Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rondout Valley Growers Barn Dance Barbecue July 7th Hudson Valley



Food, Fun and a Foot-stompin’ Good Time


RVGA’s 10th Annual Barn Dance, Saturday, July 7th, 2012

The Rondout Valley Growers Association invites the community to frolic on the farm at its 10th Annual Barn Dance and Local Food Barbecue on Saturday, July 7th, from 5 –10 p.m. at the historic Kelder’s Farm, 5755 Rt. 209 between  Kerhonkson and Accord, New York.

 Barbecue supper will highlight fresh, locally-grown food including free-range chicken, grass-fed beef hot dogs plus veggie dogs, Love Brines sauerkraut, fresh made green, pasta and veggie salads created by Saunderskill Farms in Accord, Davenport’s Farm in Stone Ridge, Binnewater Farm Project CSA, and the Rosendale Café, cider from Stone Ridge Orchard, fresh fruit and beverage.  A cash bar will serve wine and Keegan Ale’s locally brewed beer.

 Lively music and “step-by-step” dance instruction will be provided by The Shoe String Band and caller/fiddler Liz Slade playing a tasty mix of old-time Appalachian tunes and country classics.  As they put it, “we’re local, organic, free-range, sustainable and 100% bio-degradable.”  Shoe String’s Jeff “Lonesome Oscar” Marks calls Liz “Our favorite dance caller, and an awesome old-time fiddler who will have everyone up and dancing. No experience needed, just be ready to have a good time!”  And the musical offerings of the event will kick off during dinner with the Cajun sounds of Dr. Romo.

 Children’s activities include a petting zoo, edible mini-golf course, hayrides, and a jumping pillow. A 50/50 raffle will help fund the RVGA youth scholarship, and a Jane’s Ice Cream/special dessert bake sale fundraiser will feature delectables created by talented local bakers and chefs.  

 This year, the community’s support of RVGA is more valuable than ever, according to RVGA’s executive director Deborah DeWan: “A $25,000 matching grant we’ve received from the New World Foundation means that every dollar raised will have double value.”  She added, “meeting this match will help us strengthen the connections between the farmers and the community. So come to the Barn Dance!”  RVGA is committed to supporting the farms and farmers in this historic growing region, which keeps scenic land in active agricultural use, and creates a bountiful supply of fresh, nutritious, locally-raised farm products.

 $25 admission includes dinner and dancing ($30 day of the event); children under 12 are $10, and age 6 and under are admitted free. Tickets are available at Gill’s Farm, Davenport Farms, Kelder’s Farm, F & C Brooks Dairy Farm, Saunderskill Farm, Barthel’s Farm, Stone Ridge Wine & Spirits, the High Falls Food Co-op, and online at Tickets may also be purchased at the door.   Barn Dance sponsors include:  Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits, Rondout Savings Bank, Keegan Ales, Kelder’s Farm, Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty in Stone Ridge, and Emmanuel’s Marketplace.

 For more information about the Barn Dance, RVGA, or a variety of volunteer opportunities, email, call 845-626-1532, or click the “events” link at

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Filed under EDUCATION, Local Business, Local Farm Food Event, Transition Towns


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Neversink Farm, Claryville, New York

4:00-7:00 p.m.


Come join Catskill Mountainkeeper for an incredible intimate afternoon supper at NOFA-NY Certified Organic Neversink Farm in Claryville, NY.

 Tour the farm while sampling cuisine and non-alcoholic beverages sourced from the Catskills – all beautifully prepared by Chef Patrick Connolly. There will be food stations by the river, the cut flower field, the barn, the pasture, and the vegetable field. For the kids there will be friendly chickens and donkeys to pet. The afternoon’s event is sponsored by NOFA-NY business member, Main St. Farm Store in Livingston Manor, NY  and Red Newt Cellers in Hector, NY will feature food and beverages that have been sourced from some of our region’s finest producers. All proceeds go to support the Agricultural Program of Catskill Mountainkeeper.

Due to a limited capacity, we highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

For a mouthwatering description of the event’s inspired food preparation, and to purchase tickets, click here or email




Filed under Environment, Local Farm Food Event, Uncategorized

Pro-Junk Anti-Frack! Shannon Hayes’ Radical Homemakers Take on Local Anti-Fracking Laws


“The democratic process is pretty sleepy in my town. Monthly council meetings are conducted by a group of dedicated citizens who talk about unglamorous issues such as road repair, dog warden reports and budget matters. Meetings begin at 7:30pm with relatively few attendees, as many of the citizens tied to the local farming economy are either still outside working, or getting ready to fall into bed. But if you want to wake a sleeping bear, suggest making the local junkyard law more restrictive.

Then you’ll see some angry constituents.
That happened a few months ago, when some members of the community who preferred mowed grass and plastic whirly gigs to scrap metal and recycled lumber piles tried to bring forward a discussion about making our town look a little more “picked up.” That was a decidedly unpopular idea, and neighbors filled our town hall beyond capacity to drive their point home. My family was among them.

We are also among the group of neighbors who have begun a dialogue with council members discussing the need for an anti-fracking law. While the threat may not be as imminent as it is for those folks in the Southern Tier of our state, we feel that proactive measures taken now will protect us as fracking technology changes and the industry expands into our region. A few of our council members remain dubious that such a law would be wanted by our citizenry. How could folks who are pro-junk also be anti-frack? It’s all about self-reliance.

A lot of us keep “treasure” in our yards that someone from a high-end suburb might see as “trash.” But someone from a high-end suburb can collect a six figure salary several times over, pay an urban mechanic to maintain a new car, pay the electric bill to run the dryer for their clothes, pay the clerk at Whole Foods for their “farm fresh eggs,” pay someone else to come in with the necessary tools to maintain their lawns and homes.

But here in the town of Fulton, we depend on our own hands for many of these things. The “junk” in our yards is a resource base from which we can fix our cars, repair our houses, jury-rig a chicken coop, find a spare part to fix a mower, salvage some glass to hob together a cold frame for vegetables. The “junk” represents the tools we need to get by without a lot of income.

Whether it is a junkyard law or an anti-fracking law, the impetus remains the same: We desire legislation that protects our right and need to be self-reliant. Hyrdo-fracking purports to offer some quick cash for a few landholders, but everyone else runs the risk of losing their self-reliance when drinking wells either dry up or the water becomes too polluted to drink. If we no longer have potable water to raise our vegetables, can our tomatoes, make jelly from the wild brambles, or care for our livestock, we’ve lost our ability to take care of ourselves and thrown our well-being at the mercy of government, charity, and the companies who are now in business to haul water to communities that are confronting the fall-out of hydro-fracking.

None of us wants to wind up there. We want our junkyards. We want our anti-fracking laws, too. To live well around here, most of us need to be somewhat self-reliant. Money doesn’t grow on trees around these parts, but fruit does. And vegetables grow in the ground, livestock grow in the pastures, and firewood grows on the hills. If we have clean water to sustain all of it, we’ll have enough food in our bellies, wood in our fires and junk in our backyards to have a great life, regardless of how much money is in our pockets.”


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Filed under Alternative Energy, Gas Drilling Hydro-Fracking, Sustainable Farming, Transition Towns

PASA Asserts Position on Unconventional Gas Extraction Hydro-Fracking

June 12, 2012
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Urges a Moratorium on Unconventional Gas Drilling
June 11, 2012

Promoting Profitable Farms that Produce Healthy Food for All
People while Respecting the Natural Environment
Statement on Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction
Adopted: June 11, 2012

PASA asserts its position in favor of a moratorium on unconventional gas extraction, until it is determined that this practice will not impair the ability of farms to profitably produce healthy food while respecting Pennsylvania’s air quality, water resources and the natural environment.

PASA supports:

  • Assuring the highest quality of life for the farming community and the environment in all aspects of natural gas extraction through unbiased, third party studies of the long-term impacts. These studies must assess the impacts on the environment and public health, including an in-depth look at the integrity, health and long term sustainability of our food supply.
  • Establishing baselines, parameters, and comprehensive third party testing of water resources, soil health, air quality and human and animal welfare prior to and after extraction procedures.
  • Requiring drilling companies to post a bond which is held in escrow in their name, payable with interest in the event that there are no negative environmental consequences 5 years after capping the well, to be determined by a certified third party engineer.
  • Developing and moving towards a comprehensive sustainable and renewable energy plan that encourages conservation of our natural resources.
  • Enabling the farming community’s input in decision making regarding the location of natural gas facilities and related pipelines.
  • Requiring fairness and transparency in all stages of exploration, leasing, drilling and production, and recognition and respect of landowners’ rights, including those who do not own subsurface rights. Full disclosure creates trust between landowners, energy companies and land aggregators, and needs to be addressed before additional wells are drilled.
  • Full accountability and fairness in remediation for any negative environmental and/or economic loss to farmers.

PASA recognizes its mission extends far beyond the edge of field and pasture. This work encompasses the development of and education around healthy food systems for both urban and rural communities. Unconventional gas drilling affects local farmers and farms, the food they produce, and the consumers who eat it.

We therefore urge the Governor and Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to use this moratorium to ensure that the above issues have been addressed and resolved, and to re-evaluate the safety of methods used in natural gas extraction and its potential threat to our watersheds, food safety and the quality of life of farmers.

PASA continues to provide educational programming to support sustainable agriculture practices resulting in economically viable farms. We are committed to maintaining an organization that protects food systems by focusing on our mission of promoting profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.

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Filed under Alternative Energy, Environment, Gas Drilling Hydro-Fracking, Sustainable Farming

Guide to Hudson/Catskill Craft Brewers, Distillers and Vinters

Courtesy of The Times-Herald Record 6/10/12

Where to find craft brewers, distillers and vintners in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills

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Filed under Local Business, Local Farm Food Event, Workforce Development

Booze Becoming Big Business in Hudson Valley

Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM – 06/10/12

The climate at the top of Gumaer Falls Road in Wurtsboro is a lot like the hilly Korean province where farmers grow an exotic root called sweet ginseng, according to Rosalyn Kim. She has for years cultivated the slow-growing root on her property, but has only a month after harvest to sell it before it loses freshness and flavor.

Her solution for maximizing sweet ginseng’s potential? Letting it infuse rice beer, a milky-looking alcoholic drink she plans to sell to the Asian markets in New York City within a few months. Quickly fermented rice beer will subsidize Kim’s more time-consuming project: sweet ginseng-infused whiskey that takes three years to mature.

Kim’s farm-to-tipple venture is unique because of its Asian flair. But it’s one of a growing crop of new booze businesses in the region , a trend in step with national patterns. New breweries in Orange and Sullivan counties are slated to open in the next few months, while hard cider producers are just now enjoying the craft renaissance that has touched the beer, wine and liquor industries.

The libations more than three-dozen local businesses distill or ferment range from basic beer and wine to kosher plum liqueurs and apple and pear eau de vie, a fruit brandy.

In the Town of Wallkill, David Pazdar of Pazdar Winery transforms western New York grapes into chocolate- and- hot-pepper-flavored vino at his microwinery in his converted garage. In Gardiner, two former payroll company employees overcame financial difficulties and started Prohibition Distillery.

The distillery, which makes gluten-free corn grain vodka, plans to move to Roscoe from under Tuthilltown Spirits’ roof.

Tourist spending at tasting rooms — promoted by the Shawangunk Wine Trail — gives the businesses a boost. So does “The Little Wine Bus,” which departs year-round from midtown Manhattan and local points, carting thousands of drinkers from winery to winery. Company owner Tania Dougherty of New Windsor also operates a “Little Beer Bus.”

“People are desiring locally sourced, locally produced products, and that follows through into the alcoholic beverage market,” said Todd Erling, the executive director of the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corp., a policy and business development group.

Erling has seen the Hudson Valley’s craft beverage industry explode in the five years since his organization was founded, partly because of state legislation.

The farm-distillery license, which permits booze-making from products farmed in New York state, went into effect in 2007. Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a similar bill in March for farm breweries, according to Bill Crowley, a spokesman for the State Liquor Authority.

Having eight million people only 60 to 90 miles away has helped the Hudson Valley’s vineyards and breweries take off. Some of the region’s best-known drinks — Tuthilltown Spirits’ whiskey line and Keegan Ales’ Mother’s Milk — have extensive New York City distribution networks and cult followings in the boroughs.

Both businesses, forerunners of the Hudson Valley craft revolution, are growing rapidly. Tuthilltown is wrapping up a $1 million expansion project at its Gardiner location, while Kingston’s Keegan Ales will double its output to between 12,000 and 15,000 barrels per year in the next six to nine months.

“I can’t make beer fast enough,” said Keegan Ales owner and brewmaster Tommy Keegan. “Every drop is sold before it’s made.”

Newbie beer-maker Rushing Duck Brewing Co. in Chester hasn’t set its sights on New York City — at least not yet.

Co-owner and brewmaster Dan Hitchcock of Bergen County will self-distribute in Orange County the 600 barrels of beer he will make his first year.

The brewery’s tasting room, scheduled to open in July, fits Rushing Duck’s hyper-local angle. The room, which will sell 3-ounce suds samples and 64-ounce growler fill-ups, will be a cozy hangout that looks like the neighborhood bar. Hitchcock and his girlfriend, Nikki Cavanaugh, who is working on sales and marketing, hope it will become the epicenter of the local beer scene.

Production of Rushing Duck’s stable of year-round beers — a hoppy pale ale, coffee porter and partially barrel-aged English-style barley wine-style ale — will start in June. Hitchcock plans to occasionally supplement the trio with quirky one-off brews featuring ingredients like orange peel and chamomile. Recipes calling for off-kilter flavors are one of the hallmarks of the craft beer world.

The quirky and downright weird

Hudson Valley wineries number in the double digits, but a creation Scott Wilkinson of New Windsor has billed “wine sorbet” is a bit more rare.

The sorbet, sold under Wilkinson’s label, “Mr. Cannoli,” is made from wine, fruit and a few other natural ingredients like sugar. The newly released sorbet, produced in a Middlehope warehouse, has 5 percent alcohol content and a sweet-tangy wine taste.

Wilkinson’s wine-and-fruit pairings include Cabernet with blueberry puree, Merlot with cherries and Riesling with strawberry. He also makes non-alcoholic Italian ices.

Wilkinson, a truck driver by trade, does not identify himself as a wine drinker. He’s a food tinkerer looking to innovate existing products — a trait he shares with many of the Hudson Valley’s craft beverage entrepreneurs.

“I enjoy making different products — taking traditional things and putting an edge on it,” he said, adding that that drive led him — working with Giulio Pistolesi — to make a Guinness World Record-setting 123-pound cannoli in 2010.

Wilkinson sources his wine from local vineyards, including Brotherhood and Benmarl, and envisions his sorbet — not quite an alcoholic drink, nor a run-of-the-mill dessert — featured on the menus of high-end Italian restaurants and country clubs.

The sorbet is Wilkinson’s passion project.

“Some people go into business just to make money at it,” Wilkinson said. “But I want people to eat old-fashioned quality desserts that are rich.”


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Filed under Local Business, Northeast Organic Grain Project, Transition Towns