What's New at the Farm
We attended the Northeast Organic Farming Association conference in Saratoga this past weekend and we’re back at the farm now feeling inspired and longing for spring. The theme of diversity through the weekend’s workshops and events certainly struck a chord with us. We heard many innovative farmers, old and new, talk about the intricacies of the relationships on their farms and how they’re able to put them to use. If you raise livestock, consider growing grains for feed and bedding while using the manure to fertilize the fields. If you make cheese, raise pigs too, so you can turn your “waste” product, whey, into pork. If you graze your animals, then graze a few different kinds of livestock so that they each clean the fields of parasites, protecting one another. This diversity becomes a kind of insurance against the risks that are inherent in farming. It also enables us to embrace seasonality. Just when the beef runs out, fresh chickens are back on the table. Just when you think the season for fresh cheese has come to a close, our prized aged cheeses come onto the scene. This is the beauty of a diverse farm and precisely the model we are building here at Asgaard Farm. From new grazing methods to better pig management strategies, the conference introduced us to quite a few new and exciting ideas to employ as we continue to grow over the coming seasons.
Starting in April, we’ll offer twice weekly guided tours of the farm on Thursdays and Saturdays at 1:00 pm. Come and see how we’ve harnessed the power of diversity!
Winter has arrived and our daily routines have eased considerably. Last Saturday evening marked the seasons final milking. The goats are all about two months pregnant and will appreciate the rest as much as Rhonda will relish her winter hiatus from the creamery. The milking parlor is quiet – a drastic change from the almost deafening sounds of the vacuum pipelines being sanitized and cleaned like clockwork twice each day. It feels as though the farm itself is stepping on the brake.
The animals are slowing down, too. The goats are content lounging in their barn, protected from the wind as they adjust to their new schedule – or lack thereof. The cows are tucked in the trees staying out of the snow, coming out only for hay and water. All summer long, the hens stayed outside all day and we fed them in the grass. Last week, they went on a hunger strike until we finally acceded and moved their feeders inside the coop, along with a heat lamp, for good measure. Our horse, Freya, is being introduced to her new box stall so we can tuck her in each night. So far, she’s happy to spend some time in there, but seems to enjoy sashaying through the new fallen snow.
The last farmers market was this past weekend in Lake Placid but we'll continue to host our open farm hours. Though our fresh cheese selection is finite, our aged cheeses - Feta and Tomme - are almost ready to sell. The ten hogs we brought to the butcher last month are (astonishingly) nearly sold out, but we’re expecting our first beef and chevon back from the butcher any day now. So, just as our daily routine has changed, so have our products. We’ll be open here at the farm on Dec 23 and 30 and we always love visitors.
It’s easy to be lulled into a winter nap, but we’re too busy planning the upcoming season, which will start with a bang upon the arrival of the first kid expected on February 27. We’ll just have to put the pedal to the metal from there.
For now, wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!
David & Rhonda
We will not be holding our usual open hours on Thursday & Saturday this week (Nov 25 & 27). We'll reopen on Thursday, December 2nd from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. We'll have our first beef (grass-fed and grass-finished) and chevon (goat meat) for sale by the cut right here on the farm later in December.
We wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!
It's harvest season here on the farm when we reap the benefits of months spent caring for our livestock to give them all happy, healthy lives in the great outdoors, in fresh air and sunshine. We've moved animals and fences (and waterers and shelters) every few days all summer long to ensure our cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and turkeys always have abundant forage on their organic pastureland. Healthy soils grow healthy grasses grow healthy animals make for healthy people. Now we get to share the harvest with you!
Our freezers are currently brimming with pork chops, bacon, ham, pork shoulders, and tenderloins and more is on the way soon. If you're interested in purchasing a whole or half hog from us, it's not too late - let us know before Nov 12th so we can have it cut to your specifications. Our all-natural pastured pork comes from heritage breed Tamworth pigs, raised on whey from our creamery, organic wheat grown right here on the farm, and grain from the local mill.
Beef and chevon will be available by mid-December and we'll be sure to get the word out on that as well.
We'll be selling our meats through our usual open store hours, at the Lake Placid Harvest Farmers Market (Sat 10-2), and online through the new Plattsburgh Fall Farmers Market. Come and get it!
For those of you who like experimenting with new recipes to shake things up, we asked some fans of our cheese to share with us their favorite (and easiest) recipes. Here's a little culinary inspiration without even having to pick up a measuring spoon.
From Gail Brill: Carmelize some onions. Boil some linguine. Toast some walnuts. Toss together with chunks of goat cheese for a creamy, delicious dinner in a snap!
From Judi Scavotto: Love goat cheese with chopped basil spread onto thin sliced boned chicken breast rolled and tied, dropped in beaten egg, then bread crumbs. Lightly turn in olive oil. In a dutch oven, cover chicken with marinara sauce and wine. Let them nap in a hot oven till everything is bubbly... the goat cheese simmers into the sauce. Yummy!
From Tyler Eaton: Dill Fresh Chevre, smoked salmon, caper, cracker - bon appetit.
From Brooks Reynolds: Roast beets whole. Peel and slice horizontally into 1/8" rounds. Layer each round with maple goat cheese and reassemble.
The American Cheese Society held its annual cheese competition in Seattle, WA, last week. This competition is often touted as the largest and most influential cheese competition in North & South America. The award ceremony took place on August 28th and the complete and highly anticipated results were posted yesterday. We are delighted with our 3rd Place award for our unflavored Fresh Chevre. This cheese is the simplest, purest cheese we make – no aging, no flavoring. It is the clearest reflection of the integrity and vigor of our dairy goat herd and our pasture management practices. Congratulations to Rhonda & Tali for crafting this fine cheese! Come by the farmers market to try some for yourself!
We'll be processing our next batch of broilers on Tuesday, August 31st, and this time we have 50 birds up for grabs. They are $15 per bird. You can pick yours up here on the farm or at one of the following farmers markets: Lake Placid on 9/1/10, Saranac Lake on 9/4/10, or Keene Valley on 9/5/10. Please email email@example.com or call 647-5754 to reserve yours. Please include your name and phone number. We will contact you to re-confirm the date in case of any changes.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
All our best,
Running a dairy is hard work. The animals need to be milked twice per day no matter what – extreme cold or heat, torrential downpours, hail, snow, you name it. The upside is that you gain bragging rights around here for braving the elements. The record low temperature last December during a 5am milking session was -14 degrees! Thankfully, we don’t milk in January, February, or March.
When Asgaard first began, there were only eight dairy goats. We milked them two by two. As the herd began to grow, our twice daily milking sessions were taking longer and longer. On average, a dairy goat takes only 4 minutes to milk, but sanitizing all of the milk cans and tubing takes some time, followed by washing all the equipment at the end. When all is said and done, about half the time spent milking is really spent cleaning – a similar story for cheese making. Today we are milking 24 goats, so we’re spending on average 5 hours per day milking goats. That is, until yesterday.
We’ve been working on installing a new pipeline milking parlor for a few months now. This will enable us to milk 6 goats at a time (more in the future). The milk is piped directly into the bulk tank, so the need for handling the milk is eliminated. Rhonda and Tali will be the only ones handling the milk (but they are always sparkling clean in the creamery). The system automatically sanitizes and washes all the tubes, so time spent cleaning is drastically reduced. And though we don’t appreciate it now, in the late fall, we will appreciate being able to turn on the heat.
We are proud to launch our new website - a window into life on Asgaard Farm. We hope you'll enjoy our photographs and periodic updates on happenings here at the farm. We'll ensure that information about product availability, farmers markets, and events is kept accurate and up-to-date. Welcome!
The warm sun is shining, the goats are happily grazing lush green grasses, and the air is thick with the lively sounds of summer. In the spring, we awoke from our winter's rest and launched ourselves full speed ahead into the mayhem that is spring on the farm. The birth of so many new beginnings, from calves and kids to seedlings. Before we knew it, spring turned to summer.
We've had fifty-six goat kids born since March 17th. We still have a few newborns in the barn, and we are expecting the last two does to deliver their kids any day now. Now that the animals can take care of themselves on their pastures, the hotbed of activity is in the creamery. With three markets to attend each week, Rhonda is hard at work crafting her signature goat cheeses. Come find us at the farmers markets - we're in Saranac Lake, Keene Valley, and Lake Placid.