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.

 

 

 

Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year

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Strolling the food aisle at HV Vegfest

The second annual Hudson Valley Vegfest will take place November 3 and 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, in the 42,000-square-foot events space at Gold’s Fitness Center in Poughkeepsie. Sponsored by the Institute for Animal Happiness, this festival celebrates the benefits of vegan living and explores the issues that drive the vegan movement, from food justice to human health concerns to protecting animals and the environment.

Last year’s Vegfest drew 2,500 attendees, and organizers say the response is an indication of growing interest in veganism and plant-based options, as more people in the Hudson Valley become aware of the beneficial aspects of making these choices.

This year’s festival will feature more than 80 vendors—both local and from around the country—representing a wide array of products and services, including various vegan foods, chefs, authors and innovators, and businesses and nonprofit organizations devoted to change. The lineup of speakers and presentations includes voices from across the spectrum of inclusive and compassion-based activism, such as Alyssa Miller (Deafinitely Vegan); Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment (Vegan Mos); Omowale Adewale (founder of Black Vegfest and GAMENYC); Carmen Ng and Evelyn Li (Ocka Treats); Robert Grillo (author and founder of Free From Harm); Scott David (Compassion Over Killing); Gretchen Primack (activist and poet); Heather Stadler (Official Fat Vegan); and Dr. Milton Mills (featured in the Netflix film What the Health).

And once again this year, Hudson Valley Vegfest will produce zero waste thanks to its partnership with local service Zero to Go. Only six bags of trash from last year’s festival went to the landfill; everything else was composted or recycled.

Among the festival sponsors are WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Radio Woodstock 100.1 WDST, MadeGood, Zero to Go, and Vegan and Animal Professionals Insurance.

Cost: $10 per ticket or $15 for a two-day pass. Children 10 and under free. Veterans $5 (cash at door only). Location: 258 Titusville Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY. For more info, visit HVVegfest.org or InstituteForAnimalHappiness.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heritage Applefest in Garrison

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Apple with a view at Boscobel

Boscobel House and Gardens will host its Heritage Applefest, featuring live music, sweet and hard cider sampling, press-your-own cider and family games and activities, on October 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to sweet and hard cider, apple cider doughnuts, butter and syrup will be available for purchase from local vendors.

Applefest celebrates the agricultural history of the Hudson Valley and Boscobel, which was constructed in the early 19th century, when the apple was America’s favorite fruit. Boscobel’s apple orchard still features some of those heritage varieties as well as many newer ones.

During the festivities, the Historic House Museum will be open for visitors to explore at their own pace and direction, with expert guides stationed to offer insight and information.

Cost: Pay what you wish. Location: 1061 Rte. 9D, Garrison, NY. Rain date: October 13. For more information, call 845.265.3638 or visit Boscobel.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm to Table Fundraising Dinner and Wine Tasting in Scarsdale at Greenburgh Nature Center

Farm to Table dinner at GNC

Farm to Table dinner at GNC

The Greenburgh Nature Center (GNC) hosts its second annual Farm to Table dinner and wine tasting fundraiser on Sunday, June 22, 2014, from 4 to 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy locally grown, seasonal fare from area restaurants, bakeries and wineries in GNC’s lovely and elegant natural setting.

The evening begins with appetizers and a glass of award winning local wine from the Hudson Valley region. Guests can stroll around the grounds and learn about the animals, exhibits and educational programs from GNC naturalists and interns. Afterwards, everyone gathers around long tables to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by several local restaurants and bakeries.

Participants walk around to the different stations, each featuring a different restaurant offering menu items that include ingredients harvested or sourced fresh from local area farms.

Local wines provide a special accompaniment, and guests can speak with the various local chefs and wine makers who contribute to the evening’s meal. In an effort to reinforce GNC’s mission and sustainability message, everyone is asked to bring their own dinnerware, glasses and silverware. There will be an opportunity to rinse everything off before packing up to go home.

Dinner will be served outdoors, under a tent if necessary, at tables set up on the Great Lawn. Guests are encouraged to dress comfortably and casually, wear practical shoes, and bring a light sweater or jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, if desired. The cost per person is $100 for members, $150 for non-members. Children ages 12 or older can attend at the per person rate. As seating is limited, early online sign-ups are encouraged by visiting GreenburghNatureCenter.org and clicking on Farm to Table.

GNC is a 33-acre woodland preserve with trails, a pond, gardens, a playground, and outdoor animal exhibits, including a birds of prey aviary. Its mission is to offer inspiring, hands-on environmental education experiences, foster an appreciation of nature and promote sustainable practices.

 For more information, call 914.723.3470 or visit GreenburghNatureCenter.org.