Farmer of the Week: Sidehill FarmRead Now
Sidehill Farm is a small, family run dairy farm that produces delicious, organic yogurt in Hawley, MA. Sidehill farm is owned by Amy Klippenstein and Paul Lacinski. They decided to start making yogurt because it is a healthy food “that your average person could afford to eat every day.” They started the farm nearly 20 years ago in Ashfield with only one cow and a small garden. They moved to their land in Hawley in 2012, which was previously an organic potato farm. Today, Sidehil Farm is the highest elevation operating farm in the state, and has a gorgeous view of rolling hills in every direction. They produce nearly 1,000 gallons of yogurt each day and have 225 acres of pasture and hay fields in the Berkshire Hills.
Their great care extends to their customers as well. Sidehill Farm raises Normandes and Jersey cows because their milk has a much higher protein content than traditional Holstein cow’s milk. This high protein content and natural cultures of their milk is essential for making firm yogurt naturally. Many companies use Holstein milk because the cows are a lot larger and produce much more milk per day, but have to add artificial ingredients to make their yogurt firm. Amy and Paul sell their raw milk at their small farm shop. They also sell their sour cream, yogurt, grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and cheddar cheese. Additionally, they carry many products from other nearby farms including cheese, eggs, ice cream, and even pickles.
Paul and Amy both love the “moments in farming of breathtaking beauty” and the ability to spend so much time with nature and animals. They love contributing good, healthy food to their community and love when customers stop through to visit the farm. Sidehill Farm's yogurt is available at Harvest Market in the Campus center and other retail dining locations on campus. Be sure to check out their farm stand in Hawley if you are ever in the area!
Thank you so much, Amy and Paul, for all of the hard work you do to care that you have for the earth and to provide such delicious, healthy, unique yogurt to our community.
Photo credits: Keith Toffling
Brrrr… winter is here, and so are all of the holidays that go along with it! If you haven’t started thinking about the food you’ll be eating during your celebrations, UMass Fresh has you covered. Just like the Thanksgiving meal from November, this month’s holiday meal will be starring a delicious assortment of local foods from the Pioneer Valley and greater New England region. All menu items come pre-cooked and are filled with festive, sustainable ingredients.
December’s UMass Fresh Holiday Dinner will include an all-natural, humanely-raised ham from California’s Niman Ranch. For the non-meat eaters at the table, the menu also features a vegetarian “Wellington” topped with mushroom jus and stuffed with vegetables from Hadley’s Czajkowski Farm. Each meal is intended to feed 6-8 people.
For just $99.95 (plus tax), the full meal includes:
• Niman Ranch All Natural Ham with Cold Spring Orchard Cider Glaze
• Czajkowski Farm Vegetable “Wellington” with Mushroom Jus
• Little Leaf Farms Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette with Warm Colors Apiary Honey Roasted Beets, Shaved Fennel, and Red Onions
• Szawlowski Farm Slow-Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
• Hadley-Grown Roasted Butternut Puree with Spiced Walnuts
• Pioneer Valley Sweet Potato Gratin with North Hadley Sugar Shack Maple Syrup
• Pioneer Valley Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon Lardons
• Cranberry Grain Bread Loaf
• Gingerbread Roulade & Almond Cookies
Support local farms and businesses while enjoying a delicious holiday meal cooked by the award-winning chefs of UMass Dining. Place your order online at http://umassdining.com/holiday by Tuesday, December 19th at 8:00 PM and let the festivities begin!
Orders will be available for pickup at the Campus Center’s Harvest Market on:
• Friday 12/22 from 12pm – 5pm
• Saturday 12/23 from 12pm – 5pm
• Sunday 12/24 from 12pm – 5pm
Warm Colors Apiary is located on eighty acres of woodlands, open fields, and wetlands in South Deerfield, MA. They produce over seven different kinds of delicious regional honeys from Western MA. Right now at Warm Colors Apiary, owners Dan and Bonita Conlon are working to prepare their bees for the coming winter. They are insulating the hives, checking them for disease, and making sure there is enough honey in the hives for their bees to survive through the long stretch of cold weather approaching. UMass Dining is the largest single buyer of Warm Colors Apiary honey. Their honey is used in the Dining Commons and the UMass Bakeshop.
Honeybees and other pollinators are crucial to the health of ecosystems and the survival of humans. More than 75% of all flowering plants on earth need pollinators to reproduce, including a majority of the food that we eat. Dan Conlon explained that bees have been around for 80 million years and have overcome all kinds of natural phenomenon, but many species of pollinators, including bumble bees, are endangered. The decline of pollinator species is attributed to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, and Warm Colors works to provide both of those for their bees and other pollinators.
Since we last spoke with Warm Colors in April 2017, they have been working with UMass Amherst to incorporate more bees into the UMass landscape, and will hopefully be installing new beehives in different gardens around campus in the coming year. This project hopes to connect students to bees and other pollinators and educate them about beekeeping and honey harvesting. Installing beehives on campus would also provide ultra local honey for students to enjoy. Additionally, Warm Colors Apiary is working with Graduate students in the School of Engineering to develop sensors that diagnose disease within beehives to help beekeepers like Dan and Bonita catch and treat them early before they spread out of control.
Dan urges readers to be aware that “the biggest threat to all of these creatures is human activity. Everyone should be conscious of their activities, actions, and how they affect the environment.” Dan has many suggestions for how everyone can help bees to survive and thrive:
"Everything in nature has a purpose and contributes in some way to the cycle of life. Insects are actually very important to humans. I admire these little creatures."
Many thanks to Warm Colors Apiary for all of their hard work to protect pollinators and for their many contributions to the UMass Amherst community. UMass Dining is so thankful to work with you. For more information about Warm Colors Apiary, visit their website.
Photo credit: Keith Toffling
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