A pyramidal facade of grey wood with a large, arched door provides a sense of openness and a venue for moving air. Kimberly Thorn, her husband, Clint, and their two sons, Garrett and Lyndon, are devoted to the well-being of their herd of happy cows: black and white spotted Holsteins and a few tan Jerseys. “Clint designed this whole barn,” Kimberly says. “It's a brand-new structure. He designed it for the total comfort of the cows. They get full, natural air currents, which affects their milk, their comfort, and their happiness. And the happier they are, the better flavor their milk is going to have.”
And that flavor is a key ingredient in what makes Thorncrest’s chocolates unique. Kimberly’s epiphany occurred in 1997, after milking a cow named Sue, when she made two different types of chocolate with the same milk. That was the day she discovered the importance of the different flavor profiles existing in an individual cow’s milk, and it was the genesis of her trademark process of creating “singlecow origin” chocolates, where all the milk that goes into any one of her chocolate styles comes from only one member of their herd.
Kim’s husband, Clint, is a lifelong farmer and craftsman, and their two sons, Garrett and Lyndon, are accomplished sawyers and farmers in their own right. They are all involved in the daily work and learning process that goes into providing optimum conditions for the cows. Every element of their diet, routine, and environment is carefully controlled, and they have become the subject of educational interest, including study by students from Cornell, who visit in order to learn about Thorncrest’s methods.
But it all comes down to the chocolates, which Kim produces and sells in a small, on-site shop, just big enough for a few people. “I want people to understand that chocolates should be just as fresh as their tomatoes.” The cows are her garden.
Kim and her family hasten to remind their customers, “We're just minor players. The cows and their milk are the heart of what we do. Our chocolates are about what they consume, how we care for them, what we do with them, and how we talk to them.”
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates
280 Town Hill Rd., Goshen