Moo-ving on up: Brian Kleeberg raising beef on top of seasonal sugaring

  • Brian Kleeberg of Kleeberg’s Sugar House stands with some of the cows he is now raising for beef on Adams Road in Greenfield. Kleeberg has been sugaring on the property since 2011, but said the business hasn’t been hugely profitable, so he decided to expand his business venture. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Cows feed at Brian Kleeberg’s farm on Adams Road in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Brian Kleeberg of Kleeberg’s Sugar House with some of the cows he is now raising for beef on Adams Road in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Brian Kleeberg of Kleeberg’s Sugar House stands with some of the cows he is now raising for beef on Adams Road in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Cows feed at Brian Kleeberg’s farm on Adams Road in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Brian Kleeberg of Kleeberg’s Sugar House puts out feed for the cows he is now raising for beef on Adams Road in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 4/23/2019 12:31:35 PM

Brian Kleeberg built a sugar house on his modest property on Adams Road in Greenfield in 2011, and has been sugaring ever since. But about five years ago, he decided that wasn’t enough — he wanted to raise beef, as well, so he bought a couple of calves and started to raise them.

“I know every animal I raise,” he said. “I’m selling quarters, sides and whole cows.”

Kleeberg said obviously the first calves were not born on the farm, but he is working toward selling only beef that is born and raised there.

Kleeberg said it takes 24 months for a cow to be ready for slaughter. He has raised Herefords, Angus and now Chianinas, which are bigger and yield more meat. Many weigh between 700 and 800 pounds.

“This is 100 percent different than what you get in a grocery story,” he said. “It’s so fresh.”

Kleeberg currently has a herd of about 35 cows. He said he already has customers, but is hoping to build that base.

“The meat is a little more expensive than what you get in a grocery store, but if you try it, I believe you won’t want to go back,” he said.

Kleeberg said his cows are raised, and killed, with kindness.

“There are a couple of slaughter houses I use,” he said. “I let the customer decide which one they want. They are both very humane, clean and easy on the animals. They are also both USDA approved. I want my customers and cows to have the best experiences.”

Kleeberg said the cows suffer no stress at the end. Until they are slaughtered, they are raised in open pastures where they graze and wander all day long. He said he understands some people get upset when they hear animals are being slaughtered.

“It is a reality, but I can promise that my cows are happy,” he said. “They live stress-free, happy lives here. I’ve even named a few of them who are going to stay here forever, and I check on them every day to make sure they’re doing well.”

Kleeberg said giving his herd the best life possible for the two years most cows are alive is most important to him.

The feed he gives them comes from local sources, including Antonellis Ag Services and Yazwinski & Sons, both in Deerfield.

“People can come and pick out their cow, name it and request what it will eat, like corn or grain,” he said. “They also get to choose what cuts they want. We don’t sell individual steaks, though.”

Kleeberg said he’s doing “everything right,” because it has been a big investment for him. He works full-time at another job to pay for the farm, so he spends his mornings, late afternoons and evenings with the animals, and during the late winter and early spring, he’s also sugaring.

“I grew up on this property,” he said. “Our neighbors had cows, and I would stand around some days just staring at them. I loved watching them.”

Kleeberg said he also loved the idea of sugaring, and that’s why he started that business back in 2011, but it hasn’t been hugely profitable — not for as little as he does each year. So, he decided to add to it.

He also has four horses that he uses for pulling and logging, and he gives wagon rides pulled by those horses. And, he sells composted manure.

“I’m doing all of this for the love of it,” he said. “I hope eventually to start seeing a decent profit. It’s labor-intensive, lots of work. But, I love it.”

Kleeberg said his farm is a one-man operation; he gets a little help from friends or family, when he needs it.

He said he hopes to buy more land and grow his herd, probably to about 40. He’d like to sell about 10 whole cows a year, and eventually make his own feed of hay and corn.

This year, Kleeberg is selling maple syrup at $35 per gallon or three for $100. All sizes and grades are available. Customers should call for beef orders and prices.

The sugar house and beef business are open by appointment only. For more information or to make an appointment, call Kleeberg at 413-834-4333. You can also visit Kleeberg Sugar House and Pulling Horses on Facebook.

Anita Fritz is senior reporter at the Greenfield Recorder. She began working there in 2002. She can be reached at afritz@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 269.


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