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[Photographs: Dave Katz and Robyn Lee]

For someone who's always looking for high-quality eggs, milk, and produce, but can't always shell out the big bucks, it's always nice to meet people making them more available and affordable.

Five Acre Farms isn't an actual farm. It's a brand that brings together a handful of different small-to-medium sized farms within 275 miles of New York City. Battenkill Valley Creamery in upstate New York, for example, provides their milk, and Champlain Orchards in Vermont is behind the apple cider.

The goal of Five Acre Farms is to distribute high quality milk, eggs, and apple products (juice, cider, and sauce) to a range of grocery stores throughout the city. Not just the Union Markets and Zabar's, but also the C-Towns and Key Foods, which don't always offer many local options, or if they do, they're prohibitively expensive. The best part about Five Acre Farm—they're not the priciest one on the shelf. Instead, they fall somewhere between the premium brands and the more generic ones.

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"You just can't find higher-quality dairy at this price," says CEO Daniel Horan of the $4.99 gallon of great milk. The milk-loving gang here at SEHQ has been drinking up these milks (fat-free, reduced-fat, and whole) from Battenkill Valley by way of Five Acre Farms. You might recognize Battenkill's own label, available in glass and plastic bottles (with the baby on the packaging), which did really well in our NY local milk tasting). Their reduced-fat is so creamy and naturally sweet, you almost think you accidentally poured the whole. Under the Five Acre Farms label, Battenkill can have a larger distribution.

Five Acre Farms doesn't source from organic farms, at least not yet. Instead they try to support independent farms that may not be able to afford the organic certification, but still follow a set of sustainable farming standards. This is partly why Five Acre Farms can keep costs low. Uncertified they may be, the farms raise cows that are primarily grass-fed and hens that are calm and cage-free.

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You almost feel like you're meeting the happy hens when you buy these eggs ($4.99 for a dozen). The carton contains a little picture of the farmers along with their story. Crack one of the eggs open and out comes the cloudy whites and deeply golden yolks. These are the kind of eggs that make you want to add an egg on top of everything.

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Both the apple juice, from Samascott Orchard upstate, and the apple cider, made from 20 apple varieties at Champlain Orchards in Vermont, taste refreshingly juicy, like biting into a crisp, squirty apple. They also come with a tag about the family-run orchards. The applesauce, from Samascott Orchards, is made with apples only, but almost tastes cinnamony because of its natural sweetness.

Check the Store Locator to find Five Acre Farms at grocery stores near you.

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