by Nicole Distasio, Sustainable Dining Fellow, Center for Sustainability
Meet your first farmers: Ashlee Kleinhammer and Steven Googin of North Country Creamery, a first generation dairy farm in the Adirondack North Country.
North Country Creamery is a 115-acre farm located in Keeseville, NY, 20 minutes south of Plattsburgh. They produce farmstead cheeses, creamline yogurt, and raw milk, all 100% grass-fed, non-GMO, NYS Grown and Certified, and Animal Welfare Approved dairy. Their Shorthorn and Jersey cows graze on pastures overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. They use no added colors or stabilizers and use organic, local, or fair-trade ingredients as often as possible.
The land itself was purchased by the Open Space Institute and the Klipper Family Fund so that an easement could be put on the property. This way, the land can never be broken up and sold off and will always stay farmland. The land was already used for dairy operations, so it was all set to get up and running, it just needed a farmer. So, the OSI leased the property to Ashlee and Steven, who, after four years, decided to purchase it. In an interview with Gina Agnano for Do North Magazine, Steven said, “The community engagement that comes with this kind of farming where we’re dealing directly with the consumer, especially in this day and age where folks want to be closer to their food source, we get to meet a lot of wonderful people.” Right now, the farm actually finds this easier than before.
Ashlee told me, “Business is actually busier than usual for this time of year, so we are pleasantly surprised by that.” The Creamery is following all CDC guidelines for COVID-19. They are practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and increasing sanitization. Employees must log every time they come in to work to confirm that they’ve washed their hands for 20 seconds.
During this situation with COVID-19, it’s even more important than ever to take care of yourself. For those of you still in the Adirondacks, North Country Creamery suggests stocking up on their probiotic-rich yogurt, nutrient-dense milk, and indulge yourself in some local cheeses found at the farm-owned Clovermead Café and Farmstore. We all need some nourishing food during these stressful times! Might as well make it local! Product can also be purchased at other retail locations found here. However, please note that raw milk can only be purchased on the farm due to NYS law.
Ashlee says, “Overall, I’d say we are so thankful to be farming and living rurally during these trying times—I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.”
North Country Creamery will have a representative available in the Student Center on October 19th during lunch. Please note that the date is subject to change. Lunch will feature mac and cheese using North Country Creamery farmstead cheese. We hope to see you there!