Tag: Agriculture

MAKING AN AWARD WINNER: Kefir, Yogurt & Buttermilk with SUNRISE FAMILY FARMS NORWICH, NEW YORK

Charlie Reinshagen at Sunrise Family Farms

SUNRISE FAMILY FARMS makes FIVE ACRE FARMS Local Yogurt, Kefir and Buttermilk starting with the best local whole milk.

Dave Evans and his partners Charlie Reinshagen and Sandy Grant each represent a different generation of a farming family. Dave (3rd), Charlie (2nd) and Sandy (5th) bring a farmer’s viewpoint and values to the creamery.

They have built a successful partnership on what the three of them have in common—family farming traditions and their love of change and new challenges as their company grows.

Ag IN YOUR BAG: LOCAL LOVES THE RESILIENT HONEYBEE

Ag IN YOUR BAG

LOCAL LOVES THE RESILIENT HONEYBEE

Honeybees are heroes. They’re the only insects that produce food for humans. Honeybees—distinct from bees native to the U.S.—came from Europe in the early 1600s. Prized initially for their sweet honey, in time, they became known for pollinating crops. With their social structure, honeybees are easy for farmers to manage, moving colonies around from field to field to support their agricultural needs.

Many Central California farmers rely heavily on honeybees to pollinate crops because there are few remaining habitats for native bees. In the Northeast, however, fields and orchards are often surrounded by plants, so native bees have plenty to eat and pollinate crops as they buzz from hedgerow to hedgerow. In a 2009 study of 11 apple farms in New York State, researchers counted 81 species of native bees.

Still, many larger farms rely on honeybees. So it was alarming when, about a decade ago, beekeepers began reporting disappearing honeybee hives. Previous plagues had left dead bees, but this time the worker bees abandoned the queen and her brood. Even when a colony is left with reserves of honey, it quickly dies off without worker bees. This phenomenon became known as colony collapse disorder or CCD.

In 2008, two years after CCD was discovered, the number of honeybee colonies hit its lowest point at 2.4 million. Happily, a queen bee lays 1500 to 2000 eggs a day, making honeybees one of the most resilient species on earth. With about 2.7 million colonies in the U.S. today, honey bees are making a slow comeback, though the causes of CCD remain unclear. Scientists continue to study a variety of factors including the interplay of pesticides, mites, and other pests.

So exactly how much effort goes into making honey? Worker bees must fly 55,000 miles and visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey, and the average colony makes 60 to 100 pounds a year. No wonder they’re called worker bees.

This small but mighty creature plays such a crucial role in our food system…and in making our Local Honey Yogurt and Local Honey Kefir so delicious.

INSIDE THE DAIRY CASE: Butterfat & Whole Milk

Is your whole milk really whole milk?
Milk composition, including fat, varies by breed
Butterfat greatly impacts how dairy tastes

Are you ever confused by all of the different types of milk in the dairy case? Whole, 2%, 1%, 0%, reduced, skim, fat free. What does it all mean?

Milk is one of our most nutrient-dense foods—with calcium, protein, vitamins A & D, to name a few of its superpowers. The amount of butterfat (cream) in cow’s milk varies by breed. The iconic black and white Holstein produces milk with up to 4% fat while Jerseys—the ones with brown coats—produce richer-tasting milk with about 5% fat. Brown Swiss and Guernsey cows make milk that’s somewhere in between.

But here’s the big milk curveball: Federal guidelines dictate the percentage of butterfat for each milk category. Since butterfat is very valuable, large milk processors want the federal “whole”percentage to be as low as possible. What you need to know, as a shopper, is that milk can still be labeled as “whole” even if some of the fat has been removed. That doesn’t sound like “whole” milk to us.

At FIVE ACRE FARMS, we look for cows whose milk is naturally high in butterfat. We don’t adjust the fat content in our whole milk (a process called “standardization”), and we think that’s something you can taste. No wonder our whole milk—simply what comes out of the cow—is so popular. Taste the difference it makes in our yogurt, kefir and buttermilk—all made using our whole milk.

Drop us a line at [email protected] to tell us your favorite variety and where you buy our milk, and we’ll send you FIVE ACRE FARMS swag to show our thanks.

Ag IN YOUR BAG: WHAT’S IN YOUR LOCAL CIDER (and not…) THIS SEASON

Ag IN YOUR BAG

agriculture noun: the science, art, or occupation concerned with cultivating land, raising crops, and breeding, and raising livestock; farming.

WHAT’S IN YOUR LOCAL CIDER (and not…) THIS SEASON:

Learn what distinguishes this year’s early apples
Warm weather results in lighter color apples
Sparse rainfall makes for more sweetness

The next time you reach for a jug of FIVE ACRE FARMS apple cider, look for signs of variations in the apple harvest that naturally occur from year to year.

What’s distinctive about the early fall local apple harvest in the Northeast this year? Due to the unusually dry, warm weather of late summer and early fall, many apples in our region ripened before developing the deep red skin color we’re used to seeing. The lack of water also concentrates the fruit’s natural sugars, making this year’s cider apples especially sweet. The lighter complexion can be seen in many varieties with Macintosh being the best example. Macs, the traditional New England base for cider, are green apples that rely on crisp, cool nights and adequate moisture to develop their red color just before ripening. (To make our cider, we blend a base of Macs with up to 20 other varieties.) Happily, these climate-related fluctuations don’t change the great taste of our local apples, producing a sweet, crisp cider that’s as delicious as ever. And whether they’re deep red or a subtle pastel, local apples are the only ingredients in FIVE ACRE FARMS cider, with absolutely nothing added.

Graze on Local Farm Fare with Delta, Union Square Events Partnership
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