The re-opening of Northern New York, the North Country region, began with its first step Friday. While some businesses are opening, some simply cannot yet. So for many, creativity is at an all-time high to try and take advantage of what is allowed right now.
"People come and visit North Harbor Dairy when they visit Old McDonald's Farm and they ask, 'Do you sell the milk that your cows make here?' " said Julia Robbins of Old McDonald's Farm.
The answer to that question had always been "No." The idea to do it had long been floated around, but when this pandemic hit, self-production started to make a lot of sense.
The interest in knowing where your food is from is only growing. Plus, the farm had been dumping milk and its family attractions are shut down for now, producing its own bottled milk would be something Old McDonald's Farm could market and sell once New York began reopening. Reopening has begun and the milk is now for sale.
"Now you get to see the fruits of our labor. You see the work we do across the road and now you get to see why we feel so passionate about what we do and why we're so ready to go 100%," said Old McDonald's Management Assistant Jake Ledoux.
This particular milk, though, is a bit different that what you'd get in a grocery store. It's creamline milk, which means it is pasteurized, heated to eliminate bacteria. However, the milk is not homogenized, meaning the fat content is not reduced and spread throughout the milk. So like long ago, before you drink it, you have to shake it.
"It's kind of a hearkening back maybe to a simpler time for a lot of folks," Ledoux said.
Bottled milk isn't the only thing you can take home. Old McDonald's Farm is also using its own milk to create homemade ice cream. It is made and packaged right on site. There are 10 different flavors using a batch of local ingredients.
"We're using local honey. We're using strawberries that we grew. The maple bacon has local maple syrup in it," Robbins said.
The farm's visitor center store is now open for order pickups, and employees will even bring your order right to your car, curbside delivery, as the North Country begins its move towards normalcy.