Byebrook Farm and Cheese
In 1985, Paul and Gwen Deysenroth began farming on Gwen’s family’s farm in Bloomville, Delaware County. Their sons — Paul, Daniel and Dennis — are the eighth generation to live and farm there. The 154-acre dairy farm consists of approximately 40 Holsteins and an equal number of young stock. The herd is grass-based, intensive grazing on pasture during the summer months and feeding on dry hay and baleage through the winter. Byebrook Farm is a model for grazing workshops and routinely hosts Council outings and pasture walks. In 2008, the New York State Agricultural Society recognized Byebrook Farm as a bicentennial farm.
In 1992, the family enrolled as a pilot farm in the Watershed Agricultural Program. Since then, the farm has benefited from the Ag Program in many ways. The Best Management Practices implemented on the farm include: calf and heifer housing, watering systems, fencing, milk house waste systems and laneways. Byebrook also participates in the Nutrient Management Credit Program where they receive benefits annually for properly handling their manure. The farm is also a member of the Pure Catskills by local campaign.
In 2002, Paul and Gwen caught the itch to diversify their business. Looking for a way to make more money — without expanding their herd, and hope fully support two families (should one of their sons choose to farm) — the Dey senroth’s explored their value-added options in dairy. Paul had always dreamed of bottling and selling the farm’s milk, but with the expense and laws associated with bottling, the couple began researching cheesemaking. A watershed-sponsored tour of a Hudson Valley cheese producer sparked the couple’s interest. Paul and Gwen began travelling to other cheese producers and educating themselves on the process and industry regulations. After visiting a Vermont cheesemaker with a similar farm to their own, they decided on Gouda cheese.
In May 2008, the Deysenroth’s produced their first batch of Byebrook Raw-Milk Gouda cheese. Over the last year, the family has brought 13 batches of cheese, with its signature red wax rind and eye-catching label, to market. The cheese — sold at the Delhi and Andes farmers’ markets, local stores and on the farm – regularly sells out. The cheese is currently made by Paul, Gwen, and son Daniel at the Cooperstown Cheese Company in Milford, NY. Paul hauls 2,000 pounds of milk to Milford in a bulk tank and transports the finished product, 200 pounds of cheese, back to the farm. The cheese is aged for at least 60 days in an aging room that was built adjacent to the farm’s milk house. “We really get enjoy ment out of selling our milk directly to the consumer,” says Gwen.
So what does the future hold for Byebrook Farm? Realistically with milk prices remaining low and their youngest son, Dennis now farming side by side with the couple, they would like to expand the cheese-making business and produce the cheese on-site. When asked if they would like to make cheesemaking a full-time career, Gwen replied, “We’re not really the indoor type of people.” So for now, the cheese is selling and they’re taking it one batch at a time. With all three sons, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters living on the farm, there is never a dull moment…and hay (and cheese) help is always just a stone’s throw away.
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