JSK Cattle Company

by Anne Maxfield on December 17, 2018

Accidental Locavore JSK Cattle SignOn a back road outside of Millbrook, you’ll find JSK Cattle Company.

Don’t let the name fool you, there’s much more than just cattle at this farm.

Heather Kading and her husband Jason oversee a menagerie that includes a welcoming committee of 5 goats, 2 flocks of chickens (one for laying eggs, the other for dinner), some pigs (loving this mud-producing fall) and cattle.

Heather originally trained as a massage therapist but got side-tracked and is now trying to figure out how to meld that with farming.

“The goats are really good therapy. Anyone who goes out there and plays with them starts smiling and it relaxes them. It’s really cool.”

Accidental Locavore JSK Cattle GoatsThey’ve built a farm store where you can find all their pork, chicken, and beef. If you’ve got freezer space, they’ll happily sign you up for a half or quarter of a cow or pig. Don’t worry, if you’re dealing with a standard freezer, there are plenty of good cuts to take home and enjoy and they conveniently tell you how much freezer space a ¼ pig will take up (about 2 cubic feet, if you’re curious).

“We met showing cattle in 4H when we were 12.” Heather says. Jason grew up on a farm close by. They both went away to school in different locations and got back together running the local 4H club and the rest is history.

When they started to have children, they became concerned about where their food was coming from—what they were feeding them. They started raising more cattle for beef and selling it in halves and quarters from their basement freezers.

As you can imagine, loading and unloading large (heavy) parts of cows up and down stairs was a lot of heavy lifting. So, they built the farm store, selling at first just their pasture-raised beef (hormone and antibiotic free), adding in 2017 grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, chickens and eggs. Last year they even decided to take on turkeys, but that turned out to be too much at one time, but it might be a project for 2019, so stay tuned.

Accidental Locavore JSK Cattle ChickensAlong with their meats and eggs, there are local products too, like yummy Cara-Sel, Zoe’s ice cream, local sodas and maple syrups.

And keep in touch with them, goat yoga may make its way onto the farm soon!

Besides the farm store, you can find their meats at several local restaurants, and the Taste of NY Store on the Taconic Parkway and other local stores.

JSK Cattle Company

150 Chestnut Ridge Road

Millbrook NY 12545




The Dark Side…of Urban Chicken Keeping

by Anne Maxfield on March 24, 2014

Accidental Locavore Hen HouseIn certain hip, locavore, foodie parts of the country (Brooklyn, Berkeley, Cambridge, etc.) the trend recently has been to raise your own chickens. While the Accidental Locavore has thought (briefly) about it, and admired the beautiful exotic chickens at Brykill Farms, you have to eat an awful lot of eggs to make it worthwhile. And from what I know from people that have them, it’s more work than just letting the birds run around the yard looking good and eating bugs.

Accidental Locavore Beautiful EggsBut that hasn’t stopped a lot of people from becoming urban chicken farmers, creating new niche-marketing opportunities, along with some unforeseen causalities.  You can buy decorator chicken coops (fixed or movable), or if you have commitment issues you can rent chickens complete with coops and give them back when the weather turns nasty. If you’ve overdone it, or are extremely competitive, you can get your coop on the annual coop tour in places like Austin, Texas.

Accidental Locavore Chicken VestsOnce you’ve got the birds and the coop, how about outfitting them? You can dress your bird with frocks, diapers or what seems to be an urban no-brainer – a reflective vest in your choice of colors. There are magazines, even a “Dummies” guide devoted to raising urban birds and when you tire of that, you can read “Chick -lit” to your brood. But what happens when our metropolitan farmers have too much on their plates?

Accidental Locavore Brykill ChickensReady for this? According to CBS San Francisco, in the Bay Area Animal Care and Control has a new and growing problem on their hands – homeless chickens. Turns out that rather than serve them up for dinner, when people have had enough of their chickens, they just kick them to the curb and let them fend for themselves (you’re picturing them begging on street corners, right?). Not to worry, there are rooster rescue groups along with opportunities to build housing for homeless chickens. Habitat for Hens anyone?


The photo of the safety vests is from their website, with thanks.