Dashing Star Farm is named after the beloved border collie and sheep herder, Blaze-in-Sky Dashing Star. But owner Lynn Mordas also prides herself on raising sheep and chickens with so much attention to detail, great chefs take notice. Dashing Star treats agriculture like a science. It also supports the local community, which is what Farm2ChefsTable is all about. Let’s get to know Lynn of Dashing Star Farm. “Ewe” won’t be disappointed.
How it all started…
In 1994, Lynn started Dashing Star Farm at the Stephen D. Wheeler Farmstead in the heart of the Coleman Station Historic District. With a background in environmental science, Lynn’s passion for sustainable agricultural shines. The animals are raised on a pasture that sprawls over 22 acres of farmland.
Dashing Star Farm’s goal is to have the best meat available to home cooks, fine dining chefs like David Bouley, and local restaurants, such as the notable Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Fish & Game, among others. Lynn isn’t just raising any sheep. She chose to cross breed English Romney sheep and Border Lester sheep, prized for their colors and wool characteristics. Recently, Lynn added New Zealand Coopworth sheep and Finnsheep to the flock.
Each year when the weather cools in September, Lynn starts breeding the sheep so they will give birth in February or March. At 120 days old, the baby lambs start to ween off the mother and head to pasture. Their natural diet is supplemented with local grains that are custom mixed for Dashing Star Farm at a feed mill in Claverack, NY. The sheep roam freely and feed until reaching a goal weight 130 pounds. All the meat is free of antibiotics and growth hormones. The local USDA in Pine Plains and LaGrangeville helps oversee this.
Lynn’s sheep are well cared for. Throughout the sheep’s life, she keeps a close eye on their health using the Famacha score. This is a method that looks at the sheep’s eyes to determine the presence of parasites so they can be promptly treated. Lynn also performs tail docking for sanitary reasons. She works around the clock tending to the sheep.
When you talk about sheep, you also have to talk about the wool. In addition to meat, Lynn also makes wonderful sheepskin and wool products so nothing goes to waste. Lynn shears the sheep, then goes through a labor-intensive process of selecting the finest and softest fibers from each fleece while removing any debris. Next, Lynn ships the wool to Michigan, where it is washed, picked, carded and spun at a mill. No chemicals, detergents or additives are used in the wool processing. Lynn makes blankets, pet futons, felted wool dryer balls, wool trivets, coasters — and even felted wool tech cases to keep our beloved cellphones safe and sound.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get to Dashing Star Farm!
Dashing Star Farm produces Grade AA eggs that are antibiotic and hormone free. The breeds of chickens Lynn selects provides an assortment of colors in each carton of eggs. Dashing Star Farm gets these beautiful colored eggs from Auracana chickens, Black Australorp chickens, Buff Orpington chickens, Barred Rock chickens, Ancona chickens, Cuckoo Maran chickens, Rose-comb chickens, Single-comb Brown Leghorn New Hampshire Red and Red Star Hens. Why are these eggs so special? For one, they are pasture raised. The chickens dine on the natural flora and fauna of the Hudson Valley. The yolks are a deep orange color with a rich taste derived from a diverse diet, rather than bland chicken feed. Like the sheep, Lynn supplements the chicken’s diet with custom-milled grains from the mill in Claverack.
Lynn broods the chicks carefully once they hatch. The chicks spend one month on the top level of a brooder. As they grow, she transitions them to a larger brooder. Keeping chicks of different ages separated in this way ensures they are fed the appropriate diet. The brooder also keeps them safe from predators while giving them ample space to move around freely. These happy hens produce the most wonderful eggs.
Shop small, shop local
If you live in the Hudson Valley, it’s more important than ever to source local ingredients and supplies to keep our community strong. Dashing Star Farm is all about community, from the local grains in Claverack to the second-cutting hay from her neighbor that keeps the sheep and chickens warm in winter. It’s all about building symbiotic relationships to strengthen local commerce.
Your dollar has a domino effect. Buying meat, eggs, and wool products from Dashing Star Farm not only supports Lynn, but also supports the Claverack grain company she uses and the local wool processing plant in Pine Plains and Lagrangeville. Dashing Star Farm can be found at the Cold Spring Farmers Market on Saturdays.