Two local products have recently arrived in our dining halls: Frost Valley Farm eggs and Ronnybrook Farm Dairy milk! Both combine great taste and nutrition with farming practices that prioritize animal ethics and environmental stewardship.

Chickens have long lived at the Frost Valley Farm (4 miles by foot and 12 by car from Main Camp), but this spring, thanks to careful research by our farm manager, we were able to welcome an additional 200 hens to our existing group of 25. All live in a renovated space at the farm and have been producing steadily: 28,000 eggs between May and September!

Farm staff collect the eggs twice daily, wash them in an egg washer, and deliver them in reusable flats (waste reduction!) to our dining halls. Often, this simply means walking across the yard: during the summer, Farm Camp receives egg deliveries on foot and the rest go just one mile down the road to East Valley Ranch. Our chickens lay enough eggs to cover 100% of the needs at these two summer programs.

Beginning this time of year, when our East Valley programs are less active, the eggs travel about 20 minutes around the mountain to our kitchens at Main Camp.

By producing eggs on-site, we can rest assured that we know exactly how well our chickens are treated. They are free to move about a large grassy area and are often spotted searching for bugs and just being chickens!

We have also recently started sourcing our milk from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy of Ancramdale, NY. The dairy brings a parallel focus on ethical treatment of farm animals, using “beyond organic” practices that combine healthy cows and strong environmental stewardship. For more information, check out the Ronnybrook Farm Dairy website here: http://www.ronnybrook.com/about/

The milk travels only 75 miles to reach Frost Valley and is shipped through our existing ice cream distributor to completely eliminate the carbon emissions from a dedicated milk delivery truck.

The milk is stored in attractive dispensers that educate about the local attributes of the product and allow us to stop sending individual milk cartons to the landfill. In the past, milk carton waste has been almost 50% of our Dining Hall trash. Now, it no longer exists!

Both the milk and eggs have been well-received. Our kitchen staff reported an increase of 30% in milk consumption in the first month this summer, and our staff are raving about the quality of the hard-boiled eggs served at lunch.

For all of the reasons mentioned above, we are looking forward to finding our next local food sourcing opportunity!

Katharine Chute

About the Author

Katharine Chute

Katharine Chute is the Sustainability Coordinator at Frost Valley YMCA. She works on projects ranging from renewable energy and recycling to habitat enhancement and local food production. She is originally from Minnesota, where she first developed her love of the outdoors on canoe camping trips near the Canadian border. Here in New York, she enjoys exploring the Catskill Mountains by foot and bike and sharing her love of the natural world with others!

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