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Green thumb: Ashley Loehr sows the season’s final lettuce crop.

Photo: Josh Potter

A Growing Community

At a Columbia County farm, plowing fields and bucking the system through community-supported agriculture

By Josh Potter

“Mu-cky!” says Ashley Loehr, temporarily freeing one rubber boot from the swampy soil before plunging it back into what used to be a tomato bed. “When am I going to stop saying that?” It’s a hot morning in late July and Loehr and Ben Torpey are busy yanking gnarled tomato vines out of the saturated soil. A disappointingly soggy start to the summer created ideal conditions for tomato blight—a fungus that wreaks havoc on tomato and potato plants—to spread throughout the Northeast, and Germantown Community Farm, the small cooperative that Loehr and Torpey manage in southwestern Columbia County, was not spared. Loehr and Torpey collect the plants, 700 in all, and quarantine them in an enormous blue tarp where they will decompose.

“I think this year will be the real test,” Loehr says, but the 23-year-old farmer doesn’t seem especially worried that one failed crop will cause the four-year operation’s downfall. In fact, according to the business model GCF uses, unforeseen situations like this are a natural part of the agricultural process for which both farmer and consumer must be prepared. Like an increasing number of small farming operations that aim to offer an alternative to mass industrial agriculture systems and fill a void left by the dying family farm, GCF uses the model of Community Supported Agriculture.

On the walk uphill to a hothouse where the two have managed to cultivate a smaller crop of tomatoes, they explain how the system works: At the beginning of a growing season, interested consumers become members by buying shares of what the farm will produce throughout the course of the season. In Germantown, the season runs from June through October. Every week, members receive a basket of whatever the farm is presently producing. Early on, shareholders must be prepared for an abundance of leafy greens like lettuce, kale, and spinach. Carrots, zucchini, onions, and (normally) tomatoes won’t arrive until mid- to late summer; autumn supplies heartier fare like broccoli, cabbage, and root vegetables. The benefits are many: Members receive fresh produce from a source with which they have direct contact; produce is provided at reduced prices on account of eliminated transportation and distribution costs; and the farmers gain security from the members’ commitment and monetary investment.

The hothouse is a steamy jungle of vines and fruit. Torpey, 28, looks at the way the plants are sagging on top and shrugs. “Better too hot and alive than comfortable and dead,” he wagers. In an economic sense, Torpey says the arrangement is “a great way of providing an alternative credit source to farmers that’s local and not based on a profit motive. You’re reducing the need for bank loans in the early season to finance a crop, while, at the same time, sharing the risk. We’ll feel some loss due to the tomatoes we were planning on taking to market, but the economic impact is going to be minimized by the shared risk.”

Advantages to the CSA model are not limited to the economic realm. As the movement toward localism gathers steam, CSA offers communities the chance to once again become involved in the process that delivers life’s core necessity, and this relationship can extend far beyond the act of food production. Entering another hothouse full of the farm’s drying garlic crop, Loehr says, “It’s farmers being dependent on their neighbors again, but it’s also neighbors being dependent on their farmers again,” and Germantown Community Farm tries to cultivate this network as much as it tries to grow abundant, healthy vegetables.

The midday heat has driven the two out of the fields and into tiny downtown Germantown, where Loehr tracks down the owner of the general store to see if he’d be interested in carrying some of the farm’s produce. The farm recently has started producing enough to sell at the Hudson Farmers Market. Loehr reports that he’s interested in tomatoes and potatoes, a rarity this year, but is afraid to carry greens, which have a shorter shelf life, before the store can generate a more consistent clientele.

The two seem to know everyone in town, which, Torpey jokes, could either reflect on how big the farm’s community has become, or how small Germantown is. When asked how many people interact with the farm over the course of the season, including shareholders, volunteers, and folks who stop by for seasonal gatherings and skill-share workshops, Torpey gives a ballpark of 500 to 1,000 before being interrupted by another local. The three rap about tractor hydraulics, the old Mercedes station wagon that Loehr has converted to run on biodiesel, and tentative plans to start a Germantown biodiesel co-op, so that biodiesel users won’t have to drive to Greenport, where the closest co-op currently is located, to fuel up. Torpey and Loehr may still be relative newcomers to the area, but what they’ve brought is clearly welcome.

Germantown Community Farm got its start five years ago when Loehr and two friends from high school moved into the 19th-century farmhouse when there was a gap in renters. The 60-acre piece of land had not been farmed for a decade, but the three decided to start a sizable garden for their personal use. Loehr had grown up working on farms in the summer and was excited by the prospect of making it her full-time lifestyle. After a year, the garden had grown to the point that a larger-scale operation was in order. For the second season, they decided to start a CSA with 10 shares.

“There was more than enough for just us,” Loehr explains. “[The CSA] was a way to formalize the relationship with folks in the area who had been asking about it, or who we’d already been trading vegetables with. It’s just gotten a little bit bigger every year.”

Torpey met Loehr during the CSA’s first season. He’d spent summers in college working on farms, and had been looking for land to settle on. Loehr welcomed Torpey and his partner Luli Heintz, a metalworker who was also in search of space, into the expanded operation.

The neglected land required quite a bit of preparatory work. The Hudson Valley’s clay soil, which once yielded wheat in such abundance that the region was considered the bread belt of the Northeast, had to be gouged and turned for vegetable production, and much of an ill-tended apple orchard had to be removed. Investments were made for tools and infrastructure. Now, four years in, the two feel like they’ve arrived at a workable economy of scale.

“For a few years,” Torpey says, “we just made it a little bigger and tried to pay the rent.”

“Now,” Loehr adds, “it’s a question of where it goes. With the amount of money we’ve had to invest in infrastructure, we might as well be farming five or 10 acres [instead of the two they currently cultivate], but the idea is not necessarily to keep growing.”

Torpey says that there are some quality-of-life benefits to being a little too small for full economic viability. There’s flexibility to the schedule, no need to hire outside help, and space to improvise when something goes wrong. For instance, when the tractor breaks, the operation can still go on with a little extra labor. “I think people would find us to be really scrappy if they checked out the way we do things,” he says, “but that’s just our MO.”

“A big part of the question, when you’re a CSA,” Loehr says, “is who your community is, and where your food is going.” She cites the growing trend among affluent white people toward local, sustainable, organic produce as important to the viability of the CSA model, but says that if the CSA is going to have any substantial impact on the overarching food system, it needs to be accessible and affordable to all people. “The exponential growth model is only one way to go, and its orientation is for a profitable vegetable business,” she says, “but that’s clearly not our only goal.

“Otherwise,” she jokes, “we’d be growing on some better soil.”

This season, GCF has 50 shares that are distributed through the Hudson Valley and Capital Region. In order to make the produce affordable, the farm offers a sliding pay scale. A full share costs between $450 and $750, while a half share costs between $300 and $450. Members are asked to pay as much as they can to make the lower end available for others, and if you compare the higher end of the scale to what a family of four would pay for five months of organic produce, the price is competitive. In addition, the farm offers two work shares in which the member can work 160 hours for a full share, as well as sponsorship programs to make shares affordable to low-income families.

In terms of farming practices, Loehr and Torpey tend not to draw strict ethical lines so much as stick to general orientations. As Loehr says, “It’s all about appropriate usage. I think diesel engines are awesome, but I try not to use them excessively. It’s not been so much about finding chemicals that are organically approved; it’s about building a fragile agro-ecosystem as opposed to killing certain things in it.”

Torpey explains that this includes basic ideas of crop rotation and building soil that’s not propped up by artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides and fungicides. “I think a lot of the orientations of the organic movement as it started appealed to us, but I identify less with where it’s gone,” namely in the direction of rigorous standardization and costly certification that limits a farmer’s autonomy.

“[Organics] have become dogmatic in a way that’s detrimental,” Loehr says. “What’s problematic about industrial food and farming within the capitalist context is that you’re forced to grow for market to the degree that room for experimentation has to exist in a profit model.” Tomato blight is a perfect example of a natural circumstance that would have sunk an operation like theirs, had they been working strictly within the market. By pursuing a smaller scale and opting out of organic certification, the farm instead aims to generate a sense of trust within its community, which Loehr says, “is way more rare and valuable—radical even.”

“There are a lot of locals in Germantown,” Torpey says, “who are signing up for the CSA and aren’t necessarily influenced by the trend of localism, but just think it’s a good deal for good food.” The idea of the trusty neighborhood farm, which most Americans are a generation or two removed from, is at least as important to the arrangement as current political trends.

“In addition to taking away the middleman [of market distribution],” Loehr says, “we’re cutting out the alienation of supermarket culture.”

But even if participants aren’t always guided into the program by their political motivations, there is something implicitly political about buying into a collective food source that stands in stark opposition to the well-documented economic and ecological ills of factory farming.

“It’s all part of an alternative path of development on the community level,” Torpey says, which stresses self-sufficiency and personal agency through cooperation and the free exchange of ideas. In addition to the farming operation, GCF serves as a gathering place, workshop, and educational center. Loehr, Torpey, and Heintz share the farmhouse with three others, two of whom are in the process of launching a low-power radio station (WGXC) in Columbia and Greene counties, as well as collaborating with an indigenous farmworkers’ organization in Chiapas, Mexico on another community station. Twice a year, the group opens the farm to the public for a feast, party, and open skill-share, where volunteers present classes on everything from metalworking to beekeeping, bike repair, permaculture and media tools.

Loehr also has been working with an activist group pushing the Farm Worker Fair Labor Practices Act in the New York State Legislature, which would help protect the large minority populations that work on the state’s larger agricultural projects from oppressive laws left over from the Reagan era. As she sees it, activism and CSA farming are two sides of the same coin, in that they aim to fix the food system from two different angles.

“I think CSA is a great model for reestablishing and bolstering the local economy,” Torpey says, “but if we’re talking about CSA significantly replacing agribusiness, we need to think about ways to grow a significant amount of calories [grains, meat, dairy, etc.] in a community-finance system.” Vegetables, he says, have been an easy place for most people to start because of a tradition of consumers searching for quality produce, but it’s going to take some time for those same consumer instincts to permeate the entire food pyramid.

Already, though, people have begun applying the formula to fisheries, dairy farms, livestock operations, biodiesel breweries, even fiber cultivation and textile production.

“People are taking it in all different directions,” says Torpey, as neighbors come and go from the Germantown general store, exchanging pleasantries with the two young farmers. “Even just being a functioning example of the concept and being able to tell people what I do, how I make my living, is a super powerful tool in order to get that idea out there.”


Indulge in a slice: Bam Lynch and Lynn Beaumont of Cheesecake Machismo.

Photo: Joe Putrock

The Chosen Ones

“People always ask, ‘How did you come up with cheesecake?’ ” says Bam Lynch. It’s a calm Monday afternoon inside Cheesecake Machismo, downtime for Lynch and his partner, Lynn Beaumont. They’re coming off a crazy rush. Last week the two of them had to bake more than 100 cakes to get ready for their booth at LarkFest, fill an order for a wedding and meet their regular crush of restaurant orders. Plus, there was the regular crowd of customers—state workers, Lark Streeters, and anyone else in the Capital Region looking for a perfect slice of cheesecake.

“It’s a funny story,” Lynch continues about how the duo got into this game. “Years ago, our friend Rebecca was opening Viva Lark Vegas. There was a party, so we brought a cake.” It was a huge hit. One of the owners of Mama Rosa’s was there, and asked if they would start making the desserts for the restaurant. They said sure.

In a matter of weeks, they say, Savannah’s, DeJohn’s and others had come calling.

“People would ask us to make them a cake,” Lynch says, “so we just kept doing that.”

Lynch was working a full-time gig at a tattoo shop. He’d come home at 10 at night, and bake cheesecakes until three in the morning. Beaumont was working three shifts bartending at Bombers Burrito Bar, and would spend her days working to fill the increasing demand for their cheesecakes.

That went on for about four years.

“I was like, we gotta do one thing or another,” recalls Lynch. “I either gotta quit the tattoo shop or I gotta quit making cheesecakes. So I quit the tattoo shop.” They found a little storefront next to El Mariachi on Hamilton Street that they could afford, and made the jump. “I think I had like a $1.68 in my bank account. What a crazy decision to make.”

Crazy, but not too crazy. Neither Lynch nor Beaumont were strangers to the restaurant biz. In fact, Beaumont is one of the original owners of Bombers, and Lynch had worked as the head cook at that Lark Street institution for about four years in its early days.

“We didn’t choose cheesecake,” Lynch says. “It chose us.”

They have been at their Hamilton Street location for about three years now. It’s a fun little neighborhood shop, practically hidden among the row houses. Inside, they have decorated the space with works by local artists, including Dwell and One Unit, Bob Gullie, Kevin Bruce and others, and with kitschy knickknacks, like the cross-dressing Prince Adam (aka He-Man) figurine and a Hooker Convention poster. Their sign out front is almost unnoticeable. They don’t advertise, and they don’t solicit accounts. In fact, they say, most of their neighbors are usually surprised when they discover them.

“And then it’s like their secret,” Beaumont says. “They bring their friends, and then it is their secret, too.”

A lot of their customers are out-of-towners who have sought them out thanks to glowing Web reviews. People have come from all over, the say, to indulge in a $5 slice, or to pick up a whole cake. “We had a lady who wanted to fly a cake to Japan,” Lynch says, which was finally decided to be a technical impossibility. “But my favorite is when people come up here from Brooklyn, ’cause that’s the motherland.”

In the past three years, they have created more than 230 different flavors, from the far-out Tandoori (fresh lime juice, coconut milk, fresh ginger and tandoori spices) and Ancho Chile cheesecakes, to the classical. Some of their best-sellers: Raspberry Lucille (named after the busty, sudsy temptress from Cool Hand Luke), which is flavored with black raspberry chambord; Tiger Stripes, swirls of Kahlúa and caramel; and the PB&J, a caramel cheesecake topped with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of black raspberry preserves.

“We’ll suggest it to people, and they’ll be like, I don’t know, I don’t think I could eat that. But then they finally get it, and the next day, we’ll hear them scratching on the windows,” Lynch says.

The Blood Orange Martini was made to complement Café Madison’s house drink, and the Blackberry Margarita was created for their neighbor El Mariachi. Even their friends get worked into the creative process: The Chocolate Chip Fasciana is an ode to local artist Chip Fasciana, and the Biscotti Mac is named after musician Scotty Mac.

“One of our favorites was when that whole Spitzer thing broke out,” Lynch says. “We did a cake called Spitzer’s Number Nine Big Apple Tart. It was a boysenberry lemon cheesecake with apples. We had people coming in from his office to get it.”

“We keep making up new cakes ’cause that’s the fun part of it. The other day we made a peanut butter brownie, and that was pretty awesome,” he says.

Lynch figures they have made about 10,000 cakes in the past four years. Beaumont puts that number even higher. An impressive output considering that they have done it by themselves, one batch at a time, with only fresh ingredients, hand-cutting and decorating each cake, each recipe safely stored only in Lynch’s brain.

Last year, the duo bought a new home for their business up the hill on Hamilton, in the building where Mezzo Marketplace & Eatery used to be, and they plan to move in after a few repairs, like a leaky roof, are completed. The goal is to start simple, by adding a selection of soups and salads to their current menu of cakes. “The same idea,” Beaumont says, “really good, fresh comfort food.”

“And there will be room for at least one pinball machine, if not two,” she adds.

So, what are their favorite cheesecake creations? Lynch says that his is the Caramel Apple. Beaumont wavers between the Spunky Monkey and Blueberry Waffle.

“I am allowed to, one day, smash her face into a blueberry cake batter,” Lynch says. “She says that she will not be mad at me. One day, I’ll do it.”


Photo: B.A. Nilsson

Wheels of Fortune

Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. has quietly developed a national niche in cheesemaking

By B.A. Nilsson

When tasting cheese, I don’t usually ruminate on grass. And nothing in the camembert would bring that to mind except for my recent visit to its source: the Old Chatham Sheepherding Co., a picture-book farm in Columbia County that’s home to a couple hundred sheep and produces cheese sensational enough to enjoy a nationwide following.

The wedge itself is beautiful: its whitewash-colored rind scored with a crisscross of rack marks, its interior paste as soft as a flan. During my tour of the farm I saw hundreds of squares and wheels of camembert in various stages of production, but it all begins out in the field where an untroubled herd luxuriates in the grass.

A mixture of milk goes into the cheese. What’s not from the sheep is BGH-free milk and cream from a neighbor’s cows, animals raised in a similarly benevolent fashion. Is this what’s making my mouth so happy, as I slice another thin, sticky slice from the wedge and savor the buttery meltiness of it? This may not have the complexity of the best French camemberts, but it more than makes up for it with a focused intensity of flavor that suggests a richness beyond butter.

Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. was a dream of Tom and Nancy Clark, who transplanted from the Manhattan suburbs in 1994 in order to begin producing cheese from their herd of East Friesian purebred and crossbred ewes. A year later they opened what would become a very renowned restaurant, which ran under the talented hand of Larry Forgione protégé Melissa Kelly. She left in 1999 to open her own place, and the Clarks closed the restaurant, a move still lamented by area gourmands. But, as sales manager Shaleena Bridgham explains, “They weren’t going to take a Relais & Châteaux-level restaurant and put a second-best chef in here. And they were looking for a less hands-on way of life. The restaurant ended on a high note, and they have no regrets.”

Cheese was always a feature of the menu, and, as artisan cheese continues its fine-dining comeback in this country, Old Chatham Sheepherding’s brand is appearing on menus across the country—more than 300 of them, in fact.

The camembert is always a favorite. Among its many prizes are inclusion in a Wine Spectator magazine “100 Great Cheeses” spread a few years ago and a Grand Champion award in the 2001 United States Championship Cheese Contest.

Blue cheese has always had its place on the American table. Unfortunately, for too long, that place has been in bad salad dressing. I unwrap a wedge of Ewe’s Blue and marvel at the contrasting colors of blue and white as its veins of bright mold scurry across the surface. Good crackers sit nearby, but I’m too impatient. I take a sliver off the knife and let it rest on my tongue for a moment to let the pungent flavors open up. Again, it’s a friendly cheese, its sharpness no more offensive than a Don Rickles insult.

They used to make more cheeses back in the day, but a careful sense of business priorities has led the Clarks to concentrate their efforts on these two types and a line of sheep’s-milk yogurt. The herd is smaller, but the processing and machinery are more up-to-date. “When the economy tanked,” says Bridgham, “we were glad we streamlined.”

It’s a very hands-on operation. Sheep are milked in a row of stanchions much like any dairy operation. They obligingly take their places alongside one another and toss a curious glance in my direction. Milk is inspected, tested, and easily discarded if there’s any doubt. Then the cheesemaking begins.

Camembert squares will be poured soon. The rennet-enhanced milk is setting up, and only when it reaches the desired firmness will cheesemaker Kyle Monahan ladle it into its forms. As we wait, he describes the two varieties of blue cheese he makes, both of which come from sheep’s milk only.

“Ewe’s Blue is fully pasteurized and reaches a temperature of 145 degrees. Shaker Blue, which we introduced two years ago, is made from unpasteurized milk, which is brought only to a temperature of 130 degrees. That 15 degrees makes a lot of difference.”

Indeed it does. The Shaker Blue is my third sample, and it’s noticeably creamier than the other. While they share the pungency and gaminess you expect from the best blues, Shaker takes a little more time to reveal itself, and surprises you with a longer finish. Were I to mix it into a traditional greens dressing, the culinary gods would certainly consign me to a hereafter indistinguishable from an Olive Garden. But I’m sure those same gods are smiling as I crumble the Shaker Blue onto a salad of baby greens, with only a light application of oil and vinegar besides. I join the cheese with a rare-grilled sirloin for another classic combo of flavors.

There’s no question that eating cheese as good as this provokes a pleasant sense of comfort. I’m guessing that producing such cheese is good for the morale as well. The farm is not a much-visited place, although you’re encouraged to stop by, look around, and buy some cheese. Everyone I meet, including the soft-spoken Tom Clark, is happy to strike up a conversation.

When the ladling begins, it looks like a deadly repetitious job. But Monahan remains attentive and excited, recalling this or that piece of history or cheesemaking lore. When he’s finished, the camembert squares will be turned out onto racks, and turned frequently while in storage. Each one, when finally sliced open, will reveal yet another glimpse of culinary joy.

Local Farm and Food Directory

Bakeries

Bella-Napoli Italian Bakery, 672 New Loudon Road, Latham, 273-0142; 721 River St., Troy, 274-8277. Assorted breads, cookies, pastries.

Berkshire Mt. Bakery, Inc., 367 Park St., Housatonic, Mass., (413) 274-3412. Breads, pizza crusts, cookies, toast crackers.

Bountiful Bread, Stuyvestant Plaza, Albany, 438-3540. Variety of breads.

Bread Alone, Route 28, Boiceville, 769-3328. Variety of organic, wood-fired breads.

Cookie Factory, 520 Congress St., Troy, 268-1060. Cookies, cakes, pastries.

Perreca’s Bakery, 33 N. Jay St., Schenectady, 372-1875. Variety of breads, cakes and baked goods.

Perrotta’s Bakery, 766 Pawling Ave., Troy, 283-4711. Variety of baked goods, specialty cookies.

Prinzo’s Bakery, 344 Delaware Ave., Albany, 463-4904.

Rock Hill Bakehouse, 21 Saratoga Road, Gansevoort, 743-1660. Variety of breads.

Schuyler Bakery, 637 3rd Ave., Watervliet, 273-0142. Breads, cakes, baked goods.

Villa Italia, 226 Broadway, Schenectady, 355-1144. Italian baked goods.

 

Brewers and Wineries

Barrington Brewery, 420 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, Mass., (413) 528-8282, barringtonbrewery.net. Variety of handcrafted beers including Berkshire Blonde, Barrington Brown and seasonal selections.

Brookview Station Winery, Goold Orchards,1297 Brookview Station Road, Castleton, 732-7317, 1-88-TO-UNCORK, brookviewstationwinery.com. Semi-sweet/semi-dry and dessert fruit wines, events and wine tastings.

Brown’s Brewing Co., 417 River Street, 273-2337, brownsbrewing.com. More than 25 different styles of ales ales and lagers brewed on the premises and available in bottles.

CH Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station, 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany, 447-9000, evansale.com. Featuring the award-winning Kick Ass Brown, plus cherry brown ale, imperial stout, Bavarian-style wheat beer, Belgian-style double with boysenberries and sour cherries, more.

Davidson Brothers, 184 Glen St., Glens Falls, 743-0354. Beer and ale brewed on- and off-site includes IPA, Irish red ale, British brown ale Scotch ale, oatmeal stout and more.

 

CSAs

CSG at St. Josephs Center, 495 Maple Lane, Valatie, 784-9481. Vegetables.

Denison Farm, 333 Buttermilk Falls Road, Schaghticoke, 664-2510. Vegetables.

Eight Mile Creek Farm, 40 Johnny Cake Hill Road, Westerloo, 966-5468. Vegetables, herbs, chicken, eggs, fruit, beef, hay, pasture.

The Farm at Miller’s Crossing, 81 Roxbury Road, Hudson, 851-2331. Vegetables, grass-fed beef.

Germantown Community Farm, 4872 State Route 9G, Germantown, 537-6139. Vegetables.

Hand Hollow Farm, 402 Hand Hollow Road, East Chatham, 794-0176. Vegetables, eggs, cut flowers, herbs.

Hawthorne Valley Farm, 327 County Route 21C, Ghent, 672-4465. Vegetables, raw milk, cheese, yogurt, pork, beef, baked goods, sauerkraut.

Homestead Farm, 3842 State Route 2, Cropseyville, 279-9867. Vegetables.

Little Seed Gardens, Chatham, 392-0063. Vegetables, herbs, flowers, sod, cover crops.

Longfield Farm, 1093 Township Road, Altamont, 861-5280. Wool (fleece and rovings), lamb, artisan breads.

Monkshood Nursery, 2336 County Route 21, Valatie, 758-7958. Vegetables, herbs, eggs, winter greens.

Morning View Farms, LLC., 966 Goode Road, Ballston Spa, 885-6693. Vegetables, herbs.

Old Scidmore Farm, Saratoga Springs, 584-7808. Vegetables, herbs, edible flowers.

Patroon Land Farm, 153 Ketchum Road, Voorheesville, 339-5726. Vegetables, herbs, melons.

Petersburgh Manor Farm, 69 Smith Road, Petersburgh, 658-9035. Vegetables, herbs, organic yarns, natural dye, free-range eggs.

Red Oak Farm of Stuyvesant, 1921 Route 9, Stuyvesant, 799-2052. Vegetables, herbs, fruit, dried teas.

Roxbury Farm, LLC., 2501 Route 9H, Kinderhook, 758-8558. Vegetables.

Serendipity Farms and Country Store, Inc., 109 Dusbach Road, Clifton Park, 383-0690. Vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, free-range chickens, eggs.

Thompson-Finch Farm, 750 Wiltsie Bridge Road, Ancram, 329-7578. Vegetables, berries, fruit, sod, triticale, hay.

Threshold Farm, 16 Summit St., Philmont, 672-5509. Vegetables.

Windflower Farm, 585 Meeting House Road, Valley Falls, 692-3188. Vegetables.

Wing Road Farm, 270 Wing Road, Greenfield, 584-5466. Vegetables, herbs, eggs, mushrooms, honey, bread.

 

Dairy

 

Adirondack Creamery, Kingston, (917) 287-1006. Multiple varieties of ice cream.

Berle Farm, Hoosick, 686-3249. Raw, organic chevre made with vegetarian rennet.

Coach Farm, Pine Plains, 398-5325. Goat yogurt and cheeses.

Cooper’s Ark Farm, Schoharie, 295-7662. Cage-, hormone- and antibiotic-free eggs.

Cornell Farms, Hoosick Falls, 732-7452. Cage-, hormone- and antibiotic-free eggs.

Dancing Ewe, Granville, dancingewe.com. Fresh ricotta, peccorino staginato.

Evans’ Farmhouse, Norwich, (607) 334-5339. Organic cow’s milk.

Feather Ridge, Elizaville, (845) 756-2381. Cage, hormone- antibiotic-free eggs.

Hawthorne Valley, Ghent, 672-7281. Organic and biodynamic cow’s milk yogurts and cheeses.

Meadowbrook Farm, Clarksville, 768-2451. Cow’s milk and cream (in glass bottles, delivery available), rBGH-free.

Nettle Meadow, Warrensburg, 623-3372. Award-winning goat cheese and new farmstead sheep, goat and cow mixed-milk cheeses.

Old Chatham Sheephearding Co., 794-7733. Old Chatham. Sheep’s milk camembert and blue cheeses, yogurts and spreads.

Palatine Valley Dairy, Palatine Bridge, 993-3194. Various cheddar cheeses, and cheese curds.

Ronybrook Farm, Ancramdale, 398-6455. Ice cream, yogurt drinks and butter.

Sprout Creek Farm, Poughkeepsie, (845) 485-8423. Raw cow’s milk cheeses such as ouray, toussaint and barat cheeses.

Zimmer’s Farm, Gallupville, 872-9287. Cage- hormone- and antibiotic-free eggs.

 

Farmers Markets

Altamont Farmers Market, Orsini Park, Altamont Train Station, Main Street and Maple Avenue, Altamont. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Ballston Spa Farmers Market, Wiswall Park, Ballston Spa. Thursdays, 3-6 PM; Saturdays, 9 AM-noon.

Berkshire Area Farmers Market, Berkshire Mall, Old State Road and Route 8, Lanesborough, Mass. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8 AM-2 PM.

Cambridge Farmers Market, Cambridge Freight Yard, Cambridge. Sundays, 10 AM-2 PM.

Capital District Farmers Market, Broadway (Route 32) and Route 378, Menands. Saturdays, 8 AM-1 PM; Sundays noon to 4 PM.

Central Avenue Farmers Market, 339 Central Ave. (The Linda/WAMC parking lot), Albany. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Clifton Park/Saratoga Farmers Market, St. George’s Church, Route 146 at Maxwell Drive, Clifton Park. Thursdays, 2-5 PM.

Cohoes Farmers Market, parking lot next to Smith’s Restaurant, Cohoes. Fridays, 4-7 PM.

Coeymans Landing Farmers Market, Coeymans Landing Park, Coeymans. Thursdays, 4-7 PM.

The Crossings Farmers Market, 580 Albany Shaker Road, Colonie. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Delaware Area Neighborhood Farmers Market, St. James Church, 391 Delaware Ave., Albany. Tuesdays, 4-7 PM.

Delmar Farmers Market, First United Methodist Church, 428 Kenwood Ave., Delmar. Tuesdays, 2:30-6 PM.

Delmar Saturday Farmers Market, Bethlehem Central Middle School, 322 Kenwood Ave., Delmar. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Downtown Albany Farmers Market, Tricentennial Park, Broadway, Albany. Thursdays, 11 AM-2 PM.

Empire State Plaza Farmers Market, North end of ESP opposite the Capitol, Albany. Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 AM-2 PM.

Fort Edward Farmers Market, Broadway Bowl parking lot, Route 4, Fort Edward. Fridays, 10 AM-1 PM.

Great Barrington Farmers Market, Railroad Station, Taconic Avenue and Castle Street, Great Barrington, Mass. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Middle Granville Farmers Market, Middle Granville Road, Granville. Mondays, 2-5 PM.

New Baltimore Farmers Market, Wyche Park, New Baltimore Road, New Baltimore. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

North Adams Farmers Market, St. Anthony’s parking lot, across from MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass. Saturdays, 8 AM-1 PM.

Pakatakan Farmers Market, Historic Round Barn, Route 30 (five miles north of Arkville), Halcottsville. Saturdays, 9 AM-2 PM.

Queensbury Farmers Market, Elks Lodge, 23 Cronin Road, Queensbury. Mondays, 3-6 PM.

Rensselaer County Farmers Market, Twin Town Little League Park, Williams Road, North Greenbush. Thursdays, 2:30-5:30 PM.

Salem Farmers Market, Salem Village Park, Salem. Saturdays, 10 AM-1 PM.

Saratoga Farmers Market, High Rock Park, High Rock Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM; Wednesdays, 3-6 PM.

Schenectady Farmers Market, in front of City Hall, Jay Street, Schenectady. Thursdays, 9 AM-2 PM.

Schenectady Greenmarket, around City Hall, Jay Street, Schenectady. Sundays, 10 AM-2 PM.

Troy Little Italy Farmers Market, Hill Street (between Washington and Liberty streets), Troy. Wednesdays, 3-6 PM.

Troy Neighborhood Farmers Market, Monument Square, Troy. Wednesdays, 10 AM-2 PM.

Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, Riverfront Park, River Street, Troy. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Upper Union Street Farmers Market, Woodlawn Avenue parking lot, Schenectady. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM.

Warrensburgh Riverfront Farmers Market, River Street, Warrensburgh. Fridays, 3-6 PM.

Waterford Farmers Market, Waterford Visitors Center, One Tugboat Alley, Waterford. Sundays, 9 AM-2 PM.

Watervliet Farmers Market, 13th Street and 2nd Avenue, Watervliet. Tuesdays, 2-5 PM.

 

Food Co-Ops

Berkshire Co-Op Market, 42 Bridge St., Great Barrington, Mass., (413) 528-9697, berkshirecoop.org. Member-owned natural-foods store whose mission is to cultivate a sustainable local economy and build community.

Hilltown Market and Natural Foods Co-Op, 26 County Route 353, Rensselaerville, 797-3144, hilltownmarket.com.

Honest Weight Food Co-Op, 484 Central Avenue, Albany, 482-2667, hwfc.com. A member-owned and -operated consumer cooperative committed to providing the community with affordable, high-quality natural foods and products. Local and organic produce, cheeses, locally raised meats, bulk foods, natural and organic groceries, fair-trade coffee, specialty foods, herbs and spices, more.

Troy Community Food Cooperative, Inc., 77-81 Congress St., Troy, 424-1131, troyfoodcoop.com. Committed to providing fresh food downtown.

 

Meat

Beaverbrook Farm, 46 Stanton Hill Road, Salem, 854-9805. Roasting Geese

Foster Farm, 220 W. River Road, Schulyerville, 695-3058. Pasture-raised sheep and poultry.

Gordon Farms, 144 Beebe Road, Berne, 872-2602, gordon-farms.com. Grass-fed beef, all cuts.

Grazin’ Angus Acres, 125 Bartel Road, Ghent, 392-3620, grazinangusacres.com. Grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free Black Angus beef.

King Crest Farm, 831 Grooms Road, Rexford, 371-5069. Various cuts of beef and pork.

Maple Hill Farm, 110 Ashdown Road, Ballston Lake, 399-4097. Hormone-free, grain-fed beef from polled Hereford cattle.

Saddled Duck Deer, 14 Whites Beach Road, Ballston Lake, 399-4516. Farm-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free venison and rabbit.

Sweet Tree Farm, 138 Karker Road, Carlisle, 234-7422, sweettreefarmny.com. Various cuts of grass fed beef, pork and chicken.

Whitney Farms, 3820 Fowlerville Road, Avon, (585) 690-0784. Certified organic pork and beef, all cuts.

 

Orchards & Farm Markets

Altamont Orchards, 6654 Dunnsville Rd., Altamont, 861-6515, altamont orchards.com. Apples, cider, cider donuts, pies and specialty items; pick-your-own on weekends.

Bowman Orchards, 141 Sugar Hill Road, Rexford, 371-2042, bowman orchards.com. Apples, berries, pumpkins, peaches, pears, sweet corn, soups, syrups, fruit butters, donuts.

Gade Farm, 2479 Western Ave., Guilderland, 869-8019, gadefarm.com. Various seasonal vegetables and fruits, baked goods, dairy, jams and jellies, salsas, soups and syrups.

Golden Harvest Farms, 3074 Route 9, Valatie, 578-7683, goldenharvest farms.com. Open-air fresh farm market, pick-your-own apples weekends Sept.-Oct.

Goold Orchards, 1297 Brookview Station Road, Castleton, 732-7317, goold.com. Pick-your-own apples and berries, produce, cider and cider donuts, fresh-baked and frozen pies, winery.

Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Road, Altamont, 765-2956, indian ladderfarms.com. Apples, pumpkins, berries, cider and cider donuts, bakery, café, family activities, call (866) 640-PICK for pick-your-own details.

Knight Orchards, 325 Goode St., Burnt Hills, 399-5174, knight orchars.com. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, vegetables, cider, pies, syrup, honey.

Kristy’s Barn, 2385 Brookview Road, Castleton, 477-6250. Local produce, pick-your-own apples.

Liberty Ridge Farm, 29 Bevis Road, Schaghticoke, 664-1515, libertyridge farmny.com. Farm market, pumpkins, pick-your-own berries, café, family activities.

Lindsey’s Country Store, Orchard: 267 Sugar Hill Road, Rexford, 371-5785; Store: 1537 Route 9, Clifton Park, 371-3100. Apples, pears, plums, sweet corn, baked goods, cider, farm-raised hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and pork, pick-your-own apples Sept.-Oct.

Samascott Orchards, 5 Sunset Ave., Kinderhook, 758-7224, samascott.com. Wide variety of pick-your-own produce, full farm market with apples, cider, jams and produce.

Schoharie Valley Farms, Carrot Barn, Route 30, Schoharie, scoharievalley farms.com. Fresh-picked seasonal vegetables, non-seasonal fruits and vegetables, greenhouse, pumpkins, pies and fixings.

Yonder Farms Cider Hill & Bake Shop, 4301 Albany St., Albany, 456-6823. Apples, pumpkins, produce, cider, cider donuts, baked goods.

 

Produce

Black Horse Farms, Route 9W, Coxsackie, 943-9324. Seasonal cut flowers and vegetables.

Braley’s Farm, 1280 State Route 203, Chatham, 392-9535. Seasonal produce and herbs.

Bulich Mushroom Co., 64 Green Point Road, Catskill, 943-3089. Untreated crimini, shiitake and button mushrooms.

Country Garden, 3712 Consaul Road, Schenectady, 346-1996. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, pick-your-own berry patches.

Davenport Farm, 3411 US Highway 209, (845) 687-0051. Stone Ridge. Non-GMO sweet corn.

Engle’s Farm Market, 681 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, 869-5653. Seasonal produce, pick-your-own tomatoes.

Freebird Farm, 497 McKinley Road, Palantine Bridge, 673-8822. Garlic.

Fox Creek Farm, Fox Creek Farm Road, Schoharie, 873-2375. Organic garlic.

George’s Farm, 240 Wade Road, Latham, 785-4210. Various seasonal vegetables.

Glenville Berry Farm, 653 Swaggertown Road, Scotia, 399-3549. Vegetables, berries and melons.

Krug Farm, 65 Everett Road, Albany, 482-5406. Greenhouse products, sweet corn and vegetables.

Lansing’s Farm Market, 204 Lishakill Road, Colonie, 464-0889. Seasonal produce, pikc-your-own vegetables and berries.

Migliorelli Farm, Freeborn Lane, Tivoli, (845) 757-3276. Various seasonal vegetables.

Oreshan Farms, Route 9, Latham, 785-0217. Seasonal vegetables, sweet corn.

Our Family’s Harvest, 245 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands, 768-2344. Retail outlet for Stanton’s Feura Farms seasonal produce.

Paper Dragon Farms, 4683 Route 9, Corinth, 893-0726. Organic vegetables, tomatoes and pumpkins.

Pigliavento Farm, 3535 E. Lydius St., Schenectady, 356-9188. Seasonal Produce.

Slack Hollow Farm, 177 Gilchrist Road, Argyle, 638-6125. Organic seasonal vegetables.

Staron Farm, 4 Merwin Road, Valatie, 392-2920. Potatoes.

Taliaferro Farm, 187 Plains Road, New Paltz, 256-1592. Seasonal Produce.

 

Specialty

Adirondack Maple Farm, 490 Persse Road, Fonda, 853-4022. Maple syrup and cream.

Baker’s Daughter, Albany. Gourmet, hand-made truffles, brownies, and macaroons.

Beth’s Farm Kitchen, 504 County Route 46, Stuyvesant Falls, 799-3414. Variety of jams and chutneys.

Beverly’s Specialty Foods, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-2755. Variety of sweetened and unsweetened relishes and apple butters.

Buddhapesto, Bearsville, 239-6593. Fresh basil pesto.

Big Bear, Waterford. Hot Sauce.

Casa Visco, 819 Kings Road, Rotterdam, (888) 607-2823. Variety of pasta sauces.

Champlain Valley Milling, 6679 Main St., Westport, 962-4711. Wide variety of organic flours.

Cheesecake Machismo, 293 Hamilton St., Albany, 427-7019. A repertory of 200-plus varities of cheesecake, with a half-dozen or so available in the store at any given time (whole or by the slice). Special orders.

Community Harvest, Cobleskill. Bruschettas and fine jams.

Dutch Desserts, Inc., 30 Sunset Ave., Kinderhook, 758-8820. Dutch tarts, fruit and chocolate.

Glendale Farm, 4590 State Route 414, Burdett, (607) 546-8479. Organic, Kosher grape juice

Hawthorne Valley Farms, 327 County Route 21C, Ghent, 672-4465. Lacto-fermented, biodynamic and organic vegetables and krauts.

Hudson Valley Homestead, 120 Sheldon Lane, Craryville, 851-7336. Vinegars, condiments and dressings.

Liquid Assets, Troy. Organic, Fair-Trade coffee beans.

Lloyd Spear, 1309 Rugby Road, Schenectady, 370-4989. Raw and local honeys.

Lucky Chocolates, 1534 Route 212, Saugerties, (845) 246-7337. Fairly traded and organic chocolates and chocolate bars.

McEnroe Organic Farm Assoc., 194 Coleman Station Road, Millerton, 789-3252. Organic potting soils and compost.

Miss Sydney’s, Feura Bush, 768-8113. Indian chutney.

Moxie’s, 469 Blue Factory Road, Averill Park, 283-4896. Distilled water.

Nut Butters Organic Nectar, Woodstock. Organic, raw olive oil and agave nectar.

Our Daily Nuts, 340 Delaware Ave., Delmar, 368-7507. Specialty nuts.

Organic Nectars, Woodstock, (845) 246-0506. Multiple varieties of raw, vegan gelato, Italian ice, and sorbettos.

Partrige Run Honey, 484 Ravine Road, Berne, 786-3691. Seasonal honeys.

Rulison Honey Farm, 237 Shellstone Road, Amsterdam, 843-1619. Honey.

Saratoga Peanut Butter Co., Saratoga Springs, (888) 967-3268. Organic peanut butter blends.

Saratoga Salsa Company, 398 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 580-0792. Variety of Salsas.

Saratoga Water, 11 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs, 584-6363. Spring-sourced sparkling and non-sparkling bottled waters.

Schoharie Valley Farms, Route 30, Schoharie, 295-7139. Straw, Mums, potted bulbs, occasional vegetables.

Tannas, 52 Pioneer St., Cooperstown, (607) 547-7272. Various chutneys, salts and spices.

Three Flowers, Cortland. Granolas

Tierra Farms, 2424 State Route 203, Kinderhook, 392-8300. Various organic nuts, nut butters, dried fruits, granolas, and trail mixes.

Vegan Creations, 1522 Sunset Road, Castleton, 479-5112. Seitan blocks and slices, vegan baked goods.

Wa Ja Shan, 4 Sand Station Road, Middletown, (845) 343-1505. Soy sauce.


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