I recently had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon with camera in hand at the lovely Brykill Farm, a small, family-owned grass-fed beef ranch, in Gardiner, NY.

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I feel very lucky on two counts. First, that Brykill Farm is just minutes from my home. And second, that I can call Susan Eckhardt, the owner of the farm, my friend.

Susie

Every time I visit, I am so impressed by how Suzy has created a place of stunning beauty, where her animals live healthy, happy lives.

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And when I say stunning, I really mean it.

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Brykill Farm is comprised of 450 acres. There are woods (where Suzie and I foraged for ramps earlier this spring), there are pond/stream habitats (home to numerous wildlife species), and there’s more than ample pasture for the cows (they are carefully rotated around the property).

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Suzy resides right on the farm, with her children and husband, Johannes Knoops. They live in this lovingly restored stone house, a dwelling that’s been standing for hundreds of years (the home is on the National Historic Register).

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Suzy and Johannes, an architect, have also renovated several guest houses on the farm (these are available for rent).

Brykill holds itself to high humane standards, treating its herd gently and advocating a late weaning schedule so that calves get to spend as much time with their mothers as possible…

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…and they spend their days happily chomping on grass and other wild foods.

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This allows the meat they produce to be high in omega-3 fatty acids (including super healthy CLA/conjugated linoleic acid). Their beef is range finished with organic grain from another local farm, something Suzy feels very strongly about.

The animals are never removed from pasture, but the additional grain they eat ensures they’ll have a higher fat content than purely grass-fed beef. A higher fat content means more CLA (this nutrient is stored in fat) and a better flavor than beef that is 100% grass-fed.

Only a small number of cows go to the slaughterhouse each year. Suzy insists on using a local company to process her beef: the cows need only travel a few miles to the slaughterhouse, so the end of their lives isn’t too stressful.

Suzy also raises chickens.

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Check out their gorgeous coop- these are lucky birds!

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For more information about Brykill and to find out how to purchase their beef, you may contact the farm here.

Many thanks to Suzy for allowing me to hang out with her and take photos of her beautiful place…in my next post, I’ll share a recipe featuring her wonderful beef!

 

6 Comments

  1. 1

    Monet — June 21, 2010 @ 9:22 am

    I so enjoyed looking at all of these pictures…what a wonderful farm and family! Their home is absolutely stunning, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend a weekend. Thank you for sharing.

  2. 2

    carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com — June 21, 2010 @ 9:26 am

    We too buy our beef & chicken from local farms. I’m so happy that we have that luxury and we can buy these meats knowing that the animals lived happy lives and were treated well. It makes such a difference!

  3. 3

    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — June 21, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    Lovely to see this practice being carried on. I grew up in the country and this is the way that everyone grew their beef, pork and chickens “back in the day.” We only slaughtered what our family needed and it was done at a local processor. I so wish I could find a local supplier for meats in my area!

  4. 4

    Agnes — June 22, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Such lovely people and a lovely farm

  5. 5

    Grass-Fed Rib-Eye Steak with Vodka Cream Sauce | Healthy Green Kitchen — June 23, 2010 @ 8:14 am

    [...] steak, preferably grass-fed (for more info about why grass-fed beef is healthier, please see this post; to order beef from Brykill Farm, download their order form here) *olive oil *coarse sea salt [...]

  6. 6

    suzy — April 15, 2011 @ 5:51 am

    So fun to see these photos again and remember what fun that day was. I can’t believe its almost time for spring calves! Thanks for supporting local farming Winnie and thank you for the nice comments everyone!