A Friday morning ritual. A series of photographs and brief descriptions that capture the farm at that moment in time.
Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category
Giving thanks is a mantra we practice all year-long, but it is a sentiment that bears repeating, especially at this time of year.
We are eternally grateful to our families, our land and livestock (especially those milk producing ladies), our staff, our community and the widespread network of cheese lovers here in the Hudson Valley that make our farm possible by eating and enjoying our goat milk cheeses.
For every piece of cheese that leaves our farm – THANK YOU.
We are grateful to be part of your brunch with friends, your family dinner, that wild cooking experiment, your holiday party, your neighborhood celebration or your midnight snack. We hope this holiday season brings you closer to the people who love and support you, and that we can make that gathering a little sweeter with something yummy to share from our farm.
We’d like to share our farm intern’s reflection on her first year here at the farm:
Life as a Farmer: Year 1
Exactly one year ago I moved onto Edgwick Farm and started a new chapter in my life. In one year I have fallen in love with this place, these animals, and these people. It started off as a job…but turned into a lifestyle. And I can’t imagine a life without goats.
This past winter I gave tours of the farm. It was amazing to see people’s first reactions to the goats. Over and over I heard the phrase “I never knew!” And that was my reaction the first time I visited the farm in March of 2011. After that I found myself volunteering on the farm, especially during kidding season helping with the bottle feeding. Snuggling a baby goat makes all of your troubles disappear. In September of last year I was (finally) given the opportunity to work on the farm…and move into a little cottage behind the creamery. And the rest is history!
Here are some things I have learned over the last year:
1) Pay attention to everything you are told. You are learning from people that have done this for a long time and their knowledge is invaluable.
2) If you have the opportunity to nap, take it. It makes all the difference.
3) Hands on experience is way more valuable that anything you will read in a book or learn in a class.
4)Make sure to decipher between “farm clothes” and “non-farm clothes”, otherwise all of your clothes will be farm clothes.
5)Do not name an animal that you know you have to say goodbye to. It makes it that much harder.
6)You will fall in love with these beautiful creatures and prefer to spend your time with them instead of humans.
7)With so much life, death is inevitable. It will be painful. I can’t say that it will become easier, because it won’t…but you will slowly come to realize that these goats had the best life imaginable and it was their time to go. There was nothing else you could have done to prevent it (even though you think there might have been.)
Here’s to one more year!
The work of a goat dairy farmer is quite different than an average 9-5 job. It is a 24/7/365 sort of lifestyle.
Everyday – two times per day for eight months and then once a day for two months – the goats need to be milked. That means 7 days a week, including holidays, we and our amazing staff are up before dawn tending to our goats and taking care of the farm. Non-farmers can roll “to-do” list items to the next day, the following week or cross them off the priority list entirely but for us, milking, feeding and farm chores are the daily docket NO MATTER WHAT.
Though the work is tough, it is a lifestyle we choose for the following reasons:
(1) Farming is a family affair. Farming lets Dan and I spend everyday together, working side by side and with our children.
(2) We also choose to be dairy goat farmers because we love caring for and working with our goat herd. We love the goat kidding season every year, watching our babies grow into beautiful milkers and producing quality goat cheeses on which people thrive. Caring for these animals has been a great environment to raise our children and teach responsibility.
(3) We also do this because we love the land. We love being outside watching the sun rise and the sun set, hearing the birds, catching a shooting star streaking across the sky. On our farm, we experience the complete cycle of life, from birth to death. We are also able to see our goats eat fresh pasture, produce rich creamy milk and then turn that into nutritious high quality goat cheese, an incredible natural cycle in itself.
On this Labor Day, we are very appreciative of our lifestyle, demanding as it is. And we are appreciative of you, our customers, because without you supporting our farm and our hard work, we couldn’t be here in Cornwall, New York.
August ends today and the farm is moving into its next phase as the milk production slows and then stops in October as the does’ pregnancies advance, the weather cools and the leaves change and we ready for winter.
Most have the does have been bred by now which means babies will be born starting January 12th and continue in an enormous wave for two weeks with over 100 babies expected. Henry, our Boer buck, has done most of the breeding and is now tired. POG and Orville, our purebred Nubian bucks, bred a selected set of does and are ready to go in with the herd for “wrap-up.”
We have moved to milking only in the mornings and have even started drying off some of the lower producing does. Less milk means less cheese production and we are now only making fresh chevre and once in a while fresh ri”goat”a (ricotta). The cheese cave is still packed full with the aging cheeses: feta, cheddar, beer washed tommes, parmesan and the last of the bloomies. There will be more than enough cheese available until the goats freshen again in midJanuary.
Summer markets end during the last week of October and first week of November but winter markets start up in November. You can find us on the first and third Saturdays at the Cornwall Winter Farmer’s Market at St. John’s church, the third Saturday at Ringwood Winter Farmer’s Market and every Sunday at the Beacon Farmer’s Market. We are still sorting out how often we will be at Bialas Farms on Tuesdays.
The pullets have started laying and over two dozen eggs a day have been coming in. The Araucanas bless us with a couple of blue eggs each day so we make sure each dozen that goes to market includes a blue egg. The chickens are eating insects like crazy and have even stripped any low hanging grape vines of immature grapes. They are very entertaining.
We are turning to fall clean-up on the farm. We are starting to prep and store our winter firewood. We are starting to plan for 2014. We are looking forward to a restful couple of months. We thank you for all of your support of our farm.
2013 kidding is done…finally. Here are the statistics:
We had a total of 97 babies born.
80 in January, 5 in February, 3 in March, 4 in April and 5 in May.
Henry was the sire of all but the last 5 in May that were sired by POG.
We lost two babies at birth and we had to put one down.
We had a set of quads, 15 sets of triplets, 20 sets of twins and 7 singles.
We had 47 bucklings, 35 doelings and 15 unaccounted for because so many were being born in one day. On our busiest birthing day we had 19 born.
67 babies went to Aden Brook Farm. 11 were sold independently. We still have 15 here at the farm.