Red Barn Milk takes combine-and-conquer path
By RICHARD SKELLY
RINGOES (Nov. 15, 2017) — A partnership between two farms is looking to add more value to its respective products, pasture-based milk and beef.
The Red Barn Milk Company, a partnership between Jared Weeks at HunVal Dairy and Double Brook Farm in Hopewell held its official opening in late July.
Weeks operates HunVal Dairy. Double Brook Farm is owned by John McConaughy, who also owns Brick Farm Market and Brick Farm Tavern in Hopewell.
General Manager P.J. Verratti, who commutes Wednesday through Sunday from Cherry Hill in south Jersey, is optimistic that the new restaurant, milk store and ice cream center will be successful among area foodies who appreciate quality burgers, a variety of other beef products, milkshakes and hard and soft ice cream.
Verratti’s background includes four years in restaurant management and 12 years as a chef in south Jersey and Philadelphia.
He found his current opportunity via his previous employer, Dr. Steven Back, an anesthesiologist and owner of the organic Greenflash Farm on Mountain View Road, Skillman.
Red Barn Milk Company opened on July 12 and the official grand opening was July 25, when New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher and Jersey Fresh representatives were in attendance.
“We have 100 percent grass-fed beef, all from Double Brook Farm, and all our meats and eggs come from Double Brook, and all the produce we use is local,” Verlatti explained one recent mild sunny October afternoon.
Red Barn Milk Company is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday and plans are in the works to build a creamery in a neighboring building.
The creamery will be ready by next spring, Verlatti said.
Once the creamery operation is up and running next spring, they plan for the restaurant to be open seven days a week, Verlatti said.
“When people expect more they’re willing to pay a bit more,” he said of Red Barn’s grass-fed burgers, hot dogs and other menu items.
“The burger we sell here is $8. If you add a little more for cheese, that’s $9, still a lot less than the $12 or more you would pay in an upscale restaurant,” he said. “Once our creamery is ready next spring, we’ll be making our own butter and cheese.
“Milk will be bottled right here on-site, too.”
“Our hard and soft ice cream is made 100 percent from HunVal milk,” he said, noting he’s studying cheesemaking now so he can at least oversee that part of the operation next spring and summer.
Red Barn’s main menu items include grass-fed burgers, smoked beef and pork hot dogs, beer brat with sauerkraut, hand-cut French fries, veggie burgers made from quinoa, local black beans and local wheat flour, “and in addition to this we have regularly changing specials based on availability from the local organic farms.”
By next spring, Verlatti said the milk from HunVal Dairy will be processed and bottled on site.
Verlatti is confident, given McConaughy’s reputation in the restaurant business and the popularity of his facilities in nearby Hopewell, that Red Barn Milk Company should see more growth next year, given the uniqueness of what the facility offers.
“Our growth relies on our guests and giving them the highest quality product possible,” he said. “The grass-fed and pasture-raised meats from Double Brook Farm have superior taste and quality. We produce the first Jersey Fresh ice cream, which is hand-made in small batches from Hun-Val Farm milk.
“The on-site creamery will add another level of uniqueness. All of these things add up to a concept that nobody else is doing right now.”
Easton, MD 21601-8925