors, and its cultural roots. We felt it would be similar to a yogurt we would have liked to make. For those attending the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, Cazenovia Farmer’s Market, and the Pleasantville Farmer’s Market, we will be carrying Trimona Yogurt for sale alongside our own Meadow Butter and crème fraîche.
We’re hoping you’ll find that, with its selection of responsibly-made and regionally-sourced food, the Kupboard will be a place of culinary introduction or inspiration for those who drop in. If you stop to shop, you’ll definitely find something a little different than you would at a larger grocer, and a bit more unique than every other farm store. We searched far and wide to make sure that would be the case.
We reap what we sow.
Because of your (our customers’) patronage and word-of-mouth advertising over the years, Kriemhild is honored to have over 150 wholesale partners across New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (each of which replenish numerous super markets, restaurants, bakeries, and independant grocers), as well as many more retailers we personally deliver to. Because of you, we have proudly grown into a regional dairy presence.
And while we’re certainly thrilled to watch our wholesale business grow, we never want to lose sight of our stomping -- or rather, our “churning” grounds. While our seasonal Meadow Butter and our Crème Fraîche are carried in many stores throughout the northeast United States, and are also available for purchase online, there’s still something to be said for the level of familiarity between producer and consumer that comes from the intimacy of in-person-transactions. It’s one of the reasons why we, as well as many of you, enjoy attending farmer’s markets. We get to see you in person and experience the joy you have for the food we make, to answer your questions, and to hear your feedback firsthand.
Our farm store The Kriemhild Kupboard began as a natural extension of the familiarity that we embrace at farmers’ markets. There’s a sign along route 12B, not far from Red Gate Farm, our sole Meadow Butter supplier, that marks the site of our future creamery; the sign optimistically says “Kriemhild Creamery”. Until creamery construction begins, we use the site as inventory storage for future Meadow Butter and Crème Fraîche shipments, and also as our administrative headquarters. Yet, many of you had suggested that it would be optimal to be able to buy your butter directly from Kriemhild HQ.
So, with timber harvested from Red Gate Farm, and hard work from Amish carpenter Roman Troyer, the Kriemhild Kupboard was built last spring. Now, you can pick up not only our Meadow Butter and Crème Fraîche as you pass by, but there’s also a variety of dairy delights including but not limited to: cheese curds from the Grassy Cow, Trimona grass fed bulgarian yogurt, Black and Bolyard brown butter and, our team favorite, Jones Family Farm gelato. Indeed, the Kupboard has given us a great outlet not only to market our food, but the food from our favorite farmers and food artisans as well.
If you visit the Kupboard, you’ll notice that the store is completely unstaffed. We choose to run the store on the honor system, so customers are responsible for tallying their own total and making their own change (don’t worry, we provided a calculator and a note pad). We believe that you trust us to make your food, and so we’ll trust you to pay for it. Of course, we’re sure you recognize the risk in leaving money and product unattended, and then advertise that both are there. But so far the experience has been positive, and so our mutual trust continues.
We are starting to realize that the Kupboard doesn’t just offer convenience for locals, but a sense of community as well. It seems our efforts to be transparent and accountable are being echoed by our customers. For instance, Kupboard visitors are not required or instructed to write down what products they buy, but they often do us the courtesy. We’ve had weeks when the income from the Kupboard has been short, only to receive a check in the mail a few days later to square up an I.O.U left in the cash box. People are not just paying for their food, but going out of their way to perpetuate the honor system.
More consumers want to know how their food is made, to the point where they want to consume their food in the place where it is made. You want to eat bagels in bakeries, drink beer at breweries, and have lunch at butcher shops. You want to know who’s handling your food. And we get it. It’s not just about ensuring the quality of the food (although that is a significant part). It’s about feeling like a part of a community and offering your contribution to support good foodcraft.
We look forward to the day when you can stop by to enjoy a bite at the Kupboard and gaze upon our new and fully-functional creamery, reveling in the knowledge that the people who are making your food possess integrity and share your values. And while you sit there taking it all in and savoring the flavors, it hits you that as a customer you had a part in building an honor system that’s much, much more than just a simple farm store.
-- Ellen Fagan
As the Butter Churns
Author: Ellen Fagan
Farm and Outreach Coordinator