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
If you haven’t learned by now, Kriemhild Dairy is intimately connected with Red Gate Farm, our sole seasonal Meadow Butter supplier. Farmers Bruce and Nancy Rivington own 90% of Kriemhild and have had an essential role in developing our values and guiding the direction of our small agricultural business. In fact, we all would consider being able to access and experience the farm a job perk: we get to interact with their beautiful, and curious, herd of cows, have walking privileges to the rolling pastures, and occasionally get roped into doing some farm work.
You, or someone you know, might even be familiar with the farm. Kriemhild and Red Gate Farm often collaborate on farm events to encourage people to engage with the staff and animals who contribute to the production of their food. Red Gate hosted its first Calving Day this year, but many visitors’ first experience of the Farm is during Madison County’s Open Farm Day. Red Gate Farm has been participating in Open Farm Day for the 8 years the event has existed, this year will be no different. But, likely unbeknownst to visitors, 17 years ago, Red Gate’s rolling green pastures looked very different than they do today.
From Canada to CNY
When the Rivington Family moved from their dairy farm in Ontario, Canada to New York, they were on a clear-cut mission: to graze. The Rivingtons wanted to increase the amount their cows could graze, and ultimately switch to seasonal dairying for human and herd wellbeing. Although the Canadian supply management policies promised consistent revenue for Canadian dairy farmers, the system would not accept the variable amount of milk produced by a grazing seasonal dairy. With aspirations of expanding their farm and embracing seasonal grazing, the Rivingtons began to search the Empire State for their new home.
Nancy and Bruce visited about 18 different farms hoping to find one that was suited for grazing. Mainly, they were searching for at least 400 acres of contiguous land so as to make it possible to move a herd easily from one pasture to the next. This was more of a challenge than expected. “Real estate agents have real funny definitions of contiguous,” Bruce recalls.
It was in the depths of winter when the Rivingtons were introduced to Red Gate Farm. Although the land was buried in snow, the Rivingtons knew it was the farm they were looking for. They bought the farm in 2000. Red Gate Farm was a dairy farm historically, but most of its 512 acres had been in conventionally managed corn and alfalfa crops for almost 3 decades. Although rotating corn and alfalfa crops is an effective practice for those who strive to grow an abundance of those two crops, this type of management can take its toll on the land.
Bringing Back The Grass
Growing a single or limited amount of crops on the same land quickly depleted the soil of its fertility, making it necessary to apply chemical fertilizers to just as quickly supply the exact amount of nutrients the crop needed. Repeated tilling and cultivating also deteriorated the soil. This practice released soil nutrients into the air and broke up the roots and aggregates that held the soil together, increasing the rate of erosion. Bruce remembers discovering the poor condition of the soils, “When we first bought the farm we had to hunt to find an earthworm.”
Despite its sorry condition, Bruce and Nancy knew the healing effect that grazing could have. So, the Rivingtons gave the Red Gate Farm fields their last tilling ever, only to plant an abundance of perennial grass seeds. Starting with a small herd, they gently grazed and mowed the grass to encourage root growth and carbon sequestration. After 5 years of careful and nurturing management, Red Gate Farm began to resemble the farm we all know today: 737 acres of lush green grass carpeting miles of land speckled with colorful moseying cows grazing at their leisure. Even the section of field burned with pesticides was regenerated, and now is ironically one of their most productive pasture, growing almost exclusively native grasses. “That’s the pasture I like to take people up to, to show them,” Bruce boasts.
Land that Doesn't Just Work, But Lives
The Rivingtons did not merely transition Red Gate Farm from one crop to another. They reclaimed land stripped of its nutrients, only able to grow corn and alfalfa, and regenerated it into a thriving ecosystem. Their land not only grows nutrient dense grasses, but it also feeds an expansive community of soil microbacteria and microfauna, acts as a habitat for wildlife, and even mitigates greenhouse grasses.
Although this happened long before Kriemhild was established, we would not exist without Red Gate Farm, so we embrace it as part of our story. We hope to help other farmers tell their own similar stories as we grow. Until then, you can visit Red Gate Farm on July 29th as we celebrate Madison County’s Open Farm Day. It’ll be a great chance to learn more about how agriculture can be a pivotal point of community, nutritional, and environmental health.
On July 8th, we will be attending and vending at the 3rd annual Little Falls Cheese Festival in Little Falls, NY. We have been diligent participants of the festival since its debut in 2015, but we still have yet to sample all the cheeses the event has to offer.
In addition to a wide regional selection of artisan and farmstead cheese, the festival also features all things cheese-complementary, including, but not limited to: gourmet chocolates, artisan breads, pastries, spreads, and, of course, butter. As much as we love the abundance of artisan foods, live music, and good company that we experience throughout the day, what touches us the most is what the festival celebrates: the rich history of pioneer creameries and dairy food manufacturing in New York State.
Although Wisconsin and California are currently fighting for the title of largest cheese manufacturer in the United States, throughout the 19th century New York was the leading state in amount of creameries, with Little Falls, in Herkimer County, NY as its cheese capital. Due to the fame of Herkimer County Cheese, the first United States cheese exchange was hosted in Little Falls in 1850s, set the price of cheese for the country, and even influenced the cheese prices in Europe.
Multiple factors allowed Herkimer County to rise up as the cheese center of the United States. New York’s climate, which is ideal for grazing dairy cattle and making cheese and butter, and Jesse Williams who pioneered the “cheese factory” system. Before the cheese factory, cheese and butter making was essentially the work of farm wives and dairy maids. While the task was arduous and at times resulted in inconsistent cheese quality, skilled dairy maids could provide for their families with their craft. The first cheese factory in America was established in Rome, NY in 1851 after Jesse Williams, dairy farmer and cheesemaker, began processing milk delivered from his son’s dairy farm alongside his own to make cheese.
Although milk cooperatives are common today, in the 1800s, this practice was novel. Jesse went on to accept more deliveries from other farms in the area and institute an efficient system of milk collection as well as consistent quality cheesemaking. The switch from farmhouse to factory cheesemaking empowered dairy farmers and manufacturers to produce over 49,000,000 pounds of cheese in 1850, compared to Wisconsin’s mere 400,000 pounds. In 1899 at least 1,611 factories in NY made either cheese or butter, 207 of which made both.
About 170 miles south of Little Falls, New York butter was having its heyday as well. In 1856, the first factory in the world specifically built to manufacture butter was built in Campbell Hall, Orange County, NY. Being constructed in the pre-refrigeration era, the creamery’s placement relied on the existence of a natural cold spring with which the butter was chilled.
As with New York cheese, it was skilled farm wives and dairy maids who made butter popular in Orange County. These farmstead producers were already the main suppliers of butter to New York City which were delivered regularly by way of horses and carts. The butter of Orange County was famously known around the country as “Goshen Butter”. However, the ability to produce large quantities of butter of consistently high quality left the Campbell Hall butter factory responsible for New York State’s peak in butter production from 1860 to 1890.
Ultimately, New York’s Herkimer Cheese and Goshen Butter faced the same sad fate. As refrigerated transport made it possible to ship fresh milk to New York City and other urban areas, the need for shelf stable dairy products sharply declined. Between 1890 and 1910, the production of New York butter decreased 80%.
New York's Dairy Comeback
As much as the Little Falls Cheese Festival observes New York’s rich cheese production history, it is also a celebration of the revival of the state’s artisanal dairy crafters and small dairy industry. Although no longer the top producer of cheese and butter, dairy farming is still the leading agricultural industry in New York state. Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of New York’s abundance of quality milk and getting creative with it. Increasingly, farmers are bottling, branding, and marketing their own milk, small businesses are opening small batch creameries and making value-added products, and processors are collecting local milk from small dairies and using it to co-pack for national brands.
As of now, New York State is the lead in yogurt production in the nation and its dairy manufacturing industry employees over 8,000 workers. In addition to feeding the economy, New York small dairy processors and dairy artisans are telling their farmers’ stories (if they’re not the farmer themselves) and responding to a growing consumer base that expects transparency, environmental stewardship, and quality by striving to create food that reflects those values. This is our mission at Kriemhild and we have joined many other fellow dairy processors that follow similar paths. It is true, the landscape of New York’s dairy industry has changed. But, as long as there are dairy farmers, there will be processors, and New York’s dairy will be rich.
Sernett, Dr. Milton C. Say Cheese!: The Story of the Era when New York State Cheese was King. Cazenovia: Milton C. Sernett, 2011.
"Governor Cuomo Announces New York State is Now Top Yogurt Producer in The Nation, Delivers on Key Promises Made at Yogurt Summit to Help Dairy Farmers." The Official Website of New York State. 18 April 2013. www.governor.ny.gov.
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.
This June, we are inviting you, our customers, to join us in celebrating National Dairy Month
- an annual tradition that acknowledges the contributions of the dairy industry to our health, our communities, and our environment. Originally created as National Milk Month in 1937 for the purpose of promoting the sale of milk, the National Dairy Council changed the name as the public embraced the opportunity to recognize the significant role that all dairy farmers and processors play in the food system.
As a dairy processing business, we would like to celebrate National Dairy Month by highlighting the...well...process of turning local milk into your favorite Meadow Butter and Crème Fraîche. This week we will be shedding light on the details of our Meadow Butter production.
When Kriemhild Dairy Farms was established in 2010, we were already committed to the advancement of grazing dairies and the creation of high-quality, grass-grazed dairy food. The flavor and nutritional benefits of grass-grazed dairy products manifest the the best in high-fat products. Therefore, when Kriemhild was developing its first product, butter was a natural choice, and ultimately became our signature creation.
However, as a start-up agribusiness, we would not have been able to create our Meadow Butter without the unique partnership we have with our co-packer, Queensboro Farm Products in Canastota, NY. At the time of our founding, the farmers who founded Kriemhild -- including co-owners Bruce and Nancy Rivington, owners of Red Gate Farm -- were already shipping their milk to Queensboro. They were aware that Queensboro had a reputation for making butter with a higher than average butterfat, so it was a perfect place to begin our butter production.
A typical relationship with a co-packer implies the employees of the facility handle all of the production and packing of a product for an external company. Our relationship with Queensboro, is atypical in that we, as a company, physically take part in the production and packing of our butter within the facility using a combination of both our own and Queensboro’s equipment.
Making Dreams Out of Cream
Red Gate Farm’s grass-fed milk is picked up and delivered by a trucking service and sold to Queensboro Farm Products every other day. The cream is separated from milk using centrifugal cream separator. This process, which takes about 24 hours naturally, only takes about 13 minutes. The remaining skim milk is sold on the general milk market or used to make other Queensboro products. The cream, which is approximately 38% fat, is pasteurized and transferred to a vat to temper. During the tempering process, between 18 and 24 hours, the fat globule restructures itself and continues to release latent heat. Once the cream has tempered, it’s then piped into a barrel churn. 42,500 pounds of Red Gate Farm’s milk will yield approximately 2,000 pounds of butter, however, this number will vary depending of the percentage of butterfat in the milk.
The churn is a mechanical barrel that will spin about the speed of a clothes drying machine, tumbling the cream. The agitation of the cream disturbs the hydrophobic phospholipid membranes surrounding the milkfat globules. As Dr. Robert Bradley likes to describe it in his book, ‘Better Butter’: "Cream is an oil-in-water emulsion that turns into butter when inverted to a water-in-oil emulsion." After about 45 minutes of churning, small clumps start to form, a state known as “popcorn butter” or “butter grains”. At this point the whey is drained, the butter rinsed, drained again and the butter is sold and turned over to Kriemhild.
As a team, we don hair nets, plastic aprons, clean rubber boots, and disposable gloves to prepare for a day of packing butter. We begin by doing a complete wash of all our equipment. If we are making salted butter, salt is added to the “popcorn butter” and then it is put through about another five minutes of churning. The fat globules that form the small clumps continue to fuse to each other, pushing our air and moisture, to a point where it is a single creamy, firm mass of butter.
We use a mix of technology and elbow grease to pack our butter into different sized containers. All the butter is taken from the churn and placed in a low sheer pump with two strong metal augers that push the butter through a round pipe, similar to a play-doh factory toy.
As the butter comes from the pipe it is cut to a certain size, placed on wax paper, and hand rolled to create our traditional rolls. Our two pound, five pound, and 50 pound sizes are also all hand packed. The only size not hand-packed is our 8oz container. To fill our half-pounders, our butter pump is connected to a rotary filler which directly fills our screen printed tubs to an accurate weight, places and heat seals a piece of foil to the top, and presses a lid to close it.
When all the butter is packed in containers, it’s then put into labeled boxes for either direct delivery to one of our wholesale accounts or for storage until later. Then, the whole production room and equipment need to be rinsed, washed, and sanitized again.
Depending on the size of the batch of butter, and the sizes of units we are packing, a day of butter production can last from 4 to 8 hours. This does not include the time it takes to load the pallets of boxes onto our refrigerated truck, travel back to our headquarters, and then unload and organize our inventory. Food production is also physically intense. It involves standing on hard ground for long hours, tedious periods or repetitive motions, lifting and moving heavy boxes, and no matter how hard we try to not get wet, we always get wet during washing.
From Our Hands to Yours
Food processing is hard work, but we love to be able to see the creation of our butter from pasture through to market. And although our reach is far, and growing, when you meet one of our team, whether they're delivering your order or at the farmer’s market, you can know that team member handing you your butter is the same person who has taken part in making it.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a bowl. Mix together butter, honey, and confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed. Add flour mixture and mix until dough resembles coarse meal with some small, pea-sized butter lumps. Gather dough into a ball. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until it just comes together, about 8 times. Halve dough and form each into a 5-inch disk. Roll out 1 disk between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a 9-inch round. Remove top sheet of parchment and transfer dough on bottom sheet of parchment to a baking sheet. Score dough into 8 wedges by pricking dotted lines with a fork. mark edges decoratively. Arrange rosemary sprigs decoratively on top of dough. Sprinkle dough with 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Slide shortbread on parchment to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board and cut along score marks with a large heavy knife. Make another shortbread with remaining dough.
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.
Place rhubarb, strawberries, and 3 tbsp of water in small sauce pan, bring heat up to medium high. Use potato masher to squish strawberries. Keep the mixture at low simmer until the rhubarb is softened - shouldn't be more than 5 minutes. Pour cooked mixture into blender and puree - if it's too tart, add 2 tbsp of raw honey. Transfer puree to freezer, chill for a half hour. Once mixture is cooled, whip crème fraîche, maple syrup, and vanilla extract for 2 minutes to make whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream gently into the strawberry rhubarb mixture, and pour into popsicle molds to freeze.
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