With the arrival of snow before Thanksgiving it feels as if we’re on a very quick transition from fall into winter. It was a very busy season on the land for all the farmers at each of the projects, and an equally busy and productive time for the NEFA team. Over the next several weeks please watch your inboxes for NEFA’s comprehensive 5-year report. Meantime, some project-by-project updates:
AT ARROWHEAD FARM, KERHONKSON NY
There has been a flurry of activity as the team worked to prepare and transition the land for dynamic group of farmers. In addition to the land preparation we have nearly completed construction on a new goat dairy for Acorn Hill Farm. The challenge of integrating the design of this new green building into the existing central barn was led by our design partners ChoShields (photo, top of page). The capacity of this new space will allow for the production of lots more delicious goat cheese. Come for a visit next spring. At present we have signed leases or are in the process of signing leases with the following farmers and farm businesses:
Acorn Hill Farm, Joyce Henion & Aleah Rose
Acorn Hill Farm is a small family farm and micro-creamery in the Mid-Hudson Valley/Catskill region of New York that produces a variety of goat milk cheeses, goat milk fudge and goat milk soaps using the milk of organically managed dairy goats. Joyce and Aleah milk their herd of about 35 Nubian goats twice a day year round. They care for their goats using natural methods, love and respect.
Grazing Farm, Kurt Frederick & Asia Miller
Grazing Farm will raise high quality organic grass-fed pasture laying hens, cattle and Katahdin sheep through an intensive rotational grazing system. Kurt and Asia’s priority is bringing communities together through a healthier, safer food alternatives and regenerating the land.
Hudson Soil Company, Eileen Banyra
Eileen Banyra founded Hudson Soil Company to distribute Community Compost Company’s compost. Eileen produces finished compost on farms in the Hudson Valley. Their mission is to restore and sustain soil health by producing and selling quality compost.
Hudson Valley Seed Company, Ken Greene & Doug Miller
Ken Greene and Doug Miller founded Hudson Valley Seed Company in 2008. They are excited to be joining in this project and accessing top-quality soils on land around the corner from their home and current base of operations.
Long Season Farm, Erin Enouen & Sam Zurofsky
Long Season Farm is a small, diversified organic vegetable farm focusing on four-season production of high quality vegetables for farmers markets, wholesale, and winter CSA in Ulster County, New York. “During our year-long search for additional farmland, we were not finding much when we heard about the NEFA project at Arrowhead Farm. It is only one mile from our home farm, and matched all of the needs we had outlined for land expansion. We look forward to continuing to grow into the new space.”
Treadlight Farm, Irene Berkowitz & Matt Dell
Irene and Matt Dell started Treadlight Farm in 2015 in Bovina, New York, to grow specialty cut flowers and ornamentals. They, along with nature, curate the crop selection: Irene and Matt grow what they think is beautiful, and nature whittles that down to what grows well in the cool seasons and rocky soil. Together, they have combined farming experiences of more than a decade.
Three Sisters Farm, Roberto Rodriguez
Roberto Rodriguez has 20 years’ experience growing organically and plans to lease land for pick-your-own strawberries, varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Tree Juice, Ryan Annets & Jake Fairburn
Ryan Annets and Jake Fairburn tap around 5,000 maple trees on the region’s rolling hills each year. Miles of tubing gravity feed the sap to the resurrected family sugar house, where now a wood-fire evaporator turns sap into the sweet stuff.
AT COPAKE AGRICULTURAL CENTER, COPAKE NY
We are thrilled to share that despite the transitions that come with being our first center, Copake is now 90% leased for 2019. One of the original leaseholders, MX Morningstar Farm, is buying a property nearby and shifting operations there in 2019.
“Being given a chance to purchase this farm would not have been possible without the opportunity to lease land and build our business in Copake,” said Max Morningstar and Maria Zordan of MX Morningstar. “Our time here has been well spent building a loving and close-knit community, creating a business and farmstead from scratch, and most importantly, growing good food.”
NEFA is delighted that Jess Camp, former manager at MX Morningstar Farm, is taking over most of Max’s fields, farm house and infrastructure. Deep roots is leasing the remainder.
The farmer-florist team at Tiny Hearts, after an exceptional first year with their new shop and showroom in nearby Hillsdale helping spread the word, is expanding not only with a new baby but on their land base from 12 to 22 acres.
AT ESOPUS AGRICULTRAL CENTER, KINGSTON NY
The frenetic pace of activity at Old Chambers Farm continued throughout the summer and fall. The field that was cleaned up and disced this Spring was planted in cover crops and then with a range of beautiful flowers and herbs. It proved quite an attractive place for monarchs as well (above).
In spite of the extremely wet summer and early fall at Alewife Farm, Tyler and his crew had another successful season growing and harvesting tons on organic produce for sale at Union Square and other markets in the New York City. We are continuing discussions this winter to explore other infrastructure updates that will further support the growth and expansion of Alewife Farm.
Seed Song Farm
Another bright spot is the continued expansion of educational programing and on-farm experiential activities led by Creek Iverson and Seed Song Farm and the non-profit Seed Song Farm Center. It has also been great to see to newly renovated old white farm house be the home base for so much positive activity. The energy and positive momentum generated by Creek and his crew has helped further establish Old Chambers Farm as a vital part of the community of Kingston, with a strong focus on serving the underserved.
AT MONADNOCK AGRICULTURAL CENTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE
As MAC’s first season begins, three operations are working the farm. They include Hilltop Bottom Farm, MHF Sugaring and Tisané LLC, MAC’s vision is to enable multiple operators to work independently but collaborate when and where it is appropriate. The plan is to build additional green housing and restore a healthy and agricultural landscape.
MAC is protecting one of the region’s prime environmental resources by preserving the existing farm and encouraging new farming activities through the use of cluster development and purchase development rights.
Agroecology at MAC
Ecologist Jeffry Littleton of Moosewood Ecological LLC is completing an ecological inventory of the farm. Jeff works to align sustainable land uses and ecological components of the property with its surrounding landscape. He works with natural systems that support biological diversity with sustainable land use and ecological outreach through applied ecology.
UNITY AGRICULTURAL CENTER, UNITY, MAINE
After several attempts, this is our first foray into Maine in the creation of this vibrant biodynamic farm and craftwork community. One of the key focuses of this center is with providing opportunity to mid-coast Maine youth. Being engaged in agricultural and craftwork grounded in daily practical experience offers youth a positive vision for the future, one that can be life affirming, possibly even life changing. At Elllwell Farm (soon to be Unity Agricultural Center) now owned by Maine Farmland Trust, we will create opportunities for experiential learning for everyone involved when we share our work and accomplishments, our meals and festive times. We learn to approach our work life with determination, consistency and thoughtfulness.