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An organic milk plant rises in Stuyvesant

Jan 30, 2011 11:04 pm
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Milk Thistle Farm will move from Ghent to Stuyvesant as part of its growth to include a new organic interstate dairy. "][/caption]The proprietors of Ghent’s Milk Thistle Farm have closed a deal with outside investors to build a brand new interstate-certified organic milk processing plant in Stuyvesant, creating nearly a dozen local jobs and greatly expanding the farm’s distribution scope. A Register-Star story on the development on January 29 noted how the Manhattan-based Blossom Farms LLC is making a $1.65 million equity investment in Milk Thistle Farm, which involves purchasing the former Allen Farm on Allendale Road in Stuyvesant and building a new LEED-certified organic processing plant. Once the plant is completed, Milk Thistle will officially relocate its operations to Stuyvesant.


Milk Thistle Farm, Lindsay Suchow reports, started operations in 2007 as an organic dairy and initially sold its milk to handlers but eventually began performing its own direct consumer sales. “We worked very hard over the course of nearly two years to get this deal done and done right,” said Dante Hesse, founder of Milk Thistle Farm, along with his wife Kristin. ““We knew we had a great product, a great brand. What we lacked was scale — the ability to more economically turn out our products in sufficient quantities to meet demand.” Charles Zentay, president of Blossom Farms, discovered Milk Thistle’s ultra-premium milk at a Whole Foods market on the Upper West Side and has said Blossom Farms has essentially took ownership of 40 percent of the Milk Thistle Farm brand. Blossom Farms will fund the construction of the new processing plant, and will lease both the plant and the farm to Milk Thistle, who will add about eight to 10 new employees over a two-year period, as well as double its cow herd size. The plant, currently under construction, will be interstate certified. The goal is to be finished up by May and fully operational by June. Zentay said a launch event for the new plant will be held this spring.