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Feb 3, 2010 12:36 PM

Long Island sources of grass fed, pastured, humanely and sustainably raised meat and dairy

This topic was raised in another topic, but it seemed like it might be very useful to have a dedicated thread to sources of all the above including stores, farmer's markets and individual farms.

Some of us want to know that our food comes from humanely treated animals, or from eco friendly, sustainable practices, or want the healthiest, purest we can buy and some want all the above. Some care about humane certification. I don't care about that label as long as I can find information on the farms involved or the store's standards for their products. I figure if a dairy cow is grass fed, it's living a superior quality of life to factory farmed critters.

Some folks care about buying locally produced farm products more than others.

I buy grass fed milk from Fairway in Plainview, more rarely at Wild by Nature. Seasonally, at least, I'm able to buy Organic Valley butter from grass fed cows.

I know I've seen info about LI farms that sell their own products directly spread out in other threads, so maybe Coll and who know such sources will be kind enough (noodge, noodge) to add those here?

I have yet to shop at my closest poultry and organic produce farmer, Makinajian's in Huntington, but will report here when I finally do.

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  1. Thank you for posting.
    The east end of LI has a variety of organic farms, again seasonal and most are co-ops.
    The dairy on LI is what is difficult. We resort to Organic Valley, since we are out east and quite far from Plainview.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LondonS

      I do the winter share CSA at Garden of Eve farm in Riverhead, and that includes eggs from their range-raised chickens.

    2. Off the top of my head (and I will return to this, but I've been up almost 24 hours straight): certified organic or not, I can't verify this minute, but you see the livestock at the source so that's good enough for me. It's sort of seasonal, but since the animals are here year round, the product is mostly available year round too. Just knock on the front door of the farmhouse, they don't seem to mind.

      I get my eggs mostly at Lewins in Baiting Hollow, not the big touristy building in Wading River but at their house just east of there,and just west of Edwards Ave. All different sizes and colors of eggs mixed together in the carton. Chickens running around under your feet (and geese and ducks and so on) you can't miss it, although there is no sign, just an "Open" flag. A few years ago they were cheaper than the grocery store, sold on a card table roadside with a coffee can for money: but lately they moved into the barn and more than doubled the price. Still worth it. Other favorite egg places: the place on Noyac Road by Coast Grill, fresh chickens and eggs all year round. In East Hampton, Iancono on Long Lane, organic and free range for sure. Ty Llewlyn in Riverhead, mostly eggs and they put out a sign occasionally for stew hens. I mean , you see the chickens at all these places running around and they seem quite happy, so I would call that humane. Bayview in Aquebogue has their own eggs (chicken and duck) and up til last time I was there 99 cents/doz (for chicken, not duck). Ducks here are raised disgustingly, mostly at Crescent in Flanders (or Riverside) so can't recommend for what you're looking for. They do sell them at Bayview though if you want. Duck eggs at Milowski's on Rte 25 in Calverton.

      Cheese, either Catapano in Mattituck for goat or Mecox in Bridgehampton for cow. You can get these at local cheese stores, like Cavaniola in Sag Harbor, otherwise for Catapano go hang with the goats. Last time I was there, they let me milk one!

      For unusual, there is an oyster farm east of Greenport, and the lavender farm right at the crossroads there sells their own lavender honey (they are seasonally open though). And don't forget the Tweeds buffalo farm on Roanoke Ave in Riverhead, they used to import their bison meat from South Dakota but their herd grew so big they're harvesting it themselves. Mostly for their restaurant I think, if they sell it it's not at the farm, but fun to check out the herd.

      If you're looking for beef or pork, not sure if you will find it out here. At least not commercially. Never saw milk either.

      OK after some rest I will return to this with more ideas. Need...sleep.....

      8 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Noyac Road by Coast Grill, fresh chickens and eggs all year round.

        I don't live all that way out, but I must admit that I do work on Projects that far and always stop in for eggs.

        I am part of the HOG farm (not pork just seasonal veggies and fruit) a CSA in Brookhaven Hamlet; some of the farmers there also sell their free roaming chicken eggs. Beaver Dam Road in Brookhaven if anyone is interested.

        The butter, yogurt, and milk have been the most difficult to find. I don't think there are any producing dairy's on LI. Organic Valley Dairy usually uses the local area farm for that region, and in my research somewhere I read that the local upstate farm is a pasture feed heard, so that is better than nothing. I do wish it could be confirmed, for both quality and humane reasons. The best I can do for yogurt that my son will eat is Stonyfield.
        But i haven't given up yet......Will post if I find anything more

        1. re: LondonS

          I passed by the chicken farm in Noyac today, it's called North Sea Farm. Got almost nine hours sleep so my brain was finally working on all cylinders.

          1. re: LondonS

            Ronnybrook from upstate Columbia County is really nice for top of the line milk and cream. Pasture fed, free range etc. I just love the old fashioned glass bottles, and the cream on top of the milk. I find it in most gourmet type supermarkets on Long Island.

            1. re: coll

              Ronnybrook is sold at wild by nature, in Setauket. Stopped in just in case we snow tonight.

              1. re: LondonS

                I was trying to remember all the places I've bought it (Besides upstate when I lived right near them, so I'm prejudiced). Definitely found at Citarellas on the East End, and Whole Foods and of course Wild by Nature, they have such nice people working there.....stopped by Trader Joes in Lake Grove earlier for the same reason, and was shocked to see Whole Foods has opened on the other side of the mall, a perfect triumverate of those two and my Oriental store for future pantry stocking.

                1. re: coll

                  I have shopped at machinacians, and the chicken there is great...the kids love to see all the sheep and ducks out front, but these chickens and their eggs, while raised organically, are not pastured--they are cage free. I would recommend this farm for certified organic vegetables in the summer months--when you drive by they put up on their fence what they have available and in season...they do carry some organic non-homogenized milk there...Haig i think...i get that, but have seen that their is a real milk club on long island I am new hear so i dont know if you can post links, but here it is : I am planning on joining the club in the near future and will post my thoughts on it. I couldnt get ronnybrook at wild by nature this past week, i was sad about that--i love their milk! Though i wish i could just buy raw milk in the store!!!

                  1. re: AlexClark

                    Thanks for the information on Makinajian's. I'm not concerned about organic or raw dairy so much as grass feeding/pasturing as a food source.

                2. re: LondonS

                  Now that we have a Whole Foods nearby (only 45 minutes!) I've discovered Milk Thistle milk that comes (also) from near where I lived upstate, in Ghent. The best commercial milk I've ever tasted.

          2. I get grass-fed beef from Fresh Direct. I don't know where they source it, but at least it's grass fed. They also have Ronnybrook farm products, veggies from Satur Farms, and fruit from Red Jacket Orchards.

            8 Replies
            1. re: LloydG

              I don't think Fresh Direct comes any farther into Long Island than Great Neck.

              1. re: EZ Pass

                I have bought into Michael Pollan also. As such, here are some of the things I've done, accomplished, discovered and failed at in an attempt to "convert". These are offered in no particular order.

                Makinajian's raises organic chickens but the main ingredient in their feed is still corn. That is not pasture raised as I understand it. In addition, the list of other ingredients was full of things I'd never heard of.

                I joined a CSA that gets its produce from Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Jamesport. The winter CSA was full of root veggies but was fun nonetheless. Borscht, anyone? I've signed for the Spring-to-Fall season also. It costs $510, and starts 5/31 and ends 11/23.

                Whole Foods is not much help. Almost all their organic produce comes from California or South America. Their Organic chicken is on the expensive side and their grass-fed beef is expensive and very limited in terms of cuts of meet. Most has to be braised. They do have 90/10 grass-fed chopped meet. Also they have Neiman Ranch products. Although they are not, to my knowledge, grass-fed they are sustainably raised. They are also very high in fat content. Applegate also has grass-fed hotdogs.

                I have gone to Brooklyn to buy grass-fed meats. Because I live in Nassau county, when I go, I tend to buy $100 or so worth of meat. I've been to Marlow and Daughters and The Meat Hook , both in Williamsburg. The butchers at both are very patient and informative. I've bought whole chickens, steaks, chopped meat, lamb chops, pork products and various sausages from both. By and large I've been very happy with everything I've bought there.

                To fill in, I also go to Fairway, Waldbaums and Stop and Shop for organic milk products and some produce. Fairway has grass-fed milk. The produce is from California; Not thrilled but If i want a salad in winter, well.......

                Well that's it so far. It hasn't been real easy or very economical but I do feel good about the food "path" we've embarked on.

                1. re: toby1355

                  I just finished the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The story of a woman and her family's "food path." If you like Pollan's books - you should give this a try.

                  1. re: toby1355

                    Hi, there, Toby. I did the Golden Earthworm summer CSA last year and signed up again for this upcoming, but (as I'd mentioned above) for the winter I did Garden of Eve. The most recent pickup (first weekend of March) included three dozen eggs--and you can go there and SEE the chickens feeding in the pastures from the moveable chicken houses, just like that farm Pollan mentions (they also raised some dogs with the chickens, to protect the latter from foxes and raccoons. Neat.). Absolutely wonderful eggs; the stupidmarket eggs are inedible in comparison. AFAIK, they don't sell chicken.

                    I'd do Garden of Eve for the summer share, 'cept they don't have local pickups--I don't mind driving to Riverhead once a month, but every week (OK, there's a Sayville summer pickup, too, but I still can't count on being able to get there).

                    1. re: Scott_R

                      You might think the dogs are neat, but don't get too close, they're pretty scary.

                      1. re: coll

                        "Neat" in that they raised the dogs with the chickens so they protect them, not in "aw, cute little doggy..."

                        1. re: Scott_R

                          I guess that's what watchdogs are supposed to do......

                  2. re: EZ Pass

                    Fresh Direct is all over the Hamptons, maybe it's only summertime though. I see caravans of their trucks all the time lately.

                2. HUGELY appreciating this thread - thank you, all!

                  1. You should try Browder's Birds on the North Fork. Their chickens are pasture raised and certified organic. You can buy them at the farm in Southold, at the farmer's market in Westhampton Beach (on Saturdays), and they have recently partnered with a few CSA's who deliver around LI and NYC. Great chickens!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: carrie2126

                      I just took a look at their web site. I have to say, they sure cram an awful lot of birds into a miserable, crowded space. Not ideal conditions to be packed so tightly like that, IMO.

                      1. re: mcf

                        That containment house is so weird! Everywhere else on the North Fork you can see what I consider pasture raised, meaning you have to watch out when you drive by because they're wandering around freely. Although these birds may be pasture raised, it's definitely not free range, and now I see the difference.

                        1. re: coll

                          I don't understand why they can't just use chicken wire fence and netting and a less crowded enclosure if they need one at all?

                          1. re: mcf

                            It looks so claustrophobic and makes me think if I want to go healthy, there is a lot more research that needs to be done. Or I'll buy a few chicks in the spring myself!

                            1. re: coll

                              That's the thing. From now on, I have to make sure that "pastured" isn't used to signify "chickens packed into a bottomless crate and left on the grass for hours" rather than chickens getting exercise, fresh air and the freedom that "pasturing" connotes. I mean, instead of moving packed crates of chickens around, why not let the chickens move around?

                        2. re: mcf

                          I'm not sure what we can tell from those pictures. If it's this one
                          that's attracting the comments, did the birds all move over to the uncovered 1/2 (i.e. to be in the sun)? If so, they're crowding themselves.

                          1. re: Scott_R

                            It's still not what you think when you think "happy chickens". I like to see them running around like the little lunatics they are. These are cooped up, however you look at it.

                            1. re: coll

                              These portable, movable "chicken tractors" are a great step in naturally raised birds. The problem with "Seeing them running around like little lunatics", is the constant threat of predators, Hawks, dogs, feral cats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, etc. etc.

                              Much better to scratch the weedy earth, vs. being crammed into a growing shed where each bird has no room to move and exist on a wire floor.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  True but that depends on how you "drag" it around. From the photo it looks like thios one is a one person operation, no aux. power needed.