January 6, 2014
Homer farm finds retail niche
Trinity Valley Farm to sell bottled milk, locally made goods
HOMER — One of the owners of Trinity Valley Farms on Route 13 said his family wants to bring dairy products back to basics while fostering a sense of community when milk bottling begins and their retail shop stocked with locally-made goods opens on Jan. 10.
Branden Brown said it has been almost 10 months since he and his family began transforming an old sweet corn field into the Trinity Valley Farm milk production facility and retail shop at 2847 Route 13.
“The five of us, it’s been all our dream to do this so we all came together,” Brown said.
One of the staples of Trinity Valley Farms is the milk produced by the Holstein cows on the family dairy farm across the street that will be processed and bottled on site.
“We’re going to be processing our milk from our own dairy farm,” Brown said. “We have about 120 cows. We’ll milk in the mornings ... run it over, pasteurize the milk and we’re going to be making whole milk and whole chocolate milk.”
Brown says one of the reasons his family decided to open Trinity Valley Farm was because of the uncertainty in the national dairy industry that often contributes to price fluctuation consumers deal with.
“The milk price is so volatile for dairy farmers,” Brown said. “At record lows, your making all this milk and losing all this money, so eventually you just get sick of not knowing what your paycheck is going to be.”
He added that by regulating his company’s milk prices as opposed to leaving it up to the markets is something that can benefit customers financially as well.
Brown added the milk production at the farm is not only different from how its done in larger facilities, but believes it helps create a healthier product than what is currently unavailable in stores, through a process called slow-batch pasteurization.
“All the stuff you get in the store now is ultra-pasteurized,” Brown said. “It kills all the good bacteria that is in milk. With slow-batch pasteurization ... it kills the bacteria that will make you sick but it saves all the good bacteria that helps digestion.”
In addition to producing milk at Trinity Farms, Brown said Trinity Farms will also be selling grass-fed beef — also raised on property the family owns. CoffeeMania coffee will be served from the drive-thru window, and the shop will include a display with canned goods and products packaged in Cortland and surrounding counties.
“We’ve got local maple syrup which is made up on Morgan Hill in Truxton ... we got honey (and) the hives are on East Homer Baltimore Road up in Truxton and over in Cuyler, so it’s all local.”
Brown says regarding the various products on sale in the shop, there was an intended emphasis on buying and selling local, which his family felt obligated to do as part of the community.
“We’re a small, local place and we want to support the locals,” Brown said. “Little mom-and-pop shops — they live here, they spend their money here and they keep other small places going. I’d rather support the local businesses of people that live here than support a conglomerate that comes in the area.”
The farm has also been in discussion with local organizations about planning events for children and parents in 2014 to further educate community members about agricultural and production methods.
“Another part of this is educational,” Brown said. “People have been removed from the farming world, so people don’t know where their products come from. When the weather gets better, we’re going to do farm tours.”
Residents planning to visit Trinity Valley Farms when it opens on Friday can already look forward to addition and expanding the business, with plans to add baked goods, seasonal produce and wholesale distribution in upcoming months, and Brown said he is excited about changing the way people view the local dairy industry.
“We’re in it now,” Brown said. “So you gotta go for it.”
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe