Grown Here, Now Savored Here
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Doug Thompson doesn’t have anything against toppings, but he believes, at least for the first bite, the meat should speak for itself.
“It will really surprise you when you realize that meat has flavor,” he said.
Monday, June 24, he and wife Carrie opened a butcher shop, The Green Cow, at 21 Railroad Ave., and for the first time local grass-fed beef – a growing ag sector for a decade – is available to local shoppers.
Doug and his partner, brother-in-law Leigh Goehring, bought the 400-acre Richfield Springs farm and nine head of cattle in 2009. After moving “up and down the East Coat” on careers in real estate and finance, Doug and Carrie – along with daughters Catherine and Lola, then 9 and 7 – relocated locally to build the operation.
“The natural resources here really support a pasture-based product,” Doug said. “We saw a niche opportunity with the topography, the grass and the water.”
Rather than looking to technology and farming advances to raise their herds, they looked backwards at how farming used to be done.
“Our best teachers were 80-year-old farmers from Springfield or Cooperstown, who taught us the way they used to do it” said Doug. “Things have changed so much, but we wanted our farm to look like a farm from 150 years ago.”
Calves are allowed to nurse for 10 months. “Their mother’s milk has a high butterfat,” he said. “And from there, they are only ever fed grass, no grain or supplements. They’re born outside and they’re raised outside.”
Since then, G&T Farm expanded the herd; this year, it contains more than 450 Red Angus, Red Devon, Black Angus and Herefords calves, with a staff of 10 living on the farm.
“We would have chefs come up from New York City and walk in our pastures to see for themselves,” Doug said. “There’s an educational connection there.”
The G&T Farm has been selling the meat wholesale to high-end restaurants in New York City and Austin, Texas, but had always dreamed of selling directly to consumers.
They purchased Larry’s Meats in Hartwick in 2017 and began developing their processing techniques and a retail component, which is now relocated to Cooperstown.
Business was brisk on opening day, with a lunch crowd lining up to try the artisanal hot dogs. Even Jane Forbes Clark, Cooperstown’s first citizen, showed up.
“We always want to be thoughtful about what’s standing in front of us,” he said. “We respect the animal and make every step, from getting out of the trailer and to the floor, as low-energy as possible. Our animals are calm throughout the process, and we appreciate that.”
And because they have their own processing plant, they’re able to offer a variety of cuts. “Sometimes, we just ask our butchers them what they would be excited to cut,” he said.
As such, the Green Cow offers cuts like the Tomahawk Steak, a big, thick rib steak with a long bone “handle.”
They also offer hard-to-find cuts, including oxtails and organs. “We’re a nose to tail operation,” he said. “We value all parts of the animal carcass and use as much as possible.”
The hot dogs sell by the package, and on site can be served plain, or will chili, blue cheese or sauerkraut.
“They’ve got some spices, but they have a clean aftertaste,” Doug said. “And they’re all natural, with no preservatives.”
But more than providing a high-quality product, Doug said they’re stewards of the land. “We want this land to stay in farming,” he said. “We see ourselves as taking care of it for the future.”