On Monday, February 20, 2012 Rhonda and David Butler, owners of Asgaard Farm and Dairy spoke about the difficulties of starting a farm, the intricacies of sustainable farming, and how their cheese making operation has evolved. The Butlers bought the farm in 1988 and spent over a decade turning it back into a working farm with all the facilities it has today. With over 1,500 acres of fields and forests, Asgaard is able to be a truly diversified family farm with a goat dairy and creamery at its core. In Asgaard’s certified organic fields, grass-fed and grass-finished Devons, Red Angus, and Herefords pasture together with pigs and chickens. Grains from the farm feed their animals and provide logs to a local sawmill under the American Tree Farm Certification program for renewable forest land. With growing perennial and vegetable beds, the Butler’s use herbs from their gardens to flavor their cheeses and they sell a variety of vegetables, eggs and handcrafted goat’s milk soap at the farm and local farmer’s markets. In addition, the owners have renovated Emerson House, the home of Rockwell Kent, well-known artist, writer, adventurer, political activist and farmer. It will now be a vacation rental for agricultural tourists to the Adironack region.
Rhonda and David produce American Cheese Society award winning cheeses from a herd of Alpine and Nubian goats. They spoke about their production methods and attendees were able to taste two of their goat’s milk cheeses.