Memorial Day has arrived, and summer is on its heels.
As we welcome the season’s extra daylight and warmer weather, we remember that summer has different meanings for everyone. To Kriemhild it may be all about farmer’s markets and butter making, yet for many youngsters we know that summer means summer camp.
There’s one summer camp in particular that we keep in mind all summer, and if you frequent to our self-service farm store, the Kriemhild Kupboard, you might know which one we’re always thinking of. As a triple-bottom-line company that equally values profits, planet, and people, we are always searching for ways to continue giving back into the communities that support us. To this end, 10% of the Kupboard’s profits are donated to the Fiver Children’s Foundation. Considering its geographic range and core values, Fiver Children’s Foundation felt like a perfect fit with our values.
Camp Fiver is a 129-acre refuge secluded in the woodlands of Poolville, NY. Every summer, the camp welcomes hundreds of children from underserved communities throughout New York City and Central New York to spend 2-4 weeks in a character building program. Camp Fiver offers your typical summer camp activities - swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding - and at the same time campers develop skills through programs such as public speaking, health, community building, and environmental education.
Fiver’s Summer Camp program is just one part of the Fiver Children’s Foundation’s 10-year commitment to its attendees. The Foundation provides year round youth development through school programing and job training, serving approximately 500 children and their families each year. Most of the children attending Camp Fiver hail from communities in NYC, yet the Camp also draws in youths from other school districts as well, including those that are nearby Kriemhild
Apart from wanting to support such a successful foundation that shares our values, Kriemhild has a personal connection to the Fiver Children’s Foundation as well. Bruce and Nancy Rivington, co-owners of Kriemhild Dairy Farms and operators of Red Gate Farm (our Meadow Butter supplier), have a Camp Fiver alumni in their family. From age 10, Bruce and Nancy’s son Jamie Rivington attended Camp Fiver.
“I think that that's really good for all the kids that go because it gives you a different perspective from what you’re used to seeing where you are,” Jamie recalls. “I think my favorite thing about the camp is that as you come back year after year, you get to see the same groups of people that you started with and you all go through everything together.”
As of this publication, over $600 has been donated to Fiver Children’s Foundation through the Kriemhild Kupboard since it opened in the spring of 2016. We’re excited to continue nurturing our relationship with the Fiver Children’s Foundation, and we take pride in supporting the development of community-minded, environmentally-focused, courageous young people.
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 and Victoria Peila