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.
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.
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.
And when I say stunning, I really mean it.
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).
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).
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…
…and they spend their days happily chomping on grass and other wild foods.
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.
Check out their gorgeous coop- these are lucky birds!
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!