Meet a Central New York Farmer – Owens Farm in New Hartford
Big Frog, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and Wagner Farms want you to meet the hard working families keeping us fed and clothed. This week we salute the renaissance man, Mark Owens and Owens Farm in New Hartford.
At a time when many farms go for bigger herds and more production, Owens Farm's focus is on sustainability and quality products. The farm was started by Mark's grandfather after immigrating from Wales in 1923. Located at 3743 Oxford Road in New Hartford, the property began as a dairy farm. When the dairy industry first hit the doldrums in the 70's and 80's, the family sold the dairy and focused on beef and hogs.
Mark Owens left the farm for more than 20 years, but never lost his desire to tend the land and raise animals. When he returned in 1993, he came with a different approach and two goals; the farm had to sustain itself and he would forego depending on markets for the sale of his products.
Today, the Owens Farm raises about 50 head of Scottish Highland cattle and 300 head of White Face Cross Ewes. Both are grass fed and grass finished, meaning they only eat grass, no grains and no antibiotics, hormones, or GMO. And in the case of this farm, it also means the animals are all pasture raised and in the winter they are fed grass all grown and harvested on the farm. The end result is meat that is lower in cholesterol and contains less fat.
The animals aren't sold on markets only to individuals. Beef and lamb are processed by E and M Custom Meats in Taberg adhering to all USDA standards and returned to the farm for sale to consumers. The farm offers various packages, combining patties, ground meat, steaks and kabobs.
Similar to the old adage, "love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life," Mark says, "we're not making millions of dollars and taking vacations in the Bahamas, but we love giving people a safe and healthy option for food and the knowledge of knowing how it was raised.
Know a farmer we should add to our list? Here's the nomination form, or send info on our Facebook page, our mobile app, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet a Farmer is also made possible by New York Farm Net, a program of Cornell, Harbor Point Minerals, White's Farm Supply, and the US Army.
Want to take your support of Central New York farmers to the next level? The Save Our Farms, Save Our Food campaign with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is offering a custom designed T-Shirt supporting farmers with any $25 donation. Get more info and order yours at CCEOneida.com