Today Analiese Paik, Founder and Editor of the Fairfield Green Food Guide, was a guest on WTNH’s Good Morning Connecticut show with host Ted Koppy where she discussed the America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest, the 2nd Annual Easton Farm Tour, and The Farmer’s Cow’s just released, made-from-scratch line of premium ice creams.
(Bracelets courtesy of 3-OMjewels.com)
Do you love your farmers’ market?
America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest, run by American Farmland Trust, concludes on August 31 so vote now for your favorite market. Not a single CT farmers’ market is among the top 20 right now so your vote matters!
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food!
It’s a beautiful day to head over to Easton for the 2nd Annual Easton Farm Tour being held from 10-2 thanks to Citizens for Easton. Start this self-paced, self-guided tour at the Firehouse Green where you can enjoy a slice of wood fired pizza with local toppings and listen to live banjo music before picking up an Easton Farm map to plan your visits.
There are 12 farms participating in the tour, many of which are planning special activities for the day. Top picks: Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens, the largest grower of USDA Organic herbs in the US, and Sport Hill Farm, an organic family farm with a CSA and brand new barn where you can shop for just picked produce, eggs, honey and honey products from Red Bee Honey in Weston, fresh-baked artisan bread from Fairfield Bread Company, granola from the Unquowa School, locally-grown fruit, and local grass-fed beef.
It’s August and one of the best ways to cool off is with a refreshing bowl of local, premium ice cream!
The Farmer’s Cow has just released their made-from-scratch line of premium ice creams. Available in eight different flavors at Stop ‘n Shops throughout the state, these ice creams are made the old-fashioned way, with farm-fresh ingredients including milk and cream from the Farmer’s Cow cooperate of six family-owned dairy farms, plus real fruit and sugar and no artificial flavors, colors or stabilizers. No preservatives are used and in some cases, organic ingredients represented the best choice to reach these goals, like the organic cookies in the Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream.
The Farmer’s Cow held an ice cream naming contest and the lucky CT residents who won each received 20 pints a month for three months of the flavors of their choosing! Over 3,000 names were submitted and eight were chosen, one for each flavor. Winners of the ice cream naming contest include a 90-year-old woman who named Black Raspberry Moo Chocolate Chip. The winning names are: Hay! Hay! Hay! Vanilla, Cow Barn Chocolate, Farm Stand Cherry Vanilla, Fields of Mint Chocolate Chip, Black Raspberry Moo Chocolate Chip, Milking Time Cookies & Cream, Heifer Nutter Peanut Butter Cup, and Up Early Coffee.
The Farmer’s Cow is a cooperative of six family-owned dairy farms in CT supplying milk, cream, half and half, eggs, seasonal beverages and now 100% made from scratch ice cream to CT retailers. These family farms are:
1. Fairvue Farms, Woodstock (NE “Quite Corner” of CT) Windham County
2. Hytone Farm, Coventry (Tolland County)
3. Mapleleaf Farm, Hebron (Tolland County)
4. Fort Hill Farms, Thompson (NE “Quite Corner” of CT) Windham County
5. Cushman Farms, Franklin (New London)
6. Graywall Farms, Lebanon (New London)
When combined, these dairy farms comprise 10,000 acres of farmland, 40 percent of which is woods, wetlands and wildlife habitat according to Robin Chesmer, Managing Director of The Farmer’s Cow. “We crop 6,000 acres for dairy farming – grassland, pasture and crop land. It takes two acres of land to feed one cow” explains Chesmer. “We place a lot of emphasis on conservation. Cow manure is used to fertilize the fields and we grow cover crops to reduce soil erosion from water and wind, which also serves as green manure.”
When asked about what the cows eat, Chesmer underscored that “the cows eat what’s grown on the farms including timothy, clovers, alfalfa and corn, not sweet corn. We feed the whole plant to the cow after it’s chopped up and fermented to make silage. Grasses are grown to make dry hay and they are on pasture when weather permits. The cows like it cool, around 30-40 degrees.”
“Our cows are not administered any growth hormones (rBST) and there is no routine use of antibiotics and no antibiotics in the feed” stressed Chesmer. “When an animal has an infection or respiratory problem, it is segregated from the herd and may have to be treated with antibiotics. The milk is sampled to make sure there are no antibiotics present” before she is returned to the herd.
The milk is so fresh and rich tasting, even the skim and low-fat versions, and I wondered why. Could it simply be that it reached stores within 24-48 hours of being packaged? When I asked Robin Chesmer why their milk tastes so good he explained that “most milk available at retail is pasteurized by heating the milk to 270 degrees. The Farmer’s Cow uses a traditional method which only heats the milk and cream to 164 degrees. We believe this affects the taste of the milk and certainly gives it a shorter shelf life. Also, the half gallon size milk is packaged in paper cartons with screw caps to seal out refrigerator odors. It’s more expensive than plastic bottles, but I think it tastes better.”
The Farmer’s Cow milk is widely available at CT retailers including small independent stores, Stop ‘n Shop, Big Y, and Whole Foods and is served in restaurants, inns and schools throughout the state. Click here for a complete list of retailers. Currently, their ice cream is available exclusively at Stop ‘n Shop stores throughout the state. The full product line includes: milk, cream, half and half, eggs, iced tea, lemonade, apple cider, and ice cream.
The Farmers’ Cow will be sampling their ice creams around the state so be sure to follow the Fairfield Green Food Guide to hear about these special events.
Robin Chesmer and the other members of The Farmer’s Cow run a transparent operation. Anyone can visit the farms during their regularly scheduled tours and special events and see firsthand the cows that produce the milk. Click here for Upcoming tours and events at The Farmers’ Cow