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Starting Out: A New Farmer’s First Growing Season

It’s spring, the first season of the first year at Alewife Farm in upstate New York’s pastoral Duchess county. Owner and head farmer Tyler Dennis coaxes weeds–miniscule dandelions and tiny bunches of grass–from a neat, compost-dusted bed.

Last week he made his first sale, 1,000 pounds of pea tendrils destined for kitchens in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, via the curated community supported agriculture (CSA) company Quinciple. The sale was a relief for Dennis and proof that his fledgling effort to reform an “unsustainable” food system could compete with established operations in the Hudson Valley. But more than cash flow, it was validation. Read more

Labor and the Locavore: Farm Work in New York State

Spring has been slow to arrive in New York this year, but warmer temperatures mean the re-invigoration of the city’s many farmers’ markets. This season, New Yorkers will shop at nearly 150 markets across the five boroughs. Some will surely chat with producers, asking questions about growing practices or ingredients. After reading Margaret Gray’s Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic, I wondered: Will any of them ask about the people who grew, harvested, or transported their food? Read more

Chelsea Clinton: Hudson Valley Girl? And a Vegan, Too!

Chelsea Clinton is so definitely getting married in Rhinebeck this weekend. All the signs point to it — like the one two miles down the road from Astor Courts (the presumed wedding locale), which reads: “Chelsea and Marc — congratulations from Rhinecliff’s Morton Memorial Library! Stop in for your wedding gift — your own free-for-life library card!!!” Read more

A Morgenthau Favorite: The Tart and Tender McIntosh

In most respects, Fishkill Farms operates like any of the dozens of sustainable family farms that dot New York’s Hudson River Valley. Each morning, a team of workers heads out into the field to plant and prune back weeds, or tend to the farm’s 50 acres of fruit trees. Nearby, chickens busily peck at the grass around their mobile coop, enriching the soil as they go, and laying eggs with yolks like ripe tangerines. Unlike its neighbors, however, Fishkill Farms has an unusual Jewish history — one that, it turns out, is remarkably well suited for the Rosh Hashanah table. Read more