We have received many emails and phone calls from both new and past customers wondering if Steve will go back to selling raw milk. At this point in time, he is not able to open it up to the general public for many reasons. If anything changes, I will immediately post it to the blog. Thank you for understanding!

We also want to add that Steve and his brother Paul have been awarded Horizon Organic's Quality Assurance Award again for 2014.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Horizon Organic Dairy 2012 Quality Assurance Award

Stephen & Hope Galens
2012 National Quality Award winner
Congratulations to Hope and Stephen Galens of Clifton Springs, N.Y., Horizon’s 2012 National Quality Award winners! The Galens have shipped to Horizon since December of 2010. “I was fortunate enough to be in the top tier this year,” he says of the award. “It’s really nice to receive the appreciation and respect this award represents. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t enjoy it!”

Stephen has milked cows since he got out of high school, and now milks 22 cows on the home farm where he grew up. “I’m milking predominately Holsteins at the moment, crossbred with Jersey, Brown Swiss, and Norwegian reds,” he says. He decided to transition to organic because “We’d always been farming that way anyway. Doing it the way you were supposed to in conventional just burned me out.” Stephen farms with his brother Paul, who does the cropping and manages the young stock and pastures. “We hadn’t been using sprays on the land, and I told him ‘as long as you’re doing the extra work, you might as well reap the benefits,’ so he transitioned,” Stephen says.

Stephen attributes his stellar quality results with making it a high priority. “You have to want to do it,” he says. “It’s been my priority for quite a number of years now. The money end of it is nice, but it’s more about it being the right thing to do, and I feel good about it.” For Stephen, it’s become a daily habit and a process of continuous improvement. “I observe every day, try to find my weaknesses, and then try to improve on those,” he notes.

Separately from his contract with Horizon, Stephen sells raw milk, so gets inspected frequently. When asked what the secret is to producing high quality milk, Stephen says “You can’t put 100% of your faith in a machine: you’ve always got to be watching it. Anything can happen!” So when something does happen, it’s a process of elimination to find out where the problems are coming from. Here are a few tips from Stephen based on his experience:
·         For SCC and bacteria count, Stephen focuses on cow comfort and nutrition. “I don’t like to see a stressed cow, that’s always made me uneasy. We focus on keeping the cows comfortable and well fed. When the cows are in the barn, there’s always balage and ground ear corn there for them, and sometimes a little triticale. I don’t feed any soy, because I read that you have to watch that oilseed crops don’t go rancid: if they do, it can cause free radicals, which can cause inflammation. I feel there’s some merit to that idea based on my experience. Everybody’s farm is different; something different could work for someone else.”
·         For plate and PI counts, Stephen focuses on the equipment. He has a pipeline milking system. “On a nearly daily basis, I keep track of the wash temperature, do pH strips to check the pH of acid rinses, and use chlorine strips to make sure the sanitizing solution is where it’s supposed to be,” he says. To ensure he’s on track, he checks his numbers against a wash survey worksheet from Quality Milking Systems (QMS). “The strips may not be as accurate as a chemical test, but they keep me in a range that I feel comfortable with. One time I had a barrel of soap, and I checked it and found it wasn’t up to par with the amount of chlorine in it,” he notes.
·         Wash temperature: “I had an inspector give me a tip once that the most ideal wash temperature is 135 degrees, which means you have to start out at over 160 degrees, so that at the end of an 8-minute cycle, the temperature is still over 120 degrees. The most important number is that final temperature: if it drops below 120 degrees, you could get yourself in trouble,” he notes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2012 Monthly Milk Schedule

Please see calendar to the right for this month's milk sale schedule. The dates that are highlighted in RED are the days that Steve is selling milk. Please remember that weekdays are 2-5pm and Saturdays are 2-4pm.  As the number of customers increase, so does the waiting time for many folks. If you plan on getting a large quantity of milk (over 8 gallons), please let Steve know ahead of time to see if he can accommodate you on a different day. Also, please try to be as prompt as possible since after selling milk, Steve starts right in with the evening milking and chores. AS STATED ABOVE,  STEVE WILL STOP SELLING RAW MILK AS OF SEPT.2ND WITH SEPT. 1ST BEING THE LAST SALE DAY. HE WILL MOST LIKELY NOT BE ABLE TO START UP AGAIN UNTIL SPRING 2013. MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING ABOUT OTHER RAW MILK VENDORS AND ALL WE CAN SAY IS TO CHECK REALMILK.COM TO SEE IF THERE ARE ANY IN THE AREA.  Here is a link to a piece that Karen Miltner, milk customer and food writer for the D and C wrote: http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/her-staff/?p=4641  As always,thank you for your patience and your patronage! 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome to Galens Homestead Acres!

Welcome to the Galens Homestead Acres Blog!

The purpose of this blog is to inform our customers of any immediate issues that they need to know about, such as an issue that would prevent us from selling milk on a scheduled milk day.

In such an event, we would be unable to notify every customer in time and we would like to prevent anyone from having to make the trip here and then find out that Steve was unable to sell milk that day!

So, we are urging our customers to check the blog regularly to learn of any issues such as these. The blog could also be used for our customers to connect with each other for the purpose of ride-sharing or suggestions on what to use the milk for in addition to drinking.

If you do want a question answered, we suggest you contact us at galens@fltg.net or call us at 315-462-5178 since we will not be accessing the blog on a daily basis unless to post an immediate issue that everyone must know about.
Also, here are 2 websites you might find helpful: