October 24, 2021

Local dairies win top awards at state fair

Travis Dunn/Staff Reporter

Trinity Valley Dairy co-owner Rebekah Brown drinks a glass of the dairy’s prize-winning milk Saturday; the Truxton- based company won first place at the Great New York State Fair in the fluid milk, small processor category.

Three greater Cortland area dairy businesses took home top honors from the New York State Fair on 43rd annual Dairy Day.

A total of 234 entries from 44 exhibitors in 26 categories were evaluated by eight judges from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell University, Vivolac and Wegmans. Among the winners:

  • Trinity Valley Dairy, at 2847 Route 13, near East Homer, took first place last week in the fluid milk, small processor category.
  • Byrne Hollow Farm in Cortlandville took a gold ribbon in the flavored yogurt category.
  • Old Chatham Creamery, from Chatham — but soon to relocate to its new plant in Groton — won gold in the farmstead open class category.

“Year after year, the state’s dairy processors, using New York milk, continue to make dairy products that set us apart from our competition,” state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said in a statement. “I congratulate the winners of this year’s State Fair Dairy Products Competition and all of the participants, who take great pride in making delicious and healthy products for our families.”

Branden Brown, co-owner of Trinity Valley Diary, said he was proud that his company, which has been in business five years, took home a first place prize.

“It’s a pretty big award,” Brown said. “It’s a big deal for our little business.”

He was also pleased because the judging for fluid milk, small producer, was not only based on taste, although that was one factor. Milk samples were also stressed at a high temperature and checked for bacterial growth.

Plant manager Dan Sykes took the win in stride.

“It’s just paying attention to detail and caring about what you do,” Sykes said. For Trinity Valley, it’s also about family farming and doing things the old-fashioned way.

Trinity Valley, a fourth-generation family farm near East Homer, is co-owned by Ken and Sue Poole, their daughter Rebekah Brown and son-in-law Branden Brown, and Derek Poole.

“It’s a nice, wholesome family farm,” said Sykes, and working on the farm “is like going back in time.”

Trinity Valley’s milk, which goes through a low-temperature vat pasteurization process, is not homogenized, so it forms a cream on top.

The Great New York State Fair, which ended Monday, is the third-largest state fair in the country. It is held every summer at the 375- acre New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes near Syracuse.