2014-04-01 Edible Hudson Valley



By Edible Hudson Valley

With more and more people participating in the celebration of our local food shed, we learn how multifaceted and complexly broad the local food system can be. Thankful for those who follow their passion, which helps shepherd us all toward a more healthful economy, environment and community at large, here we share your inspiration…winners chosen by you, the magazine’s readers who voted online last fall for your favorite food heroes. Edible Hudson Valley is honored to present our fifth annual Local Hero Awards to the leaders among us—the individuals and organizations whose commitment to their craft inspires us all.


Adams Fairacre Farms
Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Newburgh, Wappinger

With its roots as a roadside stand in Poughkeepsie, Adams Fairacre Farms has been a pillar in the local Hudson Valley food scene for nearly 100 years. Since the beginning, that farm stand’s growth has been in the service of their customers. Adams has kept pace over the years with the local food scene, responding to ever-changing social trends and satisfying needs of the community. Their offerings have continued to expand, now including everything from locally sourced produce, meat, dairy and thoughtfully curated imported delicacies to garden supplies and landscaping services. Not to mention the robust calendar of community activities: food shows and harvest fests, and free seminars on food and garden topics. It’s no wonder that humble farm stand eventually expanded to four Hudson Valley food emporiums.


Farm On! Foundation

The Farm On! Foundation gets behind the locavore mission by creating and funding programs, such as on-farm camps, that provide Hudson Valley students with opportunities in agricultural studies laced with inspiration for the entrepreneurial spirit. Education objectives also include creating awareness about our food choices and the importance of sourcing from the rich and vibrant agriculture of the Hudson Valley, which is exactly what happened last fall when foundation founder Tessa Edick, in partnership with Hudson Valley Fresh, made it possible for the Taconic Hills school system to purchase local milk within its limited budget allotment thanks to supplemental funding from the foundation. Farm On! Foundation’s annual “Friends of the Farmers” fund-raising event is the culmination and celebration of this focus when farmers and families, growers, producers, chefs, brewers and other stakeholders come together for a day in the country and a “Taste of the Farm.” The foundation’s enthusiastically cultivated awareness and education initiatives are destined to empower the Hudson Valley’s next generation to Farm On!


Derek Grout,
Harvest Spirits Farms Distillery
7430 Route 9, Valatie
518.253.5917 harvestspirits.com

We expect family farms to evolve over time—each generation leaving their mark with creativity and modern innovations. Derek Grout has brought innovation and diversity to his family’s farm in a most spirited way, with the introduction of fruit distillation. Golden Harvest Farms, when acquired by Grout’s grandparents, sold apples at the orchard’s farm stand. Now, 50 years later, as the first licensed farm distillery in the state, Harvest Spirits uses the overabundant fruit from the family’s apple orchard in the distillation of award-winning spirits such as Cornelius Applejack and Core Vodka. Grout honors his agricultural heritage and continues the preservation of the family’s farmland as he creatively “up-cycles” the orchard’s surplus yields. Now available at restaurants and liquor stores throughout New York, Harvest Spirits is giving some real spirit to the idea of drinking local and knowing your distiller.


Colin McGrath, cheesemaker,
Sprout Creek Farm
34 Lauer Road, Poughkeepsie
845.485.8438 sproutcreekfarm.org

Nothing expresses terroir of our region as vividly as local cheese, and resident cheesemaker Colin McGrath evokes an artist’s expression of that at Sprout Creek Farm. On 200 acres of Hudson Valley canvas (serving at once as a working farm, educational center and local market), McGrath’s artistry as applied to the farm’s resources—raw milk from grass fed cows and sheep—renders nearly a dozen varieties of award-winning cheeses. In spite of the farm’s yield of over 30 thousand pounds of cheese a year, McGrath’s product remains craft not commodity. While cheesemaking has been a component of human endeavor for thousands of years, the true art lies in the cheesemaker’s nuanced response to the ever-changing product of the farm, eliciting, as in McGrath’s case, a sublime union of nature and craft.


Samascott Orchards
5 Sunset Avenue, Kinderhook
518.758.7224 samascott.com

Evolving since the 1900s, the family-owned and -operated Samascott Orchards produces over 72 varieties of apples and hundreds of varieties of fruits, vegetables and mixed livestock on 1,000 acres. In addition to the tradition of fall apple picking (complete with freshpressed cider and a corn maze), visitors can plot family fun seven days a week from May through October with PYOs to harvest everything from strawberries, blueberries and peaches to apples and pumpkins and, yes, veggies, too. Samascott’s distribute their abundance at farmers’ markets from Albany to NYC and at their own Samascott’s Garden Market, where in addition to freshly baked seasonal fruit pies they sell the products of other local farmers and food producers, ensuring their customers have access to anything they might need— right down to garden supplies to inspire the farmer in you.


Agnes Devereux,
The Village Tea Room Restaurant and Bake Shop
10 Plattekill Avenue, New Paltz
845.255.3434 thevillagetearoom.com

Since practicing her art as a child baking in her family’s hotel in Ireland, Agnes Devereux has followed a path which includes study at the Institute of Culinary Education as well on the job training under the tutelage of Danny Meyer of Manhattan’s Union Square Café. It is no wonder then that Devereux would excel in hospitality, and her tasty, tasteful mastering of the task is evident in a variety of ways. With a mission to “offer high-quality local, seasonal and organic food at reasonable prices,” the menus are infl uenced by European traditions, and the fare conjured from provisions of local farms. Occupying a historic building in New Paltz, the Village Tea Room Restaurant and Bake Shop is open most days from 8am to 9pm, when you can indulge in a wide range of dining experiences— from full-serve breakfast to lunch, tapas, dinner and, of course, tea.

—Kathleen Reynolds

Copyright © 2014 Edible Hudson Valley