If you’re a regular at the Central New York Regional Market on Saturdays or do your food shopping at the Syracuse Real Food Co-Op, you might wonder why you’re not seeing Wake Robin Farm and the Schader family at the usual spot in Shed A or the cream-on-top yogurt in the co-op dairy department.Just before Christmas, Bruce Schader, co-owner and head cheese-maker at the family farm, in Jordan, ruptured a tendon in his right arm. The injury required surgery to repair the damage and requires that Bruce “take it easy” to give his arm time to heal.
“You wouldn’t believe how many things that arm does on our farm!,” Bruce’s wife, Meg Schader said in a recent Wake Robin Farm email. “… For the last couple of weeks, our teenage son and I have had our hands full just milking and feeding our cows. Bruce is feeling better, and he is learning to use his left arm for many tasks, but he needs several weeks to fully recover.”
The Schaders had hoped continue bottling milk, producing yogurt and making cheeses — and being a presence at the market each week — but have decided to suspend their market and farm stands until early March and concentrate their efforts on making their aged cheeses (cheddar and Mona Lisa, an Asiago-style cheese).
“We’re settling in to ‘the new normal,’ Meg Schader said last week. “We’re making cheeses to age… and to kind of reduce our workload.”
Meg Schader says she and her son are milking about 15 Jersey cows daily. “The truth is, I can make yogurt and bottle milk,” Meg Schader said. “It’s just a little too much for me to do.”
The Schaders plan to resume bottling milk and making yogurt the first week of March. Their goal is to return to the CNY Regional Market on Saturday, March 7, and reopen their farm store on Friday, March 6.
Wake Robin Farm is a 75-acre farm near the village of Jordan, a couple of miles north of Route 5. It was established as a crop farm, but the Schaders turned to dairy farming and launched their creamery in 2006. In addition to cream-on-top whole milk and yogurt, they are well-known for their “squeaky” fresh cheese curds – try to eat just one.