Amish Dairy Farm to Open Upper West Side Store

millport dairy

c/o Millport Dairy

Due to regulations affecting the sale of eggs outdoors, a popular Amish dairy farm and longtime farmers market vendor based on Lancaster, Pennsylvania will soon shift its Upper West Side operations towards the retail market.

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Millport Dairy is expected to open at 2583 Broadway (between 97th and 98th streets) on May 1, and it will stop selling at the farmers markets … at least during the warmer months. The space was previously home to Tower West Cleaners.

Owner John King said they plan to sell many of the same products customers are familiar with from the farmers markets, including farm fresh free-range eggs, cheese, butter, pasteurized milk, yogurt, pickles, pickled beets, peppers and beans, smoked pork and beef and baked goods. While they sell raw milk at the farm, it can’t be brought across state lines, Mr. King told ILTUWS.

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The store will be primarily overseen by longtime Millport farmer John Stoltzfoos, who has been making the roughly 300-mile round-trip journey from rural Pennsylvania to NYC and back to sell at the markets four days a week.

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Millport has been an NYC farmers market vendor for more than 15 years, with tables at several throughout the city: 97th and Columbus Ave., 114th and Broadway near Columbia University, the Union Square market and the market at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. But now it’s time to move inside, Mr. King said. Federal USDA rules require eggs sold at farmers markets to be kept below 45 degrees. The regulation reads:

“Eggs: Shell eggs packed for the consumers are to be stored under refrigeration at a temperature of 45 degrees F° or below at all times while selling at the market. Shell eggs must be intact and free of cracks. Eggs must be from the farmer’s own fowl. Egg cartons must be properly labeled in accordance with the state regulations where the eggs are produced. No resale of another farmer’s eggs is allowed.”

The regulation is not new, but Mr. King tells us enforcement efforts have been increased this year. He said he doesn’t have a refrigerated truck or the ability to keep his eggs that cold when it’s warm out.

“There’s just no way we can keep our eggs that cold. And everyone knows it. No one can,” Mr. King said.

He said staff at GrowNYC, which runs the Greenmarket farmers markets he’s participated in, suggested keeping cartons of eggs packed in ice in a cooler, as other farmers do, but Mr. King said the ice would melt and no one wants to buy soggy cardboard cartons of eggs. Like other farmers, he argued that the temperature requirement is unnecessary for farm fresh eggs. Unlike commercial eggs, farm fresh ones retain their natural ‘bloom’—a protective thin layer on the shell that prevents bacteria from penetrating the egg. Farm eggs, he and others say, do not need to be refrigerated. Commercial supermarket eggs do, because they are washed, which eliminates the protective bloom.

Mr. King said he thought about getting a refrigeration truck but was told by Greenmarket staff that if the noise from the truck bothered neighbors they would not be able to use it. He also said there’s no room for a truck.

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The matter led Mr. King and Mr. Stoltzfoos to conclude that participating in the markets is no longer feasible during warm weather, and they began to look for retail space instead.

Keeping eggs in coolers had always been acceptable, until now, Mr. Stoltzfoos said. “That’s why we’re going indoors,” adding they may still do the farmers markets in the winter and early spring when it’s still cold out.

GrowNYC did not return phone calls seeking comment.

In addition to being farm fresh, Millport Dairy’s eggs are GMO-free and come from “happy chickens” who run outside in pastures, live a good life and eat a natural diet supplemented with a special feed, Mr. King said. The eggs have a rich yellow yolk, richer than most others, he added. “I don’t think anyone in NYC has an egg like ours.”

The pickled vegetables are all grown at their Pennsylvania farms – Millport Dairy owns several – and canned by Mr. King’s daughter.

They have a roadside stand in Pennsylvania but the new store on Broadway is the first indoor retail venture for Millport Dairy, Mr. King told us.


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