Wednesday, May 25, 2016

John Schueler, Flower Farmer, Dies

A long-time educator who also ran a flower farm has died.

Go to to read the obituary for John Schueler.

Very true, very true.

From Chris Rock. I totally agree.

National Wine Day is Today!!

Grapes at Thousand Islands Winery
Today is National Wine Day.

This is not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day, which is celebrated in February.

Today, May 25, we will celebrate wine and those who make it, especially all those vintners in New York state. New York is the second largest producer of wine in the country after California and New York producers make top notch wine that constantly win national and international wine contests. 

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits -- in fact there are wines made from fruits such as apples, pears and cherries made right in New York state.

So on National Wine Day, enjoy a glass of their favorite wine with dinner, for dessert, with friends, at a restaurant, at home or at a wine-tasting event.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Western New York Farm Wins Sustainability Award

News from the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council:

Seen holding the award is Chris Noble with his wife Jennifer, family members Rob and Terri Noble (far left), and Sustainability Award host Phil Lempert
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has recognized Noblehurst Farms Inc. in Linwood, Livingston County, with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships as part of the organization’s fifth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. 

The awards program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose sustainable practices positively impact the health and well-being of consumers, communities, animals and the environment.

Noblehurst Farms was recognized with the community partnership award for its food waste cooperative, which was created by Chris Noble. Noble represents the seventh generation of leadership at Noblehurst Farms, where he holds the title of vice president. 

Noble had the vision to do the right thing with food waste by getting it out of landfills and back into the system. Through the cooperative, food waste and scraps from Wegmans Food Markets stores, as well as universities and schools, are gathered and delivered to a digester at the dairy farm that harvests methane gas from the food scraps and manure to create electricity, liquid fertilizer for crops, and dry materials that can be used for animal bedding. 

The collaborative effort not only keeps tons of food waste out of landfills, but also provides enough energy to power the entire dairy. 

“We started collecting food waste from six Wegmans grocery stores a little more than two years ago,” Noble said. “While Wegmans does a simply phenomenal job with its food donation program, in the end, there’s still food that can’t be eaten by people – things like melon rinds or orange peels. That’s where we come in.

"Currently we’re taking in food waste from more than 30 Wegmans stores throughout Western and Central Through its food scraps collection affiliate Natural Upcyling, Noblehurst Farms and its food waste recycling partners divert 500 tons of waste from local landfills per month, eliminating 409 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 1,046 cars off the road.

“We truly value our partnership with Noblehurst and all the benefits it offers to everyone involved and throughout the community," said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans sustainability manager. "The process is easier, safer and more efficient for our people, it reduces carbon emissions generated by landfills, helps farmers in our community achieve their sustainability goals, and creates a whole new business model for farmers and food waste haulers, adding jobs to our region."

“This is the very definition of sustainability and a project that the whole community can feel good about,” Wadsworth said.

“This year’s honorees have truly integrated sustainability into their businesses to achieve not only economic success, but also to support the well-being of their communities and our planet,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “Their achievements throughout the value chain, both large and small,
significantly advance the dairy community’s leadership in sustainable business practices.”

For more information about Noblehurst Farms, visit 

To learn more about the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, the winners and the best practices in place at their operations, The Innovation Center, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, aligns the collective resources of the industry to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry.

American Dairy Association North East promotes dairy and its nutritional benefits to 50 million consumers within a six-state region including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia and four counties in northern Virginia. 

Established in March 2016, through the consolidation of
American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Inc., Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, the organization represents the collective power of more than 13,500 dairy farm families to market their products in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Cayuga Milk Ingredients Helps Boost Nutrition With Protein

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine:



The outside of Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Aurelius
If you’ve ever eaten a protein bar, or a smoothie enriched with protein powder or even a protein shake, you may have been fortified with a product made just outside Auburn.

At a large dairy factory in the town of Aurelius, just to the west of this Cayuga County city better known for Harriet Tubman, William Seward and a state prison, nearly 2.3 million pounds of milk a day is processed, much of it into milk protein isolate.

The milk from 29 area farms that are part of the Cayuga Marketing cooperative comes together and is put through high-pressure filtration to end up with this milk protein used in many manufactured food products.

The waste product, mostly lactose and minerals, is used to make calf and lamb milk replacement used by farmers.

It’s quite an operation, sitting toward the end of Eagle Drive out in a rural area of what was formerly farmland. While Cayuga Marketing has been around for about 30 years (begun by eight local farmers who wanted a better way to bargain for higher milk prices), this manufacturing operation, called Cayuga Milk Ingredients, is fairly new, springing up about nine years ago when the farmer-owners in Cayuga Marketing began thinking about milk processing.

“The group was trying to obtain some savings on (milk) hauling,” said Kevin Ellis, Cayuga Milk Ingredients chief executive officer.

Most people remember 2007 and 2008 as when the national recession took hold of the economy. For farmers, it also was the time of high diesel fuel prices reaching more than $4 a gallon. Farmers were looking at anything they could do to cut their transportation costs.

The inside of the Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant. Photo supplied by the company.
For the farmers in Cayuga Marketing, it was trying to use their milk to make a product in their area. Ellis said all of the farmers in Cayuga Marketing farm within 40 miles of the present processing site and a majority are within 20 miles.

Ellis said they looked at making fluid milk, commodity and special cheeses and specialty milk proteins.

“The big question was ‘what type of product should we make?’” Ellis said. “We had to build a business plan, we had to build a business from the ground up. It kind of forced us to look at everything.”

After nearly three years of discussions, meetings, research and travel, it was decided to focus on the milk proteins and to build the plant on the site in the town of Aurelius.

“OK, we’re going to build something,” Ellis said of the decision.

It was a bold move.

Not many dairy farmers, who are experts at the business of farming, cows, feed and growing crops, tend to wander into the business of processing milk on a grand scale. Some farmers use their own milk to make cheese or yogurt for retail sale on their own farms. But this was something on a larger, grander scale.

“This was a big risk, but it was the next thing for us,” said Dirk Young, who milks 1,200 cows each day at his Twin Birch Farm in the town of Skaneateles, Onondaga County.

“And I think this is just the first step,” Young said, noting Cayuga Milk Ingredients may jump into the consumer dairy market in the future.

Ellis said right now, there are only a few operations making milk protein concentrate, which contains up to 85 percent milk proteins. He said there are plants making concentrate in Batavia in Genesee County, and in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Washington and Idaho.

The Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant makes milk protein isolate, which is more than 85 percent milk proteins. 
“There are only a handful of plants anywhere making isolate,” Ellis said.

The American Dairy Products Institute lists four plants in the U.S. making milk protein isolate: Cayuga Milk Ingredients; Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, Idaho; Dairy Products of America in Kansas City, Mo.; and Milk Specialties Global in Eden Park, Minn.

The plant makes 28,000 pounds of milk protein isolate a day.

Just think of everything you see in a grocery store that lists extra protein on the package. Items like yogurt, protein bars and shakes, nutritional foods and supplements and protein powders contain milk protein isolates.

In fact, a website called featured an article about what is called “the new protein explosion.” It stated estimates from the Nutrition Business Council for 2013 showing the sale of sports nutrition powders brought in $3.41 billion and protein powders brought in $2.9 billion.

The article goes on to say: “Protein is top of the mind for almost every consumer today. Numerous surveys and polls indicate that consumers desire, and, often go out of their way, to find products where protein is the primary ingredient. Essential to human health, protein makes up about 16 percent of total bodyweight, including structures like hair, muscles, fingernails, and so on.”

This is great for Cayuga Milk Ingredients. Ellis said the plant has “maxed out” of its protein products for a year.

But, this isn’t an end-fall for the farmers who supply milk to Cayuga. In times like now, when we’re at the bottom of another milk price cycle, Cayuga Milk Ingredients also is paying its farmers competitive amounts for their milk. This means the Cayuga Milk farmers also have seen their prices plummet in the last year.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk prices paid to farmers in New York in March 2014 ranged from $23.82 a hundredweight to $24.22 a hundred. In March 2016, the prices were more than $10 a hundred less — ranging from $13.66 a hundred to $14.06 a hundred.

And Ellis doesn’t see these prices getting any better any time soon. He said while most milk price market cycles usually last about eight months, this one is already at 17 months “with no recovery in sight.”

So how does having Cayuga Milk Ingredients help the farmer?

“It makes us more secure. We know we have a market for our milk,” said Young. “And we have a little more control over some costs like hauling,” noting he knows he is paying only to ship his milk the short few miles to Aurelius each day.

But what Young likes best about Cayuga Milk Ingredients is what he calls pride.

“I have pride in knowing where my milk goes each day,” he said. “Before, I didn’t have pride because I didn’t know where my milk would go or what it was being used for from day to day. The protein isolates seems to be a growing market and there’s a certain amount of pride that we’re supplying milk for this product.” 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

From Dairy Farming to "Buy Local'

From Empire Farm & Dairy magazine



The outside of Bailiwick Market & Cafe on Route 5, Elbridge
An old rundown farm on Route 5 in Elbridge, Onondaga County, has been rejuvenated into a market and cafe showcasing the hard work of other local farmers.

The Bailiwick Market & Cafe opened in May in the gateway to the Finger Lakes — just six miles north of Skaneateles and a couple of miles west of Elbridge.

A magnificent building with a rustic feel, it measures 40 feet wide and 180 feet long with 24-foot high cathedral ceilings, a wall of windows opening on lush tillable soil and filled with the scents of baked goods, fresh soups, sandwiches, coffees and even homemade ice cream.

Nancy Hourigan, who has been dairy farming in Elbridge with her husband John  for more than 50 years, was given a blank canvas and told to come up with something for it.

Making espresso at Bailiwick Market & Cafe in Elbridge
“We bought this old farm and there were a couple hundred acres for farmland,” Hourigan said. “My husband was going to farm the acres and he said to me ‘see what you can do with the open space in the front.’”

The front was filled with a “broken-down old barn,” rundown house and old silo. Nothing was salvagable except some boards and pieces of wood here and there.

In stepped friend and fellow Elbridge-area farmer Meg Schader. She and her husband Bruce have a dairy with Jersey cows near the village of Jordan where they make their own cheese and yogurt from that higher-butterfat Jersey milk.

“We thought if someone like her could sell her products here at a site on the main road that would be great,” Hourigan said of Schader, whose Wake Robin Farm is a bit off the beaten path instead of on a main highway like Route 5.

Then Hourigan and Schader thought further — what about selling other local products and foods?

The idea snowballed and today more than two-dozen local folks and farmers are involved selling their items at the market and cafe. In addition to foods, there are knitted hats, metal items and other types of art. The coffee is fresh from farmers in Guatamala and Ethiopia and then ground at Kubal Coffee Roaster in Syracuse.

“It’s always fresh,” Hourigan said, noting the ground coffee and beans are never more than two weeks old at the cafe.

According to its website, “Bailiwick Market & Cafe is a community gathering space offering food, art, and fresh air. It is a place for people to connect with their friends, loved ones and the land over fresh food and coffee inspired by local products, artwork by local artists and craft-workers, and events for the whole family.
Enjoy the bounty of CNY at Bailiwick Market & Cafe.”

The site had a soft opening in April and opened with a full menu and ice cream May 1. Its official grand opening was May 15.

Hourigan said chef Susanne “Cookie” Wheeler, formerly of Pumpkin Farm Bistro in Aurora, Cayuga County, is coming up with delectable recipes using all sorts of local vegetables, fruits, grains and meats. As various items come into season, check out the menu for those items.

Ten flavors of homemade ice cream will be sold, made with fresh ingredients. Think strawberry ice cream with locally grown berries. There also will be local fruits and other items for sundae toppings.

Farmers from throughout the area will sell their goods on site during their particular seasons. From maple syrup to asparagus to strawberries to veggies to corn to pumpkins and back again, just about everything fresh and local will be found at Bailiwick Cafe & Market.