2015-02-25 Hudson Valley News



Tessa Edick, the executive director of FarmOn! Foundation and author of “Hudson Valley Food & Farming: Why Didn't Anyone Ever Tell Me That?” is a woman on a mission, and it’s a crucial one. Her non-profit, formed in 2012, is a public charity that educates kids about farming and also works to preserve American family farms. For local foodies, FarmOn! is hosting an impossible-to-miss benefit at Terrapin Restaurant in Rhinebeck on March 1.

“We have this great convergence of talent with local farmers and chefs here in the Hudson Valley,” said Edick. “We love and promote farm-to-table eating. There is nothing more important than the food that you eat. I am on a mission to change the notion that small family farmers can’t survive.”

The Hudson Valley chefs that will be creating dishes for the benefit reads like an honor roll of local culinary talent: Josh Kroner of Terrapin Restaurant, Rhinebeck; Gianni Scappin, Market St., Rhinebeck, Cucina, Woodstock, and Gusto, Poughkeepsie; Ric Orlando, New World Home Cooking, Saugerties; and Agnes Devereux, The Village Tea Room, New Paltz. Mixology will be provided by Paul Maloney of Stockade Tavern in Kingston.

Much of FarmOn!’s focus is on educating kids – who will be the farmers, chefs and consumers of the future – about the possibilities of growing food. One of the non-profit’s biggest initiatives has been to create and promote CampFarmOn! Summer Enrichment Programs with Taconic Hills Central School District, QuestarIII and Cornell Cooperative Extension. “We’ve also worked to get local milk into schools,” said Edick. “We want to teach kids about where food comes from – beginning with seeds in the ground to food on the table.”

Another goal of FarmOn! is to educate shoppers on the benefits of eschewing factory farmed food. “We can no longer afford to truck food from thousands of miles away, sacrificing nutrition, wasting energy, and undermining local farming economies in the process,” said Edick. “We shouldn’t be asking why local food is so expensive, we should ask why trucked-in food is so cheap. We think about convenience over all. The local focus, gives you a better, stronger, more vibrant community. It’s time we give farmers a fair pay. We have such a rich concentration of local-cuisine talent here in the Hudson Valley, and I truly believe that it’s farmers who are the real rock stars of our great food options.”

Edick and her team have many goals for the March 1 event, for which all the food will be locally sourced. “We want to raise money to teach kids that they can make a living as farmers,” she said. “At Terrapin, we’ll have four talented local chefs coming together to create a four-course meal—chefs are very collaborative.” As well, $100 of each ticket sold will go toward funding the foundation. “We’re so lucky, here in the Hudson Valley, we have the institutions, chefs and farmers necessary to create great food. It’s amazing what a unifier a farm is!”

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