In recent years it’s happily become much easier to find milk from local farms in the city, as brands like Ronnybrook, Battenkill Valley Creamery, Hudson Valley Fresh, Evans Farmhouse Creamery and Milk Thistle Dairy bring supply not just farmers’ markets but to supermarkets. A few weeks back we stumbled upon a fairly recent newcomer called Five Acre Farms, which has been selling sweet homogenized milk, cream and half and half at city markets in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, such as Westside Market, Fine Fare and Met Food in Soho.
The company’s mission is to bring foods produced by independent, small-to-medium sized, sustainably minded farms within a 275-mile radius of the city to its supermarkets. They picked so specific a number, says CEO and founder Dan Horan, based on the FDA’s recent Food Safety Modernization Act, which defined what locally sourced might mean–and also because it made sense within our foodshed: “In California you could maybe get every thing you need within 10 miles,” says Horan, but it’s not the case here.
Five Acre Farms has started with dairy, and hopes to move to organic produce by the fall. The company currently sources milk from just one medium-sized operation, Battenkill Valley Creamery in Salem, N.Y., but plans to expand to milks from other farms soon. When they do, you’ll know: Each bottle or jug has a tag attached introducing the farm that produced the product.
As it turns out, Horan is uniquely suited to start Five Acre: His family owns an organic fruit and vegetable farm called Waldingfield Farm in Washington, Connecticut, and he’s also the former president of another New York-centric business, albeit from another point-of-view. That would be Papaya King, the beloved local hot dog stand the Yale School of Management graduate helped run between 1999 and 2010. They don’t use local produce in their tropical fruit drinks, not surprisingly, but they do, Horan proudly reports, make the hot dogs right in New York City.