Bobolink Dairy Farm Tour

I was finally able to visit Bobolink Dairy Farm. I had heard about this New Jersey farm on tv years ago and never got around to checking it out. The farm produces award winning natural cheeses and breads. Their cow heard is strictly grass fed the way nature intended. Every Saturday and Sunday they give tours of their farm for $5. The farm was started by a husband and wife team with hardly a ‘farming background’.

Neither Jonathan nor Nina grew up with a farming background. He spent his childhood in Hoboken and Teaneck, attended Stevens Institute of Technology, wrote computer software and worked for a time at Goldman Sachs. She was the daughter of New York City schoolteachers, a dancer and dance teacher. They have long juggled a highly demanding family life: two of their three children (now grown) have Asperger’s syndrome and one is severely autistic.

They began making cheese while living in Westchester County, N.Y. A neighbor, composer and conductor David Amram, kept goats and cows, and started giving them the milk his children refused to drink…….

……Eventually, curiosity led him to take a few samples to the gourmet food purveyor Dean and Deluca. “He was nominated to the American Cheese Society on the spot,” Nina remembers. –

My visit on this particular day was sadly by car not plane. However I did figure out the perfect way fellow pilots can fly in and check it out. The Bobolink farm is just a 10 min drive from Alexandria Airport. How do I get to the farm from the airport you ask? Well lucky for you they have a pretty sweet courtesy car available that even benefits a local cause. Problem solved.

Jon the owner took us on a walk around the fields to see the cows grazing and explained how they operate everything. It was very cool being so close to the animals and seeing what farms are supposed to look like. He also took us inside and showed us the wood fired brick oven. One of the cool things was how he controlled the oven’s temperature with a computer by opening and closing the damper automatically. This allows the couple to get some much needed away time each evening without running in and out to the oven.

They have a large sampling station where you get to try each cheese and bread before you buy. While the goods might be pricey compared to your supermarket, the quality is far and away superior. In my opinion their food is worth every penny. So go ahead and checkout a family farm producing some top notch food.

We All Scream For Ice Cream – Penn State Creamery

People always say there are never any guarantees in life. While that may be true most of the time, I think I have found an exception. I can guarantee that once the magical goodness that is Penn State University ice cream hits your mouth, you will be guaranteed joy in direct proportion to bowl size. In fact I will take this time to warn you right now. Do not eat Penn State ice cream, it will forever ruin you. You will never enjoy anything as spectacularly creamy and delicious as this ice cream. All other ice cream will be referred to as ‘that garbage’. I even heard a story of a man who spent 3 months hitch hiking his way from Seattle on Chicken trucks to get to the creamery. Alright, I made that last part up but you get the idea.

Penn State started producing dairy products in 1865 as part of their agriculture school. They began offering dairy short courses shortly there after. People still come from all over the world to attend the short courses. In fact you might recognize some of their students. Two men by the names of Ben & Jerry. That is right they learned how to make it right there in Penn State.

So what does this have to do with a blog about flying you may ask? Well it makes a great day trip and I recently did it with my friends Matt & Pascale. The university is served by University Park airport KUNV which is 5mi from the creamery. The flight left Morristown MMU to pick up my friends at Wings Field LOM and then to University Park. We navigated using VORs on the way there. Lately I feel like I have been following the magenta line too much. It was good to know I can still track a radial and actually get to my destination.

When you are about 10min out make a call to unicom and ask them to call a cab. As you approach the airport from the east you will have Nittany Mountain in between you and the airport. This airport recently added a control tower and the charts aren’t completely updated so check the notams for frequencies etc. As you can see the airspace is designated Class D but the airport still shows uncontrolled. However the tower is most definitely there and active. We were told to fly around the mountain and report a left downwind for 24.

New Control Tower
Landing on 24

We were marshaled to a parking spot and walked right into the terminal. The woman at the desk was very friendly and told us our cab would be there shortly. Since we wanted to spend a few hours there we had the cab drop us off downtown to get some food. It is your typical college downtown lots of restaurants, diners, and even more places selling blue and white lion garb. The creamery is a short walk from downtown.

One huge stadium
The Lion - Pascale & Me
Berkey Creamery

You may want to look ahead at the half-gallon flavors if you intend to bring some home. So many students bring home ice cream for their families that they have a special thermal bag you can purchase to keep things cool. You can also bring your own cooler. Either way they provide you with enough dry ice to keep everything frozen for the ride home. Before this trip I took a few orders from friends so I ended up leaving with 9 half gallons. It was pretty heavy so we debated leaving Pascale at the airport and taking the ice cream. A man has to have priorities right? OK so it wasn’t THAT heavy no one had to be left behind.

The ice cream crew
Lots of ice cream inside the terminal
Lift with your back not legs

The cab rides were about $12 each way and there are no landing or ramp fees if you get fuel. Overall it made for a fun trip and something a little different from your typical $100 hamburger. If you give it a shot let me know how it worked out for you. Oh and I will take a half-gallon of Peanut Butter Swirl thank you very much.

Kobelt Airport N45 & Nu-Cavu Restaurant

Last week I was searching for some $100 hamburger joints. I came across Kobelt in Wallkill NY, they have a restaurant on the field called Nu-Cavu. After some quick researching online I discovered that every Friday night during the summer they host a skydiving competition at 7:30pm. That right there is enough to get my attention so I quickly rounded up a friend to go check it out. One minor problem is that fact that I am not night current so sadly we had to drive. We also made a reservation since I read that it tends to get crowded later in the evening.

The area is pretty rural and quiet. Upon entering the parking lot I was surprised to see how many cars were there. The restaurant is very nice inside and out. We sat outside of course as close to the runway as possible. No more then 20ft away the skydivers were preparing their equipment for the jump. Whats really cool is that you get to put your name in a raffle and you can win a tandem skydive that very night. I forgot my real camera so these pictures were from my camera phone.

The company that runs the skydiving is actually from a private airport right next to Kobelt called The Ranch. As we were waiting for our order the skydiving started so we walked over right near the target and got a great close up show. The jump plane for this evening was a Cessna 208B N9339B. They had 4 passes of 4 jumpers at 5,000 and then went up to 14,000 for the tandem jump. The competition was to land in the circle as close to the center target as possible. Two jumpers did hit the target dead on. The winning jumper receives $100 and a free dinner.

Our food arrived right after the skydiving competition. I had the Chicken Parmesan and my friend had the Chicken Saltimbocca. I am far from an official food critic but I thought it was quite good. It was definitely a huge portion, I couldn’t even finish the last few bites. As we ate our food we noticed a new jump plane land and more skydivers preparing for a jump. I found out that since the night was so calm and clear they were going to do several night jumps. We decided to get a few more beers and hang out. The jumpers put on glow sticks and battery powered strobe lights to help their visibility. The night jumps were very cool because it was quite hard to see them until they were swooping over you to hit the target. One thing to note for night landings are the pilot controlled runway lights. Like so many small strips they did not seem to want to come on and even when they were they were quite dim.

Overall it thought it was a great evening and not your typical $100 hamburger joint. Our total bill with an appetizer, two entrees, and several beers was about $80. Not to bad for a nice dinner with a cool show. Check it out sometime and let me know what you think.