Nestled in a cozy series of pastures graze Ayrshire cattle that belong to Tim and Doff Storrow of Cold Spring Farm. Tim has had repeat customers ordering his beef for over a decade. The reason is flavor. Everyone raves about the flavor, from his customers to head chef Jordan Scott at nearby Gill Tavern where Cold Spring Farm beef is served for dinner.
“He loves the beef,” said Tim, who has ordered his own beef for dinner at Gill Tavern too, on a night out, though, “Typically I’ll order something else,” for variety.
“We source out our beef from a couple different local farms and theirs is our favorite. When I grill it, it smells like fresh grass and raw milk,” said Scott, taking time out from cooking on a busy holiday Sunday evening on Dec. 21. “It tastes unlike any other, even any other grass-fed beef, more meaty.”
Grass-fed beef is prized for its lower fat content. “Typically sacrifice a little bit of flavor with less fat,” explained Scott, but finds the grass-fed beef from Cold Spring Farm to be an exception; it has more flavor.
And, “Whenever they have hamburger, we buy as much as possible,” said Scott. They also buy Cold Spring Farm’s lamb to use in different dishes; before raising beef, the couple raised sheep, and have made selling lamb a tradition for thirty years. They also sell organic grain.
Tim sells beef locally in his town of Gill, Massachusetts to neighbors and supplies nearby Upinngil Farm with beef to sell at their farm store, which eliminates having to have a retail operation to upkeep. As the local businesses are intertwined, Gill Tavern buys whole grain bread from Upinngil for their Sunday brunches, squash, Brussel sprouts and kale from Richard Girard next door to the Storrows, plus grows their own vegetables at their own Unadilla Farm, named for Unadilla Brook that flows behind the restaurant, and further along past the Storrow’s farm.
Right now Tim’s herd consists of seven Ayrshires, some wearing splendid coats of beautiful red and white swirls. “They thrive on pasture and good hay,” he said, as well as mineral supplements and kelp, all contributing to the exquisite flavor for which they are famous. They are fed grass in summer and hay and a little grain in winter.
The beef cattle and sheep are rotationally grazed on 12 acres.
Currently the couple has a dozen bred ewes, a mix of Montadales and Katahdins, both hardy breeds to withstand cold New England winters.
Tim was acquainted with dairy farming since he was ten years old as his stepfather Arthur Pratt had a 60-cow dairy farm in Jericho, VT where he used to help out with chores. “I never wanted to be a dairy farmer,” he said, after experiencing how much hard work it demanded. He now runs a private real estate consultant business and farms part-time.
He and Doff bought their 70 acre farm in Gill in 1985, and live in a farmhouse built in 1790. “Gill is a great community. There are a bunch of small farms around here. We try to help each other out if we can, sharing equipment, helping with loose animals.” At one time the farm was a twenty cow dairy belonging to the Howe family. The sturdy barn was built in 1940 and has many newly constructed feed boxes and corrals and new roofs for the livestock.
Considering the future of farming, “That’s a problem. Not of lot of people have the time and want to do it. Our kids are grown and not home. They used to help.” They count on hiring local people during haying who count on them for jobs at that time.
Tim makes farming look easy. Having it small makes it more manageable. His young liver colored Australian Shepherd Boots skips close to his side as he inspects two new calves in the barn.
What Tim likes best about the cattle is, “They all have personality. It’s great for maintaining the land. They’re your friends; take care of them, they take care of you.