A Great Partnership
St. Anthony Farm and Foundation and Clover Stornetta
State of the Art Energy Efficiency and a new Organic Artisan Buttery

By Michael Walsh

Just a few miles west of Petaluma sits a 315 acre farm with just over 250 certified organic cows, developing an organic, artisan buttery for dairy processor Clover Stornetta. However this is just one of the many locally owned dairy farms that meet the exceptional standards of the Clover Stornetta group. The St. Anthony Farm, Clover Stornetta's partner in the production of its first organic artisan buttery exists not only to launch their most sophisticated product to date, it continues to be an energy efficient, state of the art dairy committed to restoring lives in the community as well.

Click on Images to enlarge and caption

The St. Anthony Farm, run soley by the St. Anthony Foundation, quietly works in the background to rebuild lives through their acclaimed drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

Since 1950, the Foundation in San Francisco has served over 32 million free meals and assisted the poor with clothing, housing and healing of both body and spirit. The Farm is the extension of that work, providing a free residential drug and alcohol recovery program for men. During the 6 month program, participants work in an organic garden on the grounds, in the facility kitchen, or in the commercial dairy. At the conclusion of the 6 month program, participants can continue to stay at the farm and become part of an internship program and learn skills about working in the creamery.

The farm produces 1800 gallons of organic milk each day that is processed by Clover Stornetta. Just recently the Farm entered into an agreement with Clover to establish a state of the art Organic Artisan Buttery.

At the heart of this brand new state of the art facility is a Bio Digester.

The BioDigester is a system that processes cow waste into methane gas and turns that into electricity. The material is collected and placed into an above ground 2.5 million gallon tightly sealed and covered lagoon. The 17,000 cubic feet per day of rising methane rich biogas is captured and combusted in an 80 kilowatt generator that will power the dairy and the organic buttery. This new equipment will reduce energy costs and cut the emissions of methane (a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. The energy savings are expected to be around $42,000 per year, or almost 60% of the annual electricity bill. “With the bio-digester," says operation manager Cathleen Moller, “we anticipate a substantial savings in utility costs by producing our own electricity as well as by using a heat exchanger to pre-heat the water for our creamery."

It is not known exactly how long it will take the Bio Digester to produce all of St.Anthonyís electrical needs, and fortunately the financial picture is not dictated by the day to day operations of the St. Anthony Foundation. Rather it is a representation of the serious effort by ranchers, dairies and manufacturers in the food sector alike to continually work towards new renewable energy sources for the future.

5401 Old Redwood Hwy,
Petaluma, CA 94954
(707) 778-8448

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