2011-07-23 Register Star


Friends plus Bounty equals Festival

Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 1:00 am
By W. T. Eckert

Hudson-Catskill Papers

Hudson Valley Bounty and Friends of the Farmer will join together on July 30 for their first annual Friends of the Farmer Festival for Hudson Valley Food Lovers held at the Copake Country Club located at Copake Lake.

The event will feature everything from a “Taste of the Farm” farmer’s market and a “Farm Friendly Libations” tent with local brewers and local spirit tastings, to lessons on how to make “brunch” cocktails and a celebrity picnic table auction. The family friendly event will have kids’ tents, music and face painting as well.

Hudson Valley Bounty Program Director Kristin Roca said the Taste of the Hudson Valley Bounty event wanted to team up with The Friends of the Farmer instead of holding two competing events. “We met to talk about how we were going to work around the issue of two separate events,” Roca said, “and we decided that we should come together, making this our crown jewel of everything.”

Contributions to Friends of the Farmer Festival will be made by farms from around Duchess, Columbia, Orange and Greene counties. The event’s focus is on keeping the legacy and sustainability of farming alive through connecting farmers with restaurants. It will also give festival goers the opportunity to meet those that contribute to the Hudson Valley locavore movement: The farmers, growers, specialty food producers, chefs, brewers and more. Kinderhook Farm, Old Chatham Sheep Herding Company, Montgomery Place and Quattro’s Poultry and Game Farm are a few of local contributors.

The event is supported by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene counties for implementation in the region and will launch the Friends of the Farmer Scholarship, supporting the next generation of farmers. The scholarship will allow a Hudson Valley student the opportunity to continue studies in agricultural sciences to become a future farmer.

“This is a springboard to make next year larger with more contributors,” Roca said. “What’s great is that this will bring in the old guard, that have been on board with Columbia County Bounty, and the new guard of Hudson Valley Bounty and have them working together.”

Building on the momentum of Columbia County Bounty and its success is what Todd Erling said made this whole festival possible. Erling, the Executive Director  of the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Company, said that without the success of Columbia County Bounty, the Friends of the Farmer Festival wouldn’t have enjoyed the success it has.

“I personally support the belief that farms and fresh, healthy foods are critical and integral to a high quality of life,” Erling said. People in all fields of work, he said, rely on the farming industry. “Every one of us relies on a farmer three times a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s the point that we really want to drive home,” Erling said. “That’s the exclamation point on all this.”

Recognizing farms and locally produced food as important components of a healthy community is essential to Erling, both economically and nutritionally. He said that he was interested in seeing how the farming world and the restaurant world come together. “I’m looking forward to the local chefs preparing the high quality farm products from our area,” he said, adding that he expects a lot of support for the local farms from the community.

Roca said that while the dinner is being served and the adults may want to relax and continue with the tastings, there will be square dancing and music for the children to keep the party going. The entrance fee and the dinner fee can be purchased separately. Ten dollars of the fee will be automatically donated to the scholarship. The event will also offer free valet parking all day long.

Farmers and restaurants that are interested in participating in the festival can contact Kristin Roca at 518-392-9696 or kroca@hudsonvalleybounty.com.

To reach reporter  W. T. Eckert, call 518-828-1616, ext 2272, or e-mail beckert@registerstar.com To comment directly to this story, go to www.registerstar.com.

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