OWNED AND OPERATED BY Lynn Faurie and Barbara Masterson, B&L 4E Farm is a fourth-generation, certified organic farm that sells organic, pasture-raised beef and chicken. The farm also sells organic, pasture-raised beef and chicken. The farm also sells organic wild blackberries from mid-July through mid-August and fresh chicken eggs and goose eggs year ‘round. The farm also grows and sells hay, some wild crops, and garden vegetables if there is a surplus from the large vegetable garden.
The workload is shared among family and friends who help with the chickens and eggs. “During hay season, everyone is on board,” Faurie says. “We try to bring in about 5,000 bales if we can. We offer everyone that helps us beer and burgers.”
B&L was founded in 1910 by Faurie’s grandfather, who purchased the farm as a vacation spot for the family. Fruit, including grapes and strawberries, was plentiful. Faurie’s father entered law practice but soon discovered his real passion was farming. He moved his family to the farm, got his first cow in the 1940s and slowly converted the farm to dairy. “When my father turned 70, he said he didn’t want to be milking cows [anymore], so we converted to beef,” Faurie recalls. “He milked his last dairy cow in March of that year and died in December.
Organic, grass-fed beef and chickens; organic chicken and goose eggs; wild berries.
Size, scope and methods
B&L 4E is 350 acres, most of it wooded. Faurie and Masterson hay 25 acres owned by their neighbors, bartering for the use of the land in exchange for keeping the land clear. Currently they own 24 cows. “We are about to send three to market,” Faurie says. “We have mothers that are pregnant. Some will go and some will arrive. It’s a constant ebb and flow.”
In 1999, B&L 4E started to cross Jersey cows with Herefords by artificial insemination-they used the same method to cross the New Zealand Red Devon breed with their cows. “The Red Devon cow hasn’t had grain or corn in 80 years,” Faurie notes. “They’ve been grass-fed for many generations. The meat quality is even more flavorful and more tender.”
Six to ten cows are slaughtered each year, depending on what kind of year it has been. Chickens are pasture-raised in portable coops that are pulled to new grass twice a day. Poultry processing is handled at the farm.
B&L 4E also gets organic grains from local certified farms, including Lightning Tree Farms in Millbrook and Lakeview Farm in the Finger Lakes region.
Breeding pigs is the latest endeavor for Faurie and Masterson. “My parents did about 20 pigs a year, but we got away from it,” Faurie explains. “We started up again about four years ago with three pigs, then we got eight then ten. Each year we got more and more, so we decided to breed the gilt [a female pig that’s never been bred]. Right now we are in the learning stages.” Last month, the pig had five piglets-four males and one female. The female may be in line for breeding, depending on how she grows.
The pigs currently roam on about two-and-a-half acres of woods and pastures, though plans are to increase their forage area to ten acres. Raising pigs promises to be cost effective, Faurie says, because from birth to market is about six months, whereas a cow has one calf a year and it could be years before it goes to market.
How to purchase
B&L 4E sends cows to be slaughtered at Malafy’s Meat Processing Company in Red Hook. All beef is sold “off the hoof”-customers purchase a quarter, half or the entire animal before it leaves the farm. After slaughter, the beef costs $6 a pound for the “hanging weight” or the final slab, which can be cut to order. The price also includes the cost of trucking and delivery.
Limited cuts are also sold on the farm. “We keep retail cuts refrigerated or in freezers,” says Faurie. “We always sell out of the hamburger very quickly and chickens are sold out the day they are killed.”