North Country Farm Getting Ready to Debut Its Own Ice Cream
Old McDonald's Farm in Sacket's Harbor is about to debut a new product that its sixth-generation owners, the Robbins family, have been working on during quarantine.
While many farmers have had to dump milk because they haven't found a plant to pasteurize and bottle their milk, the Robbins teamed up with James Munn at Black River Valley Natural in Lyons Falls to churn out new products.
"They knew they wanted to get their own milk,” Robbins Family Grain-North Harbor Dairy spokesman Jake Ledoux told NNY360. “It’s not something you just go and do. You either have to build your own processing plant, which is very expensive and time consuming with a lot of regulations, or you have to find someone to do it for you. We knew [Munn] was a man who could make our dreams a reality."
According to NNY360, Munn was born and raised in Lewis County and grew on his grandfather's dairy farm. So when he and his wife, Bethany, moved back from out-of-state, they opened their dairy processing business and got to work helping farmers who wouldn't have the means to process their own milk otherwise.
“We basically decided we wanted to do something more and we decided to give back,” Munn told NNY360. “To be part of the local food movement and helping the farmers, it’s so much more rewarding and fulfilling than our lives before this.”
Up until last week, the 1,200 cows on the Robbins' dairy farm had not been producing milk for the farm. But the Robbins have already purchased a couple hundred jugs to be filled with product, and they tell NNY360 that's only the starting point.
While Old McDonald's Farm won't open until July because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Robbins are taking pre-sale orders for their "creamline" milk and ice cream on their website. Half-pints are $4, pints are $6, and sampler packs of four half-pints are $16, although those are sold out for now.
Ledoux said both the milk and ice cream are "full," and come in a variety of flavors. And although he said he'd hardly call it a diet ice cream, the products are full of real ingredients.
The Honey Vanilla ice cream features real, local honey. Adirondack Breakfast has real maple syrup, along with bacon and waffle cone bits. Other flavors include Sackets Strawberry, Another Cookie Please, Muddy John Deere, Peanut Butter Cup, Cup of Joe, Cowlick Chocolate, Backyard Campfire and Carl's Carmel, which honors Carl Robbins, Old McDonald's third generation farmer, who died in February at 83 years old.
“We found that this is a great way to get local milk in front of folks, and I know some farms are doing the same,” Ledoux told NNY360. “We’ve been fortunate where we haven’t had to dump milk consistently. But we’re always looking for ways of how do you bring the consumer back to the farm and how they connect with the farm.”
Milk and ice cream will be available at the farm's store at its visitors center starting Wednesday, May 20, NNY360 reports. The store at 14369 County Route 145 in Sackets Harbor will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with curbside pickup available by request.