Fresh Starts: Seeking special plants to get your garden going? Mark your calendar for these plant sales.

 

fresh starts

Stony Kill Farm Plant Sale and Spring Celebration

Our region is blessed with an abundance of small farms, so in the spring, plant sales pop up as reliably as daffodils. There are many reasons to buy spring plants from a farm rather than a retailer, not the least of which is the fact that you’re supporting a local (and often family-owned) business.

Unlike large nurseries or big box stores, local farms specialize in organically grown veggies, herbs and flowers that flourish in our climate—typically offering a wider variety of plants, including many that can’t be found in retail stores. Because these farms don’t use persistent pesticides, their plants won’t kill bees (harming our food supply) or produce food that’s hazardous to ingest.

And because local farms are part of the fabric of our community, their plant sales are true community events—springtime celebrations where families are welcome. Kids love visiting farms, and they learn a lot in the process. So save the date for one or more of the local plant sales coming up in May.

Hilltop Hanover Farm’s Spring Plant Sale
April 26-May 31
Fridays 1p.m.-6 p.m.
Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Plants for sale: Cool-season annual flowers, herbs and vegetable transplants, including early-blooming columbine, snapdragons and diasca; organic lavender, chives, chamomile, dill, lemon balm, mint mojito and sage; and naturally grown lettuce, spinach, kale, peas and chard. Come any weekend for veggie, herb and flower transplants, all grown at Hilltop, plus finished annuals and organic herbs.

Family fun: The farm stand will be stocked with local farm products such as seeds, honey, maple syrup, breads and baked goods.

Something special: Look for cottage garden annuals, specialty cut flowers and pollinator plants. Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and squash plants, plus lots of summer flowers, will be ready in early May. All transplants produced at Hilltop Hanover are grown using organic practices.

Hilltop Hanover Farm, 1271 Hanover St., Yorktown Heights, NY HilltopHanoverFarm.org

 

Stony Kill Farm Plant Sale and Spring Celebration
May 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Rain date May 5)

Plants for sale: Plants for vegetable and herb gardens.

Family fun: Baby animals, sheep shearing demo, wool spinner, live music, open barn, open greenhouse, crafts, face painter, concession stand and more.

Something extra: Stony Kill Beekeepers will have an informational booth, and the Stony Kill gardeners will have an informational table on pollinator gardening.

Stony Kill Farm, 79 Farmstead Lane , Wappingers Falls, NY , 845.831.3800; StonyKill.org, Stony Kill Foundation, Inc.@Facebook.com

 

Poughkeepsie Farm Project Farm Fest and Plant Sale
May 4 & 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Plants for sale: Nearly 100 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Family fun: Food truck, live music, smoothie and interactive popcorn stations, craft and farmer’s market offering Hudson Valley-made products, Poughkeepsie Farm Project merchandise including herbal body products, gardening book fair, children’s book readings, kid-friendly activities.

Something extra: This is Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s 20th year of connecting food, farm and community in the Hudson Valley. Visitors are invited to tour the farm fields, meet the team, learn about the farm’s programs and activities and explore its meditation and discovery gardens.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project, 51 Vassar Farm Ln., Poughkeepsie, NY, FarmProject.org/farm-fest 


 

ryder farmSPACE on Ryder Farm Mother’s Day Weekend Plant Sale
May 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
May 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Plants for sale: Hanging baskets and a wide selection of flowers, herbs and vegetable starts, including 11 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, summer and winter squash, salad greens, sweet and spicy pepper varieties and more, all certified organic and grown on Ryder Farm.

Family fun: Guided tours of Ryder Farm, a food truck for picnicking on the lawn, children’s activities.

Something extra: The plant sale will be the official start of SPACE on Ryder Farm’s first growing season. Plants and produce will be available for purchase at the roadside farmstand on Starr Ridge Road through November.

Ryder Farm, 406 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster, NY, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org

 

common groundCommon Ground Farm Plant Sale
May 11, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

Plants for sale: Vegetables, flowers and herbs, including classic favorites like basil, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and kale, as well as more unusual and unique heirloom varieties such as husk cherries, fairytale eggplant and purple basil, all organically grown at Common Ground Farm. Come early for best selection.

Family fun: Children’s arts and crafts, and the opportunity to meet the farmers and ask them about growing techniques and varieties.

Something extra: All proceeds go to support Common Ground Farm’s mission of food access and education.

Common Ground Farm Plant Sale, Corner of Cross and Main Streets, Beacon, NY; Rain location: Beacon Yoga Center, 464 Main St., Beacon, NY, Common Ground Farm Spring Plant Sale @Facebook.com

 

vendorsAnnual Lasdon Park Plant Sale
May 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 19,
10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Special preview for Friends of Lasdon Park and Arboretum: May 17, 6-8 p.m.

Plants for sale: A broad selection of colorful annuals, including many hard-to-find and popular favorites that are easy to plant and care for.

Family fun: Vendors selling crafts, food, gifts and other items.

Something extra: A special conservatory exhibit will feature blooming orchids and more. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Tickets available at the Shop at Lasdon.

Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial, 2610 Amawalk Rd. (Rte. 35), Somers, NY LasdonPark.org

 

 

 

Farm-Fresh Local Food: CSAs get flexible with new features like choose-your-own produce, special add-ons and sliding-scale prices.

 

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Education Manager Ellie Limpert in one of three high tunnels at Poughkeepsie Farm Project

When people join a CSA (community supported agriculture) program—paying a local farm up-front for a season-long supply of produce—everybody wins. The farm benefits from the early investment. Members benefit from the nutritious produce (typically fresh picked and chemical free). The local economy benefits, and so does the environment (no toxic pesticides or long-haul trucks).

Buying produce through a CSA can also be cost-effective, especially now that many farms offer flexible plans that allow customers to buy just what they need. Best of all, CSAs build relationships between farmers and the neighbors they feed. CSAs are about community above all else.

Planting season is here, which means CSA signups have begun. Here are a few local farms that offer CSA programs.

 

Fable: From Farm to Table
fableLocated in historic Ossining, Fable is a farm and food hub dedicated to sustainable agriculture. The farm grows produce using organic practices and has pasture-raised chickens its CSA members can meet and feed.

“We believe that through dedication, hard work and modern technological advancements in agriculture, we can provide the freshest produce all year round without the use of harmful pesticides,” says owner Tom Deacon.

Last year Fable introduced its new CSA Farm Card, “with great reviews,” Deacon says. CSA members purchase a Farm Card that they can spend like cash throughout the year in the farm’s market, choosing their own produce—as much or as little as they’d like—over the course of the growing season. Weekly selections are simply subtracted from their credit balance.

A CSA membership helps support the farm during the colder months, and allows us to prepare for an abundant spring and summer harvest,” Deacon says.

Cost: $250-$1,000 for a CSA Farm Card.

What’s included? With the Farm Card, CSA members can purchase any item in Fable’s Market, including produce, eggs, honey and milk. The market is open on weekends year-round, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fable: From Farm to Table, 1311 Kitchawan Rd., Ossining, NY. Info: FableFoods.com.

 

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
harvest20moonHarvest Moon Farm and Orchard, a family-owned and -operated apple orchard in North Salem, grows a variety of stone fruits and vegetables that it sells in its Farm Store and through its CSA. The owners, first-generation farmers, have expanded their harvest every year since opening for business in 2011.

“We are passionate about what we do,” says CSA Manager Todd Stevens. “Simply put, our goal is to supply our community with the freshest produce possible, directly from the farmer.” Harvest Moon grows its food using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, which means that organic fertilizers and pest controls are used whenever possible. All of Harvest Moon’s produce is planted and harvested by hand.

Cost: $325-$810. Customers can choose between 13-week and 18-week seasons, and half- or full-bushel shares.

What’s included? Produce typically available includes lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, melons, peppers, beets, corn, onions, squashes, apples, eggplant and potatoes. Each box includes a dozen farm-fresh eggs, and fresh-pressed sweet cider as available. CSA add-ons include milk, cheese and/or beef shares. A flower add-on includes a fresh, farm-grown bouquet every week for 12 weeks.

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY. Info: 914.485.1210, HarvestMoonFarmAndOrchard.com.

 

Poughkeepsie Farm Project
projectPoughkeepsie Farm Project—a 12-acre organic farm whose produce is Certified Naturally Grown—has been connecting food, farm and community for 20 years.

“Not only are we a CSA operating on an urban farm, but we also annually donate 20 percent of our harvest to emergency food providers in the Hudson Valley,” says Ray Armater, executive director. “So in addition to supporting local, small-scale farming, our CSA members are also supporting the organization’s greater mission in the region.”

The farm’s flexible CSA model allows members to select their share size and the items in their share. They can also work with the farm crew for a discounted share, and go out into the fields to pick their own flowers, berries, cherry tomatoes, herbs, hot peppers and other produce. “Pick-your-own allows members and their families to engage with the farm, and it’s a great way for kids to get hands-on with helping to harvest and taste,” Armater says.

The CSA is unique in the amount of flexibility and choice it offers while still staying true to a traditional CSA model, he adds. Members can select 5 or 10 items from a choice of 14 to 20 different items each week. Produce is arranged farmers market-style, and is always harvested fresh and at peak ripeness for maximum nutrition and flavor.

Cost: $445-$885 for a weekly whole or half share (generally 12 to 18 pounds) for a 23-week season. Discounts for work share option.

What’s included? Produce throughout the season, with fruit shares available July through November and the option to purchase locally raised, grass-fed beef from Back Paddock Farm.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project, 51 Vassar Farm Ln., Poughkeepsie, NY. Info: 845.516.1100, FarmProject.org.

 

Ryder Farm
ryderCSA members at Ryder Farm, in Brewster, are helping support one of the oldest organic farms on the East Coast, as well as the larger mission of SPACE on Ryder Farm, a residency program for artists and activists. SPACE, which now oversees farm operations, will host a special “happy hour” pickup party for the first pickup of each month at the farm, where CSA members can mingle with each other and SPACE’s resident artists. A new, sliding-scale CSA has been introduced to ensure memberships are accessible to everyone in the community.

“We recognize that not everyone has access to the monetary resources to receive good, fresh food, but together with our CSA members, we have the capacity to make this possible,” says Farm Manager Doug DeCandia. “So starting this year, with our sliding scale membership, folks who can pay more do, while folks who cannot, pay what they can.”

Cost: $320-$1,150 for weekly or every other week shares, which can be picked up at Ryder Farm or in New York City. Sliding-scale price options available.

What’s included? Organic herbs and vegetables “from A to Z,” plus art created by friends and alumni of SPACE’s artist residency programs.

Ryder Farm, 406 Starr Ridge Rd., Brewster, NY. Info: 646.833.8159, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/farm.

 

 

 

Ryder Farm Changes Management: SPACE assumes operations as Betsey Ryder retires

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SPACE on Ryder Farm interns with organic produce and plants to be sold starting in May

SPACE on Ryder Farm, the residency program for artists and activists, has assumed management of the organic farming operations at Ryder Farm, succeeding Betsey Ryder of Ryder Farm Cottage Industries, who retired at the end of the 2018 growing season after 40 years of farming. As part of the management shift, SPACE has launched a sliding-scale CSA (community supported agriculture) program.

Located on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster, Ryder Farm is one of the oldest family farms in the Northeast, first established by Eleazer Ryder in 1795. It was an early adopter in the organic movement. Betsey Ryder has been growing organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on the farm since 1978, following in the footsteps of her cousin Hall Gibson and five generations of Ryders before her. Betsey maintained the farm’s presence at the local Brewster market, as well as a robust CSA program, and worked to keep the farm’s 127 acres from being sold for development.

Keeping a Legacy Alive
Emily Simoness, a seventh-generation Ryder, co-founded SPACE in 2011 along with Susan Goodwillie. They created the nonprofit with the two-fold mission of providing time and space for artists and innovators to develop new work, while contributing to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of Ryder Farm.

Located on the grounds of the 224-year-old family homestead, SPACE creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, says Simoness, its executive director. Each year, SPACE welcomes nearly 150 artists and activists to the farm for fully subsidized residencies of one to five weeks.

“Since SPACE’s founding, art and agriculture have been in concert on Ryder Farm,” she says. “At a time when family farms are being lost across the country due to economic pressures and the lack of succession plans, SPACE is deeply committed to ensuring Ryder Farm is still farming in another 224 years.”

“Emily arrived to the farm and saw the inspiration inherent in this land and created a vehicle for others to engage in the nurturing and cultivation of their craft,” says Betsey Ryder. “I am lifted by the enthusiasm of SPACE for taking on our agricultural legacy. I am confident that SPACE will grow upon the agricultural base and carry Ryder Farm to new heights.”

What’s New on the Farm
Farmers Jason McCartney and Doug DeCandia will lead farm operations at SPACE. As director of farming, McCartney brings nearly a decade of experience from across the East Coast, including Brookwood Community Farm in Massachusetts and Matunuck Farm in Rhode Island. Farm Manager DeCandia has worked extensively with the Food Bank for Westchester (now known as Feeding Westchester) as both a farmer and a food justice activist. He also previously worked at Ryder Farm in 2010, and says he’s happy to be returning now to work with SPACE.

In addition to stocking SPACE’s residency kitchen, produce from Ryder Farm will be available via sliding-scale CSA memberships. Weekly shares of vegetables and herbs will be available for pickup at the farm and in New York City from June to October. SPACE also will sell produce weekly at Ryder Farm’s roadside stand on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster.

To sign up for a 2019 CSA membership, visit SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/farm or, en Español, SpaceOnRyderFarm.org/granja. For more info, visit SpaceOnRyderFarm.org.

 

 

Rochambeau Farm Stand Opens with More Space and Products

Family-owned Rochambeau Farm Stand has been feeding the Westchester community for several years, both with its own organic vegetables and with specialty items from other local businesses and farms. When the store opens for the season on May 4, 2017, it will have a larger physical space and offer more products than ever, says Farm Manager Natalia Cardona.

“The farm stand will still carry the signature products our customers love, but it has also worked with great new vendors to bring nothing but the best to its shelves,” she says. “Because of the farm’s seasonal nature, it is heavily reliant on what Mother Nature is able to provide—with a little help from our head farmer’s green thumb.”

Rochambeau Farm has long staked its reputation on its organic vegetables (although it’s not “certified organic”). It grows a variety of vegetables, including but not limited to lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, swiss chard, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, garlic and onions. It also sells baked goods, marmalades, local honey, grass-fed meats, NY-based cheeses, gluten-free and paleo products, local soups, hummus, oils, marinades, flowers, herbs, nuts and butters. “Among our customers’ favorite products are Marta’s salsa, pesto, guacamole and gazpacho,” Cardona says.

Store hours are Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shoppers are welcome to visit with the farm animals, including a baby goat born in January.

Rochambeau Farm is located at 214 W. Patent Rd., Mt. Kisco, NY.  For more information, call 914.241.8090 or visit RochambeauFarmNY.com.