Day in the Life

Six Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

Its Earth Day and we wanted to think about ways to be kind to our grand blue marble, Earth.

Here are 6 simple things you can do to drastically reduce your plastic waste.

With all the plastic being dumped into landfill and floating in our oceans, the time has come for all of us to behave more responsibly.

And that’s actually pretty easy.

You don’t have to be perfect, or completely change your way of living. Just follow these simple steps and you will cut down a lot of unnecessary waste.

Change your mindset

It all starts with changing the mindset.

Once you start to actively reduce your waste, you will realize just how much waste there is everywhere. And then, you’ll be able to make conscious decisions about what you buy.

You will be better prepared and will be likely to buy less “stuff” – as you’ll only buy what you need. That, in turn, can help you save money!

2. Say no to plastic bags

The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. So if you choose to stop using just one type of plastic – the plastic bag is a great place to start.

Stock up with a few reusable bags and you’ll never have to contribute to this waste again.

For example, reuseable produce bags are great to use to pack your fruit and veggies at markets. Pop your produce straight in the bags, and when you get home – wash them inside the bag, and pop them straight in the fridge.

They are also handy to use while shopping in a grocery store, or for general organization too.

3. Swap your plastic toothbrush for bamboo

It’s recommended that we change our toothbrush every 3-4 months. If these toothbrushes are plastic toothbrushes, that’s a huge amount of plastic waste that is being discarded every single year.

In fact, over 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in America alone.

Imagine if 50% of the American population swapped their plastic brush for a biodegradable bamboo brush. That would prevent 500 million pieces of plastic entering our environment every year, and 5 billion every decade!

Check out these bamboo toothbrushes – they work super well, have been recommended by multiple hygienists, come in cute colors, and work out to cost under $1.49 per brush (often cheaper than plastic ones.)

Swapping your plastic for bamboo toothbrush is another small change you can make, and save money while helping the environment, too.

4. Rethink the straw

Plastic straws are a one and done event. They are too small to be recycled, so their only destiny is either landfill or floating in our ocean.

Ask yourself: Do you really need the straw? Maybe it’s an added luxury…and you could get used to drinking without one?

Alternatively, you can keep a small pack of reusable straws in your bag at all times…and whip out in times of need. They are easy to clean and kind to our wildlife. Whether you prefer stainless steel drinking straws or bamboo straws, you’ll never have to drink with a plastic straw again.

5. Buy locally

At Cherry Grove Farm, we’re all about sustainable farming and treading lightly on the land.

When you buy from local markets, you can cut down your consumption of plastic packaging and will end up throwing less away.  We have a small “Sustainable Re-useables” section in the farm store that makes cutting back on waste a bit easier. Try our re-useable tea bags and coffee filters, or reusable beeswax wraps to keep food fresh without using plastic wrap.

6. Make more at home

There’s nothing wrong with getting take-out; the problem is the packaging that the take out often comes in.

Plastic lids, cutlery, wrap, styrofoam, polystyrene… None of it biodegrades which means that even though your meal only lasted once, the packaging will last forever.

We know it can be difficult to find the time for home cooking, but cooking meals in bulk can cut down a huge amount of time. And make enough to last two or three meals and it can be just as convenient as a take out – but with all the added benefits of being home-made, chemical-free, and plastic-free.

But if you must have those pot stickers or tacos al pastor, why not have a handy reuseable bamboo cutlery pack in the car and just say no to the plastic utensils? Reduce waste in your life.

***

Earth Day is a good day to think about what we can do to reduce waste and single use disposables. Hopefully these 6 simple steps have given you a little inspiration to reduce your waste today. And remember – it doesn’t all have to be implemented at once. Just one small change can make a big difference.

We are considering expanding our “Sustainables” section in the store to include bamboo reuseables. Tell us if this would help you reduce waste in your life!

Nereid’s Voyage

As a small-scale, pasture-oriented operation, Cherry Grove Farm works in very close contact with Mother Nature. Her wills and wiles dictate our day-to-day life, and for the most part we exist in harmony, but, now and again, we do find ourselves at cross purposes.

Back in April, a severe thunderstorm rocked the farm one night. Trees went down, power flickered on and off, and the creek spilled over into the marsh. During the storm one of our cows, Nereid, was caught by a large falling tree branch, and knocked on top of an electric fence line with the branch pinning her down. Poor Nereid received a series of shocks overnight, until we found her the next morning when the herd was brought in for early milking. The storm and its repercussions were frightening for all of our cows, but Nereid’s accident was extreme and she showed prolonged signs of weakness and lethargy. With little improvement over the weeks, we feared that she would not recover.

Over the summer months, fed by lots of personal attention and TLC, Nereid made a full recovery — and, was confirmed pregnant!

We are very happy to see our beautiful girl rejoin the larger herd with the other pregnant cows, and eagerly await greeting her new calf this spring. Congratulations, Nereid!

Notes From the Vat

We had a helluva zany week on the farm. A hellion-howling wind ran amuck last Friday, downing trees and causing general mayhem. Half the farm was without power and we are grateful all our aging rooms and milking equipment are functioning. A score of cows escaped their paddock, and a few went off and gave birth! (See the montage of new calves below.)

The big snow left us with downed trees, fractured fences, and more power issues. And another brand new calf this morning!

This is the beginning of that magical time of year when calves start popping out, so stay tuned for more cute calf pictures weekly. (This year’s naming convention is Greek Mythology!)

And now, the Cheese!

Oooumami:  Every year we mess about with a few raw milk, high moisture cheeses, and on occasion they shine. This is the closest we’ve gotten to a raw milk Buttercup in the last two years. Aging these things can be a fickle drama, but we’ve pulled off a very tasty, unique raw milk cheese. The rind is rich garden of molds, 60% bloomy, 40 % other. The paste is just wee bit ripened to butter, the rest cream cheese-like. And the flavor! Think the rich mushroom n beef flavors of stroganoff, rich roasted/seared meat notes, and a little lemon acidity to offset it all. Good cheese! Raw milk

Sugarcube (or batch 328): an experimental mixed rind with a line of ash through the middle for all the drama. May it bring a sweet light to your darkest winter. These are awesome right now and should be delightful on your cheeseplates with jam and chutney. Pasteurized milk. (see picture below)

Mooncakes!: A wilder, limited version of our Buttercup Brie. It features a smorgasbord of penicillium mold strains, in addition to the pure-white that we’re accustomed to. What you’ve got here is the unctuous butteriness of our standard Buttercup plus an intriguingly earthy, mushroomy, vegetal finish. Distinctly cave-y, mushroomy, like going spelunking in a cavern of earthy mushrooms with a sea of butter underneath you.

Bette Davis Eyes: Getting low on these guys but one batch left. A current favorite with cider or whiskey drinks, or drizzled with farm honey. Raw milk.

Herdsman:
Early November batches available now. Very creamy, stone-fruit and lactic aromas, classic tomme flavors, with notes of candied lemon and horseradish. Raw milk.

Havilah: August and Sept 2016 batches. This cheese just gets better and better with time. Current tasting notes include: butterscotch, broth, grass, caramelized onions, and of course, butter. Raw milk.

Toma: Early December wheels now available. Super rich winter milk makes Toma even more buttery and decadent. Slight paste break-down underneath the beautifully sunset-hued rind. Endlessly snackable, crowd pleasing, with a pleasant lemmony zip and nutty finish on the rind. Raw milk.

Rarebird: Limited availability.  Unctuously buttery… it literally melts in your mouth. AND THE FLAVOR…! Our tasting notes for this one include everything from beef stock and mushrms to shell fish and broccoli rabe. Every single bite is something different and the flavor is about as episodic. This is a beautifully complex batch. Made from a single milking. Raw milk.

Don’t forget to mark down March 30th on your calendars for this year’s Brewer’s Plate! For the uninitiated, Brewer’s Plate is a veritable cornucopia of the best suds n small plates from our regional brewers, chefs, farms and distilleries. A smorgasbord of delight that benefits our local food pioneers at Fair Food.

CHEESE!
Always grateful for your support.

Paul Lawler, Head Cheesemkaer

Katahdin on parade

Balancing Competing Herds

Our farm sits on 480 acres of land. Sounds like a lot, right? A large portion of that is woodland and wetland. Two sizable sections are leased to Z Food Farm and Cherry Grove Organic Farm, our local organic vegetable CSAs. That leaves about 230 acres to us for pasture land.

A farmer who wants to raise animals on pasture requires a large amount of acreage per animal. Not surprisingly, large animals need a lot of space to find the food they need to thrive. A cow needs to eat 4% of its body weight in nutritious forage each day. A dairy cow requires an even larger percentage to support a calf, and making milk. Pastures must be rested and maintained to support the nutritious greens the bovine herds require. Raising hay for the winter months is also a part of the equation. Good hay is expensive so we try to cut a lot of our own, and that takes acreage away from summer forage, reducing the number of animals we can support. The industry rule of thumb is 4 acres per cow if you also raise hay. (And lets not even get into the winter sacrifice fields.) Smaller critters, like sheep and pigs, can be kept on smaller plots. For example, you can raise 6 sheep on one acre, or 20ish pigs on one acre. But the animals still need to be rotated through the acreage so the grass and forage have time to rest and replenish.

Over the years, we have re-balanced our herds and flocks continuously. With a limited amount of pasture, and a growing demand for grass-fed meat, we have had our hands full determining what animals our pasture can realistically manage. Cherry Grove Farm is primarily a farmstead dairy producing cheese. So, dairy cows are our bread and butter. (Pun intended)

Because we believe in diversified sustainable farming, we raise about 40 pigs each year on 3-4 acres, with lots of room to root and forage. (Pigs consume the protein-rich whey that is a by-product of cheesemaking.) These days, we raise a few more beef than we used to, as the market pushes for that, but we cap it at eight beef per year. Sheep graze grass to its nub, making recovery longer (and problematic in droughty times). Last year we decided to cut back on our sheep production to allow more pasture for raising winter hay.

What can YOU expect to see in our freezer cases? A steady supply of pork and beef, raised here on the farm. Cherry Grove Farm lamb will become a seasonal product. We will be bringing in lamb from a grass-based farm in Delaware to satisfy our lamb customers. The farm we choose will raise sheep the way we have always raised them, on pasture without hormones or antibiotics.

And you can expect lots of cheese… a high quality, farmstead product from our own grass-fed cows’ milk, made by hand and fussed over by our dedicated cheese-making team. Because happy cows make really good cheese.


1902 - Family purchased farm

1910 - Leased land to dairy farmer

1987 - Hamill Brothers inherit farm

2002 - Started as a family business

2003 - Started a beef herd, laying hens, and pigs

2004 - Added sheep and attained organic certification of pasture land

2005 - Added dairy herd and began making fresh cheeses like mozzarella

2006 - Built aging caves and began making aged cheeses

2012 - Grid Magazine’s Cheese of the Month (Nov – Full Nettle Jack); Finalist at the Good Food Awards (Toma)

2013 - Won 2 blue ribbons from the American Cheese Society(for Buttercup Brie and Lawrenceville Jack Reserve); Added second cheesemaker

2014 - Broke ground on additional aging space and began process of getting AWA certification for our chickens
MENU