by David King
This fourth of July, Catskills Family Creameries will be holding their second annual open house tour of seven small family farm dairies located in Deleware, Ulster, and Schoharie counties. Combining every young parent's two favorite words: fun and affordable, from noon to five participating dairies will be open to the public, offering visitors an opportunity to tour the dairy facilities, and meet the cows and goats that produce their milk. There will also be demonstrations of how butter, yogurt, cheese, milk, and gelato are made.
The Hudson Valley has long been home to such family run farms, but recent decades have seen a sharp decline in local dairy farmers, Dutchess County for example, went from having 275 dairy farms in the 1970s to 26 today. The Catskills Family Creameries tries to counteract this trend. It is a regional collaboration of nine family run dairy farms dedicated to encouraging sustainability and promoting the local farm industry. Its small farm model aims to encourage farmers to take responsibility for their animals and the food they sell, and make it easier for consumers to understand the source of their food and the way the animals are raised. It also means visitors on the tour will get a more up close look at the process than they would at a corporate dairy farm.
The participating farms will be Betty Acres Farm/Modern Milkmaid, Byebrook Farm, Cowbella Creamery, Dirty Girl Farm, Harpersfield Cheese by Brovetto Dairy & Cheese House, Lazy Crazy Acres, and Sherman Hill Farmstead. Visitors are advised to come in jeans and comfortable footwear, come early to receive a complimentary soft-sided insulated cooler to hold their on-site purchases (while supplies last). For more information, checkout their website