Summary 2014


By #abcsa Farm Share Program

4th Annual Hootenanny!


The Hoot! 2014 was our proudest moment in our short history that was hosted perched in the hills of the Hudson Valley lakeside on Copake Lake NY by abc Kitchen and Host Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to a sold out group of 500+ supporters at the Copake Country Club golf course.



FarmOn! HOEDOWN at Helsinki Cafe Hudson


JOHN VARVATOS PRESENTS Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real with Liana Gabel, Ruby Stinson and Special Guest Tommy Stinson.


For the first time in Friends of the Farmer Festival ‘s history we held a “Hoedown” benefit concert as a stand-alone event! The concert element of the festival had outgrown its britches so we tore off our overalls and turned the the city of Hudson to farm-chic connecting rural and urban marketplaces and shifting the target audience to widen our reach and inspire consumers to FarmOn! with our food education + farm preservation message.


2014 introduced our biggest, loudest and proudest Hoedown concert ever in an exciting new location – Helsinki Hudson NY from FarmAid to FarmOn! with Willie Nelson’s successor, Lukas Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real.


Club Helsinki, Hudson, NY and was a sold out show that made “diamonds on the soles of her shoes” sang by Lukas Nelson to kick off a series of summer events that benefited the FarmOn! Foundation while local talent Liana Gabel tap danced on stage in tune. Tommy Stinson dedicated his songs to farmers – and his daughter Ruby Stinson, who gave a performance that makes any dad proud to raise his replacement! This sold out show was emceed by fashion designer John Varvatos in partnership with TasteNY and local farm partners.


A true celebration of the family farm and resilient agriculture in the Hudson Valley, the FarmOn! Hoedown was a huge success and will take place again – we hope! Stay tuned.



FarmOn! PLAY WITH FIRE with the Northern Chefs Alliance


302 Guests
25 Family Farms
12 Celebrity Chefs
5 Open Pit Fires
1 Cause


Mid summer in 2014 on a Sunday afternoon, the noble and notorious Northern Chefs Alliance joined forces once again. The gathering of talent was unprecedented in the Hudson Valley. These North American Chefs came, created and cooked a feast in the fields of Fish & Game Farm to feed and fund the FarmOn! Foundation.


Open fire pits, smokers, grills, farm tables, sperry tents complete with ice cold cocktails and the bounty of the Hudson Valley was made by Northern Alliance Chefs as they played with fire asado-style, 24h hickory smoked, grilled, ember roasted and barbecued so the coveted menu for the fortunate few who secured tickets to this extraordinary event on August 17th was deliciously meaningful!


Guests strolled the grassy hills of a 200 acre farm to roam through mowed pathways of Queen Anne’s lace to taste, talk and tour a working farm and eat with the folks that make our food. We danced to live music from John Medeski of Medeski Martin & Wood accompanied by Amy Helm until the wee hours by the light of a 40′ bonfire! Guests mingled with the Chefs as they prepared unique dishes throughout the property in 6 themed stations complete with the talent of mixologists and local libations as people grazed and gorged on the Chef’s farm fresh food and drink.


Epic and one of a kind – Play with Fire event was a huge success and will return again. Funds and awareness were raised to support our important work at the FarmOn! Foundation.







        • April Bloomfield Author and Chef best known for holding a Michelin star at two restaurants, The Spotted Pig and The Breslin Bar & Dining Room


        • Matt Jennings Chef and Cheesemaker, Townsman Boston


        • Sean Brock James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s and HUSK


        • Jamie Bissonnette James Beard Award Winning Chef of Toro Boston, Toro NYC , and Coppa Boston


        • Zakary Pelaccio, James Beard Award Winning Best Chef Northeast, Fish & Game Hudson


        • Jori Jayne Emde Entrepreneur and Alchemist Lady Jayne’s Alchemy, Chef Fish & Game Hudson


        • Kevin Pomplun Chef Back Bar Hudson Fish & Game Hudson


        • Francisco Migoya Head Chef Modernist Cuisine






          • Rob Gentile Executive Chef Buca Toronto


          • Matty Matheson Founder and Chef Parts and Labour Toronto


          • Lee Cooper Chef L’Abattoir Vancouver


          • Derek Dammann Chef Maison Publique Montreal


          • Jeremy Charles Head Chef and Co-Owner Raymonds, St. John’s Newfoundland



  • Acclaimed Mixologists


        • Kat Dunn of Fish & Game Hudson NY


        • Greg Seider of The Summit Bar New York, NY


        • Trevor Schneider of Goldbar New York, NY


        • Daniel Undhammer, Zubrowka Vodka


        • Zev Rovine World’s Best Natural Wines New York, NY


        • Chris Weld, Founder Berkshire Mountain Distillers Sheffield MA


        • Paul Maloney Owner Stockade Tavern Kingston NY



    4th Annual Friends of the Farmer Festival


    The 4th Annual Friends of the Farmer Festival launches at Empire Farm in Copake, NY with Alice Waters hosting the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting of the Victory Garden “ field as classroom” together with SUNY, Cornell CALS and a dozen family farmers to benefit the FarmOn! Foundation. The 4th Annual Friends of the Farmer Festival at Empire Farm in Copake, NY delivered on its promise to unite sustainable farming, education, community and local businesses in one fun-filled day.


    2,300 people attended the event curated and hosted by the Culinary Partnership at Tessa Edick’s direction to benefit the 501c3 non-profit organization and public charity, FarmOn! Foundation. With vendors from various regions in NY, CT, NJ, VT and MA, volunteers, and celebrity supporters, the event aimed to bring one collective discussion of food education, sustainable living and farm preservation to the forefront of the eat local conversation.


    Many New York state farms supported locally by sponsors and vendors from TasteNY, Harney & Sons, Whole Foods Market, Applegate, Chobani, Cabot, Sauerkraut Seth, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Chatham Brewing Co., Harvest Spirits, Hillrock Estate Distillery, Manhattan Milk, Ed Herrington Inc., Herrington Fuels, Hudson Valley Harvest and more were in attendance, educating visitors about their products and philosophies.


    High school agriculture teacher, Christie Hegarty, attended with students highlighting the enrichment program Taconic Hills High School seeks to provide for students in partnership with the FarmOn! Foundation and FFA. “Our three main focuses are teaching students where food actually comes from, how to prepare it, and giving resources to students seeking a career or future in agriculture,” said Hegarty, which is the mission of the FArmOn! foundation through succession on family farms.


    “What most people don’t know is that only two percent of jobs in agriculture are in production. The rest are in marketing, communications, sustainability, etc. We also talk about universities, such as Cornell, that have great agriculture programs and the educational work and support provided by FarmOn!” Hegarty concluded.


    For guests there were samples of milk, yogurt, fresh local fruit and vegetables, local bourbon, beer, pasta sauce, pesto, cheese, and more cheese. The atmosphere was filled with energy coming from farmers, families, vendors, visitors, and libation creators alike. While the tagline “If you ate today, thank a farmer” rang loudly around the gorgeous setting and reminded us all you are what you eat.


    Oliva Provisions founders Annette Chambers and Sarah Clymer were stay-at-home moms before beginning their foray into creating some of the most delicious pesto you’ve ever had in your life. “We were buying these tubs of pesto from super markets and thinking ‘Someone has to make something fresher and better than this’.” So, they did, and it’s completely local and organic. The opportunity to get their products in front of those who seek them was one of the reasons the festival appealed so much to them – and the connection to Whole Foods Market nearby Albany store.


    A ribbon cutting ceremony of FarmOn! at Empire Farm to support succession on family farms and edible education launching the new victory garden was hosted and emceed by chef, author, philanthropist and farm activist Alice Waters. Alongside 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 as well as processing sustainable soil at a farm in nearby Millerton.


    There were new faces like Common Hands Farm specializing in fruits and vegetables and community sustainable agriculture, recognizable brands like Applegate, Cabot and Chobani, and volunteers vigorously working to run a smooth operation. They succeeded.


    Next time you’re wondering why, how and where your food comes from, remember our farmers – Edick refers to as “Starmers” and continues “They are the real rock stars in food and work hard to feed us well!” And if you ever need a reminder, be sure to mark Friends of the Farmer Festival or any of the impactful and cool FarmOn! events on your calendar to do for next year. For information and events:





Stephen Mack emceed and shared our many accomplishments and partnerships notably FarmOn! MILK MONEY program funding local milk to school cafeterias for smarter lunchrooms now totaling 6 central school districts (offer stands NYS to all school districts!), the 4th annual Camp FarmOn! and with student high school graduates attending Cornell University and RPI as our true success(ion!) stories, the launch of FarmOn! at Empire Farm in Copake NY to become a community center and Ag-Entrepreneurial Farm Academy is a dream come true.





  • A heartfelt THANK YOU for your support! FarmOn!
        • EMPIRE FARM opened publicly in 2014 with FarmOn! Foundation fundraising.


        • SUNY Chancellor Zimpher and Cornell CALS (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) formally partnered with FarmOn! Empire Farm for NYS applied learning and credited internship .


        • FarmOn! AG-ACADEMY at Empire Farm graduated 6 students: Provided $20k scholarships and accredited 6 students to learn the business of food in a pilot program custom growing for NYC chefs.


        • FarmOn! SLAM DUNK YOUR VEGGIES™ built school garden with the NBA – Former NBA Boston Celtic Eric Williams launched a pilot program inspiring 4700 kids to eat healthy by growing food.


        • MILK MONEY SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM funded 8 school districts 2015 -provided local Hudson Valley Fresh milk cow to kid in 36 hours for 25,000+ kids daily.


        • SUMMER CAMP 20 Students visited farms & companies daily for a 5-day program to learn the business of food as teams to create a profitable solution in agriculture and pitch the concept to a “shark tank” building confidence and talking money.


        • FED 4700 underprivileged children for farm to school month who visited 3 farms each in October to learn about dairy, apples and vegetables with a cooking lesson from CIA grad students.


        • TAUGHT classrooms to activate Harvest of the Month NYS approved stem curriculum developed for project based learning around local farms + healthy eating.