Healthy Living Loves Local: A Visit to Hawthorne Valley Farm
A group of us from the Saratoga Springs Healthy Living and Cafe recently visited Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 400 acre Biodynamic and certified organic farm in beautiful Ghent, NY.
We had a great tour of the farm led by Lauren Wolff and enjoyed meeting Steffen Schneider, Director of Farm Operations. Steffen has been a Biodynamic practitioner since 1983 and he shared with us the holistic approach of Biodynamic farming and the cyclical rhythms of the farming methods that make this such a special environment.
Hawthorne Valley Farm is part of Hawthorne Valley Association, an educational not-for-profit organization. They do a wonderful educational mission that helps reconnect people to the land, livestock and in reminding us where our food comes from. Their are visiting student programs, weekend workshops, self guided tours and cheesemaking classes available at the farm.
Our Saratoga Springs cheese department is pleased to offer the wonderful farmstead, artisan cheese crafted by their cheesemaker, Peter Kindel.
It was great to spend time with Peter in the creamery and to visit the caves to see the cheese at various stages in the aging process.
We love the complexity of flavors in Peter’s clothbound cheddar. It is not as sweet as other cave aged clothbound and has a satisfying, lingering finish without any of the bitter notes found in some cheddars.
The 60-cow dairy herd of Hawthorne Valley Farm is a mix of mostly Brown Swiss, a little Jersey, and a remnant bit of Holstein.
The Brown Swiss and Jersey milks have a higher fat content and a higher protein content than other breeds’ milks and contribute to the fine cream line in the Hawthorne Valley Farm’s raw milk the cheese is made from.
The pigs at Hawthorne Valley Farm play an important part in the cheese making by consuming the whey left from the curd production.
We really enjoyed an amazing day at the farm and plan to return soon to spend more time in this enchanting valley. Be sure and stop by our Cheese Department and ask for a taste of these wonderful cheeses.