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




A Visit to Four Legs Farm

by Anne Maxfield on August 31, 2015

Accidental Locavore LeannaWhile most people are familiar with the CSA (community sponsored agriculture) model for vegetables, where you essentially pre-pay for your summer’s produce, the same idea for meat is just starting to catch on. Leanna Mulvihill of Four Legs Farm is betting the farm that you’ll soon be looking to buy your rack of lamb or pork chops the same way.

Accidental Locavore Four Legs FarmThe Accidental Locavore had a chance to tour the farm recently. You drive through the hustle of New Paltz and suddenly find yourself in the middle of fields of sunflowers with mountains and rock formations in the background. The farm is part of an interesting and much needed incubator program for Hudson Valley Farm Businesses sponsored by Glynwood, whose mission is to “ensure that farming thrives in the Hudson Valley”. There are 330 acres available to the participants, of which Leanna has about 63 of them.

Accidental Locavore PigsThe 23 pigs, “mutts” according to Leanna, are on a hill behind one of the barns. They’re a mix of breeds but, covered in their favorite mud, it was a bit hard to distinguish one from another. They were very happy to see us, bearing food, having eaten most of the weeds and brush on their hill and even happier when she turned on the water so they could really splash around in the mud! What was interesting was that it’s not quite as easy as ordering a few piglets; “buying piglets is really hard, you have to have connections.” And before you even work your piglet connections, you have to book a slaughterhouse. Because there are so few in the area that work humanely, they get booked up six months to a year ahead of time. She “was booking dates for animals that hadn’t been born yet.”

Accidental Locavore Four PigsWe left the pigs, fatter and muddier, and went down to the sheep pastures. She’s got them segregated by sex so that there’s no distraction from the business of grazing in the flower-strewn pastures. Accidental Locavore Guard CowEach flock is watched over by a large cow (or two) and these ladies take their duties seriously! They’re there to protect the sheep from coyotes and on occasion, from Leanna. She told me that one day when she was trimming the hooves of one of the sheep, something happened and the hoof was bleeding. Sylvia, the 18 year old watch-cow, came over to see what was up and ended up licking the sheep’s bleeding hoof clean!

Accidental Locavore Sheep EatingIf you had a chance to see her operation, you’d be cleaning out your freezer and sending a check for your share of lamb or pork or even an “Adventure” share (odd bits for sausages and stocks etc.), but do it quickly or you’ll miss out on this great opportunity. If there’s enough response from people in Manhattan, she’ll arrange a group drop-off point in the fall. And, while this is still in the planning stages, Leanna might be doing a special offering for the holidays with roasts and racks and all that fancy stuff to impress your friends and family. In the meantime, do it because we need to support local farms and especially women like Leanna who are striving to be the “best stewards of the land and animals possible.”Accidental Locavore Flock of Sheep