Townspeople and students alike started off their Halloween festivities early on Saturday morning by attending the final Village of Hamilton Farmer’s Market of the season. The frosty grass and brisk morning air marked the beginning of the end of mild fall weather, but it did not hinder the enthusiasm of the vendors nor the attendees.
Natalie Gibson, an employee of local creamery Kriemhild Dairy Farms, showed her Halloween spirit by donning a festive witch costume. A bowl of candy rested near the neatly displayed cartons of milk and dairy products, available to any who would like to start the trick-or-treating a little earlier in the day. Kriemhild Dairy Farms has been coming to the Farmer’s Market for over five years now, according to Gibson, and is a beloved component of the weekly event. The business, which has been in operation for 10 years, sources all its products from Red Gate Farms, also located in Hamilton.
Gibson has worked for Kriemhild Dairy Farms for two years and was happy to share her extensive knowledge of the unique practices of the business.
“Kriemhild Creamery has been making butter for about 10 years. We are connected to Red Gate Farms, and they are a 100% grass-fed dairy farm. Meaning, our products are 100% grass-fed, organically managed, local … We make our butter in an old-fashioned barrel churn— rather than getting whipped, it doesn’t stir it. The barrel flips and folds over itself so it retains a really thick, smooth texture,” Gibson added.
In addition to the stand at the Farmer’s Market, Kriemhild Dairy Farms has a permanent store located just over three miles down the road from Colgate, on State Route 12b. Aptly titled the Kriemhild Kupboard, the store runs on a completely contactless system. The Kupboard is unstaffed and relies on an honor code through which customers may pick out their product, deposit the correct amount of money into a slot and leave — all without the supervision of an employee.
In COVID-19 times, this system is well-suited for maintaining social distancing standards. Gibson explained that Kriemhild has profited from a steady stream of business during the pandemic‚ a fact she attributes to the prominence of online orders and the general steadiness of the food industry.
“We’ve done fine. We do [our sales] online, we do wholesale. At the market, there’s really been no change, we just wear a mask, wear a mask while making the butter, while we’re packaging the butter … We have to wear protective gear anyways, so wearing a mask isn’t that big of a deal… COVID-19 has not really affected us,” Gibson added.
Senior Chloe Bass, a regular at the Saturday farmers market, was persuaded into purchasing a carton of Kriemhild milk after speaking with Gibson.
“I like knowing where my food is coming from and buying local as much as possible! It’s also great to get to chat with the vendors because everybody is always so friendly. I haven’t tried the milk yet, but the woman I bought it from told me that unlike milk you buy in the grocery store, theirs is not homogenized: if it gets thick on top, shake it well,” Bass recounted.
Gibson likely voiced the sentiments of many in response to a question asking what her favorite part of the farmer’s market was.
“I love this farmer’s market! I love this village, Hamilton is the best. Everybody is so friendly, everyone at this farmer’s market, it’s so pleasant … Do I have a favorite part? Everything about this market is my favorite part,” Gibson commented.
While last Saturday marked the end of the 2020 Farmer’s Market season, many students and community members eagerly await its return in the Spring.