2014-10-02 Register Star


Farmers make FarmOn! festival a success

Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014 12:30 am
By Tessa Edick 
For Columbia-Greene Media 

“Happy Farming!” Alice Waters exclaimed last Saturday while cutting the ribbon at the ceremony for the opening of the FarmOn! at Empire Farm in Copake, announcing the new ag-entrepreneurial working farm, community center and victory garden that welcomes the community to volunteer, plant, learn and educate.

It was a gorgeous fall day and 2,300 people came to celebrate local agriculture at the 4th annual Friends of the Farmer Festival to benefit the 501c3 non-profit organization and public charity, the FarmOn! Foundation.

Food education and farm preservation was the topic of the day as locals, weekenders, tourists and farmers mingled, ate and chose to stand up for our farming community and good food choices. People asked questions, opted out of processed food and got involved in knowing where the food comes from, who makes it and how.

If every day we choose one local ingredient — imagine what could happen? When did we swap nutrition for convenience? By meeting your farmer and supporting edible education in public schools just by shopping local, our food dollars fund the people who innovate, shape, raise, grow and work to pioneer our food system and create local economic development simultaneously. Why wouldn’t you?

If you ate today, thank a farmer. The tag line has never been closer to home. The ribbon cutting ceremony to support succession on family farms and edible education was hosted by the famed chef, author, philanthropist and farm activist Alice Waters together with dairy farmers Ronny Osofsky of Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, Jim and Karen Davenport of Tollgate Farm (award winning producers of milk for Cabot and Hudson Valley Fresh products) as well as organic greens farmer Ted Dobson of Equinox Farm Berkshires, organic grass-fed livestock farmer Jeremy Peele of Herondale Farm and farmer Erich McEnroe of McEnroe Organic Farm, who raises vegetables and animals organically and processes soil and compost sustainably at an organic farm just down the road in Millerton.

Many other farmers attended the festival vending, feeding, sampling, showing off animals and talking to guests.

To each of our Hudson Valley farmers, we send our collective gratitude and farm love — thank you for teaching us to honor the land, water and air, that we are what we eat and caring for animals, grain, fruits and vegetables that feed us well and are worth seeking out. These folks are our real stars in food — you too can meet at their local family farms any day of the year.

The few remaining harvest days invite you to pick, eat, savor, can, conserve and preserve the bounty to sustain you all winter long. You can find them all online through our farm directory at friendsofthefarmer.com.

At the FarmOn! event this year you could meet and/or eat from many of these “starmers” and their offerings were nutritious and delicious at the family friendly event raising funds and awareness of where our food comes from.

Many attended FarmOn! including, Rory Chase of Chaseholm Farm Creamery in Pine Plains; Rob and Heather Kitchen of Pigasso Farms, Copake; Bruce Conover of Sir William Farm in Craryville; Tom Theiss of Yonderview Farm in Hillsdale; Raena Shaffer of Westendlock Farm in Hillsdale; Dan McManus of Common Hands Farm in Claverack; Laura Meister of Farm Girl Farm of Sheffield, Mass.; John Langdon of Langdonhurst Farm Copake; Tom and Terri Holmes of Holmquest Farm in Hudson; Larry Lampman of Fox Hill Farm in Ancramdale; Martin Ping of Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent; Adelheld Kress and her Kress Family Farm of Hillsdale; Bob and Linda Fix of Fix Brothers Fruit Farm in Hudson; Russ Bartollotta Jr. of Kleins Kill Fruit Farm in Germantown; Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in Chatham; LynnHaven Goat Farm in Pine Bush; Yonder Tree Fruit from Hudson; Honey Dog Farm in Hillsdale; Yellow Bell Farm of Elizaville; Turtle Tree Seed Company in Copake; and H.A.R.V.E.S.T CLUB students and educators of Taconic Hills School District in Craryville (farm to school garden).

Also, the hundreds of New York state farms supported locally by Whole Foods Market, Applegate, Chobani, Cabot, Sauerkraut Seth, Chatham Brewing Co, Harvest Spirits, Hillrock Estate Distillery, Hudson River Tractor, TasteNY, Local Economies Project, Hudson Valley Fresh, Fieldd-Goods.com, Manhattan Milk, Ed Herrington Inc & Herrington Fuels, Hudson Valley Harvest and more.

Thank you to all of the farmers, sponsors, supporters, educators, students, local organizations and media partners for the encouragement and enthusiasm to make us all friends of the farmer and inspired to FarmOn!

Our kids and theirs are worth it!

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