Q&A with Pat of Black River Cattle Company

I’ve been a bit quiet lately on this page.  I am at constant battle of couponing versus healthy eating.  A majority of coupons are for processed foods.  A majority.  I admit you can find the occasional produce or meat department coupon, but there are a lot of cereal, canned soup, Hamburger Helper coupons.  As I have started to look more into what is in the foods we put in our mouths and in our children’s mouths I have changed our eating and shopping habits. 

So lately I have abandoned shopping at Price Chopper, Tops and other big name stores and started focusing on locally owned shops that offer fresh, locally grown meats and produce.  We are so fortunate to live in an area that is rich in agriculture and locally grown/ raised foods. 

What perfect timing to feature a Q&A with Pat Robbins of Black River Cattle Company.  Cuts of BRCC’s meats are now being sold at Old McDonald’s Farm and are used in dishes as local restaurants such as The Hops Spot in Sackets Harbor. 

1. Tell me who you are and what it is you do?
My name is Patrick Robbins and I manage marketing and sales for Black River Cattle Company (BRCC) and I am also a teacher/educator in Jefferson County. Brian Robbins is the founder and owner of BRCC and the General Manager and equity share owner of North Harbor Dairy.


2. How did you end up going into this line of business?
My nephew Brian and I both grew up on our family farm and after both going away to college to Colorado and Georgia respectively, we both returned to the North Country to be involved in our family operation in some capacity after gaining valuable work experiences in other states. Brian is the general manager of our family’s large dairy and crop farm, and after witnessing a shift in the public consciousness in regards to knowing where their food comes from and in keeping with an underlying tenet of all our related businesses, which is educating the public on agricultural matters (see one of our sister companies, Old McDonald’s Farm), he decided to start raising some beef cattle a few years back. Using his adept knowledge of quality genetics, humane and sustainable farming methods, the infrastructure of our current family farm operation, and the need for a “local”, larger scale beef operation in the area, his little endeavor has proliferated into a herd of over 75 quality raised beef cattle. As a former member of the business world with experiences in marketing, sales, and customer service, we have combined our respective business acumen and our desire to provide a quality, local product back to the community we respect so much, to form BRCC. So far, we have enjoyed much success with our products, but more importantly, we have enjoyed giving back to the community we live and work in.

3. What is the benefit of customers buying in bulk and from local farmers?  Look for answer with #4.

4. Where or how would consumers go about making a purchase from you?
I’ll answer questions 3 & 4 in 2 parts.
First, we have a continuous rotation of wholesale/bulk beef available throughout the year. In some cases, consumers of wholesale/bulk beef often have to wait on a list for 6 months or more while producers either raise the cattle or source it from other farms. At BRCC, we have a year around inventory with a short turnaround time. When one buys wholesale, or rather bulk, the customer buys a whole, half, or quarter side of beef. We take orders directly through or webpage at www.blackrivercattlecompany.com, on Facebook, or through me at 315-778-6998. We charge $2.60 per lb hanging weight which includes the beef, processing to the customer’s specifications, custom packaging, transportation costs, and delivery to the customer. This new streamlined approach is much more efficient for the customer, with only 1 entity to make payment to, and the delivery aspect has really set us apart from other producers. This way of purchasing beef is the most economical as you are getting all customary premium cuts and ground beef for a very competitive price-just think, ground beef in most box retailers from unknown sources has skyrocketed to almost $4.00 lb; a consumer could have a much better product from BRCC for around the same price which not only includes ground beef, but premium cuts also! The consumer also knows where the product is coming from as it raised “right down the road” in Sackets Harbor. We walk the consumer through the whole purchasing process and we are proud of our follow-up with the customers to make sure they are informed every step of the way and their expectations are set and met. Buying local is also a great way to support our local economy!
Second, we currently sell premium ground beef and individual cuts at Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor and will also take pre-orders based on available inventory. We can set up pick-up times at 8 am and 5 pm in Sackets Harbor to accommodate customers. We also are proud to be partnering with the Hops Spot restaurant in Sackets which features our custom chuck and brisket burgers and steak specials. We will have more restaurant opportunities as the summer season begins.

5.  There has been a lot of hype on grass fed beef lately. What are your thoughts on grass fed vs grain fed beef?
All beef is grass fed; some are raised entirely on grass and some only partially. Most grains are of the grass family, grain is just the seed or energy portion of the grass. Haylage or corn silage is natural forage that is preserved under a natural process of fermentation and then becomes more digestible to the animal. Animals raised entirely on grass tend to be older when taken to slaughter due to the lack of energy in the feed. These animals , much of the year don’t have excess energy from the feed to pack on weight and meat; rather meat becomes secondary to life functions which are first. A animal that is supplied grain in addition to grass or silage will have excess energy that can be used to produce muscle. These meats tend to have better marbling and flavor and tenderness due to the early age they can be butchered.

6. Do you eat your own product?
Yes indeed!!
In reality, our 9 year old daughter is the biggest critic of beef that comes from unknown sources. She will not eat nor allow any other beef product in our home. We can notice the indelible differences immediately when consuming beef that is not nurtured and raised to meet proper standards and protocols that we have set forth for our products. It just doesn’t have the same qualities and more importantly, is not as healthy for you. We love our local, all natural, great tasting beef products and we find ourselves to be the best quality control specialist! (See also the answer to #7).

7. What is your favorite dinner?
A great tasting Delmonico from BRCC, of course!! It’s usually accompanied by a mixed green salad with vinaigrette dressing (no onions) and a starch. I also love any kind of seafood, especially scallops and linguini and clams (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention pasta-my wife comes from a large Italian family).

8. Do you have a TV show you can’t miss?
We are “Chopped” junkies; if only I was that quick on my feet in the kitchen. Of course, my early morning pre-workout TV addiction is a little Sports Center to catch up on the scores.

9. What is your favorite thing about Jefferson County?
I love the people and the community-oriented nature of Jefferson County. I have lived in different geographic places in the US ranging from large metropolitan cities to rural communities, and what has always drawn me back to this area has been the sense of community that seems to pervade all aspects of our county, including but not limited to our neighborhoods, our small businesses, and our schools. In fact, after having a child, a decided to leave the Southeast and move back to Jefferson County so my daughter could experience a similar upbringing that I had. Even as our demographic has changed for the better with the growth of Ft. Drum, those not indigenous to the area still seem to embrace and welcome the “family” vibe this area exudes….even considering the long Winters we endure.

10. What is the one material thing you own that you could not imagine going without?
I would have to say my tattered and frayed, 10 year old NY Yankees cap. A well-worn, good fitting cap, which also serves as a cover for my balding head, has become an extension of me. I have become identified by this pseudo appendage and as a huge fan, I don’t think I could ever part with it- even with the best efforts of my wife.

    Click here for pricing and meats available!

    Q&A: Melanie Cumoletti, Rock Star Coach

    1. Introduce yourself and what it is you do:  I’m Melanie Cumoletti, encourager, motivator, health coach, wife and mommy doing what I LOVE and enjoying every minute of it!

    2. Why did you decide to go in this path in life?  My God given calling in life is to light a fire in people to push them on to their full potential. I have the opportunity every day to encourage women to go after their dreams to see them come true and let me tell you, it’s so much fun.

    3. What do you think most people need to be successful in their weight loss goals?  A solid reason for getting started, a solid program to follow and somebody by their side to help them through their rough days. Let’s face it, everybody has rough days!

    4. Why do people fail so often at weight loss attempts?  There is so much conflicting information that really weighs in on people when they are trying to get healthy. I mean, seriously, Dr. Oz has even posted conflicting stuff that really just makes people give up! When I first tried to lose weight, I worked out for 3 weeks and didn’t drop an ounce. It felt so terrible to work so hard for something and not to think that anything was coming from it. I didn’t see ANY change. People get bogged down with so much information that they have no idea where to start, or what will work vs. what is a gimmick and so often, they just don’t have any kind of support system that works for them when they are at a low point – to help them get through it and on to their success. So many people give up when they ONLY look at the scale and don’t understand why the number won’t go down. Most people don’t have a coach or a support system set up to help them succeed. I love what I do, because it works! I talk people through their bad days. I explain what their body is doing and why and I get them onto their success!

    5. From a personal point of view, what has been the best part of your own health journey?  I’m not going to lie, the 49lbs lost was really great. But, I think the very best moment I’ve had in this is that very first time that I was able to play ‘chase’ with my kiddos and they laughed so hard they could have peed their pants, but that awesome part was that I was able to wear them out! That had NEVER happened in my life. I welled up with tears…I knew that I was in this for life after that. Their smiles and happiness with that simple little thing with me made this whole thing worth it.

    Ok, ok, one more GREAT part – the day my husband picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. Seriously, if he would have attempted that before I lost weight, he wouldn’t be here today, lol!

    6. Where can people go to learn more about what services you offer?  I’m on Facebook daily and always posting free tips for weight loss and healthy living at www.facebook.com/RockStarCoachingwithMelanieC or they can go to my web page at www.myrockstarcoach.com

    7. Now some fun questions. What is your favorite food?  Sushi, hands down

    8. How do you spend your “Me” time?  What’s that? Just kidding 😉 My me time is first thing in the am when I work out. And when I’m winding down, I research and study everything. Right now, my ‘me’ time is training to be a Master Gardner…I know, I know. But I love learning new things and meeting new people and embracing life.

    9. Who is your hero?  JC. That’s right, I said it, Jesus Christ. My life is renewed daily because of Him and I’m able to give so much to others because He fills my cup- I really can’t compare anybody else.

    10. What is the one material item you cannot live without?  Haha – Hair straightener (my hair is CRAZY without it) and I’m totally adding another one here – my Mac! I love it!

    Sample Recipe that Melanie provides on her blog/Facebook page:

    Mini Candy Bars that WON’T break your diet! You can find the full write up on my blog at http://www.myrockstarcoach.com/mini-candy-bars-that-wont-break-your-diet/


    Feel free to SHARE the video!!!!!!!!


    Q&A: Kimberly Caird of Food Restores!

    I do not always make the best food choices, but when I do- wow does it feel good!  You know what else feels good?  Seeing the number on the scale decrease as energy and well being increases.  Learn more about meeting your health goals during this edition of Q & A with Kimberly Caird of Food Restores!

    After reading about this new business in our area I “liked” Food Restores Facebook page (click here) and it is AMAZING!  She has the BEST posts with tons of great information!  Read below for more info!

    1. Tell me who you are and what you do? 

    My name is Kimberly Caird. I’m the owner of a company called Food Restores where I work as a Certified Health Coach with men and woman who want to lose weight, the healthy way!

    Through my love of whole food nutrition, education and coaching, I help clients bring an understanding into their lives with regard to truly healthy eating and teach them to lose weight naturally.

    2. How did you end up pursuing this line of work?

    We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you Eat.” For me, that statement ultimately rang true through very clear experiences with food. Call me a late bloomer, who knows! But, the light bulb finally turned on when I stopped fooling myself and truly began to LIVE that statement.

    My struggles were the direct result of an intense, jam-packed, high-stress lifestyle. I was the stereotypical type A personality, requiring myself to burn both ends of the candle and jam forty hours into a twenty-four hour day. I was working full-time, going to school, raising children and failing to make my health and well being a priority.

    I suffered through sleepless nights, leaving me perpetually drained. I faced depression, digestive problems, routine sinus infections, unhealthy skin and hair and turned to the only answer I’d ever known – medication. By the end of every workweek, I’d spend Friday – Sunday trying to nurse my body back to health resulting from the stress I had put on it during the week.

    I was on the sidelines of my own life. Food was a necessity, but I never gave much thought to the type of food I was putting in my body and how it truly was making me stressed, depressed and sick! I began to realize that what I was eating and how I was living my life were contributing to my health issues in a big way.

    I slowly started to learn which foods caused my body to flourish and which my body despised. It was a step-by-step process of trial and error, which ultimately forced me to take the blinders off and take control of my health and life. Through this experience, I saw vast improvement in my health.

    The ultimate lesson for me was that, the diet you choose isn’t nearly important as your relationship with food – your lifestyle, and your relationship with your body. Making this connection is the key to your health and life!

    As a result of my own personal experiences, I became passionate about the connection between food and health and want to share what I’ve learned to help others and allow them to live the best life possible.

    3. What is the biggest reason clients seek your help?

    Clients come to me when they have reached a point in life where they are tired of the yo-yo diets and they want to take back their health. Many are struggling with their weight, they have cravings that are out of control, they have digestive issues that make them feel crummy, a lack of energy and are just tired of feeling sick all of the time. Ultimately, my clients are ready to change their lives and I act as the support structure to allow them to make that happen.

    4. What kind of services can potential clients expect from Food Restores?

    No one diet works for everyone. I work to guide clients toward finding the food and lifestyle choices that best support their body. 

    As a client of Food Restores, I work with clients over a six-month period, teaching them to eat healthy, understanding how to listen to their body and together we begin to make gradual life-long changes that will impact their lives and health long term.

    The program Includes:

    *An initial consultation to get clear on their goals and understand the program.

    *Two, individual sessions per month with clients where they get the education and support they require

    *Unlimited email support between sessions​

    *Cleanse and detox information​

    *Handouts, recipes & monthly newsletters

    *My personal commitment to support clients to reach their goals, every step of the way

    My work with clients over a six-month period results in steady, lasting changes that work. The individualized program will radically improve their health and happiness. We will explore concerns specific to them and their unique body and discover the tools needed for a lifetime of balance.

    5. People hear so many different theories (low carb vs low fat vs counting calories) to “what’s healthy”.  What are your thoughts on the different theories floating around out there? 

    Most approaches to nutrition dwell on calories, carbs, fats, proteins. Instead of creating lists of restrictions and good and bad foods, I coach my clients how to eat healthy foods and create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline.

    During my training, I studied over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts.

    No one diet works for everyone. I guide clients to find the food and lifestyle choices that best support them. I help them to make gradual, lifelong changes that enable them to reach their current and future health goals.

    6. If people have questions for you, what is the best way to reach you? 

    The best way to reach me is via email: kim@foodrestores.com. If anyone would like additional information they can visit my webpage at www.foodrestores.com or like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/foodrestores.

    7. What is your favorite breakfast choice?

    My go to breakfast choice when I’m on the run is typically a fruit/veggie smoothie. Blueberries, spinach and other super foods such as chia seeds, turmeric, cocoa and mixed greens. Yum!

    8. Tell us one random fact about yourself.

    My favorite way to relax by being home, with the fireplace burning, wearing some ‘comfy’ clothes and enjoying the company of my kids.

    9. What is your favorite store to shop at?

    I am a fan of lululemon. I’m tall (5’11”) and they sell work out clothes that fit me! When it comes to fruits/veggies, I do my best to shop local in order to get the most nutritious foods possible!

    10 . Favorite vacation spot?

    Vacation to me means SUN! Every year I spend a week with my family in Florida during the winter months where we get the opportunity to play on the beach and soak up some Vitamin D!


    **If you have any questions for Kimberly, feel free to contact her!**

    Q&A: Angela Seeks Out Savings at Angelasos.com!

    There are so many services available to people that they might not be aware of that I wanted to start interviewing people about what services they offer to make more people aware!  Each interview session will include business related questions and then a few fun questions so people can get to know the owner of the business!  If you are interested in having your business/ services featured, please email me at pennypinchingparents@yahoo.com !

    A former classmate of mine, Angela, frequently posts GREAT deals on her personal Facebook page.  Just today I said to her, you should start your own deals site and what do you know?  She offers an amazing service which she let me interview her about!

    1. Q: Tell us who you are and what you do. A: My name is Angela Keegan and I absolutely love to find the best deal on anything you are shopping for. From Vitamins to vehicles or restaurant equipment, I have been able to save some serious cash for my customers. If you have something that you are intending to purchase, find the price wherever you would normally just go and buy it and then contact me, I take it from there. I then search online to find the best deal on that, of course how can you ensure that I truly get you the best price on the product? The way I get paid is on how much you are saving from the original price, so it is in my best interest and yours to find the absolute best price I can since I would receive 30% of the savings. However in the off chance that I can’t beat the price you gave me, then it costs you nothing.
    2. Q: How did you get into doing this? A: I first got into this when buying auto parts and realizing how significant the savings could be on just those items. My in-laws were the first to see the benefits of that savings and told me I should get paid to do this. My father then said the same thing when he could see the savings in his hand, so with multiple people telling me to get started with a business to get paid to do what I enjoyed and do it from home, I decided it was time to start my business.
    3. Q: What is the #1 mistake consumers make when making a big purchase? A: The number one mistake consumers make when making a big purchase is walking into the nearest store and just buying it without shopping around. Unfortunately many people don’t have the time or the patience to shop around and even the knowledge in some cases to know where else to look, which is where I come in.
    4. Q: How can people contact you? A: It is very easy to contact me via my website in the “Contact Me” section at www.angelasos.com. I tried to make it easy to remember with my business name shortened to AngelaSOS, if you can remember my first name and then that you need help saving money then SOS should come to mind.
    5. Q: Do you target a specific area or can you help people regardless of location? A: I can help anyone anywhere as long as they have an email address or have access through a family member or a friend. Currently I work with PayPal but due to their charges, I am considering switching to an alternative company to avoid having to pass those PayPal charges onto my customers. Since there are protections in place for both of us using PayPal, the 2.9% can set everyone’s mind at ease, knowing that there is no private account information provided to either. It also allows for anyone anywhere to pay via credit/debit card even if they don’t have a PayPal account. I would like a program that provides the same protections. If the transaction is local and cash then we would avoid either of those options.
    6. Q: What is the type of item you are most frequently asked to seek out? A: Auto/ATV parts are currently the most popular items. I will honestly look for anything. With each purchase I gain more knowledge about something else out there in the world.
    7. Q: What is your favorite store to shop at? A: My favorite online store to shop at is www.woot.com because of the varying deals available everyday and their pricing is 99% of the time the cheapest for the item available but not necessarily for something you are specifically looking to buy at a certain time.
    8. Q: What is the one material thing you own that you couldn’t imagine life without? A: I couldn’t imagine my life without my Macbook, of course I got a deal on it and with a free printer
    9. Q: Last book/magazine you read? A:Truthfully I don’t take the time out to read magazines or books but I am realizing that I really should make the time for it to keep my mind sharp. Sadly I suppose the last magazine I read was Lowe’s Creative Idea’s haha! Although there isn’t much reading involved, it does give some inexpensive ideas for creating all kinds of things around your home…shocking isn’t it that I can’t get away from saving money even in my reading choice
    10. Q: You win an all expense paid vacation to anywhere in the world…where do you go? A: All expenses paid trip that I would love to win would be to go anywhere that isn’t here, but seriously, if I had to choose, I would say Italy for at least a week. I would even very happily take Ireland!

    To learn more about Angela and see if she can maybe save you some money, head to her website by clicking here.