Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post Irene: How to help Catskill region farmers

The beautiful Schoharie Valley during better days.

We've been humbled by the huge interest from the regional community looking to help farmers who have been impacted by damage from this weekend's storm. What follows is a list of what we've heard from our regional business members on the assistance they need.

PLEASE share any updates you might have about farmer needs with us by contacting Challey Comer at or (607) 865-7090. General community needs should be directed to the general resources listed below.

GENERAL RESOURCES - Where to go for general updates and relief efforts.

Watershed Post - Aggregated regional updates on road closures and donation/relief efforts.

River Reporter - Sullivan County updates on power outages and road access.

Irene in the Catskills - A Facebook group aimed at matching needs with supplies.

Catskills Irene Relief Resources - A clearing house for needs and resources to help our Catskills neighbors recover from Hurricane Irene.

  • Delaware/Otsego County - a list of suggestions from the Daily Star
  • New York City
  • MANHATTAN: Drop-off point Food, clothes, supplies "Powell Communications 84 Wooster Street (between Spring and Broom)" Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM -6:00 PM
  • Jon and Tiffany Kalupa are co-ordinating donations for anyone in NYC at 366 West 11th Street lobby of the building. (between Washington St and Westside Hwy) They will bring up donations from NYC Thursday night and each week thereafter. If you are down state, or have friends or family that are looking for a way to help....this is a good jumping off point.
  • BROOKLYN drop-off point Food, clothes, supplies Brooklyn Collection Center- Red Shed Community Garden 266 Skillman Ave (at kingsland) Monday- Friday 6:00pm to 8:00pm


Cha Cha Hut in Andes:
While it important to be concerned about what has been lost - also important to consider what is still here. OPEN THIS WEEKEND: Roxbury: Public Lounge, Cassie's Cafe, The East Branch & T-Bar (guessing ), Country Store. ARKVILLE: Casey Joe's, Arkville Bread & Breakfast & Great Woods Farm (formerly the Market Basket). ANDES: Cha Cha Hut BBQ, Woody's, Andes Hotel, Tay Tea (guessing), the various Main Street Shops & Hogan's General Store. GRAND GORGE: Pizza Palace & the Country Store. STAMFORD: Kaaterskill House, TP's CAFE, Gabrielle's, john's Tavern, the Grand Union, Mac-a-doodles, Ming Moon & Peach Tree Cafe. As important as it is to help in the relief effort is is equally important to support those businesses still here... Follow live link at

Greenmarket in NYC:
The city-based network of farmers' markets is gathering donations for their farm vendors affected by flooding. All who give before September 30th will receive a free Greenmarket poster.

LinkHillhaven Farms in Stamford:
If anyone is interested in helping us build a team of disaster relief for our good friends, BARBERS FARM we'd be more than appreciative. We'll be meeting at Jefferson Central School at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Please bring drinks/food/gloves/work clothes appropriate. Let us know beforehand because we are creating a list, and we'd only like serious initiatives only please. Call the farm at (607) 652-2274.

Lazy Crazy Acres in Arkville: REQUEST FULFILLED!
We have been bottling as much milk as we can as there is a shortage in the area. You can get some at the old Market Basket in Arkville and at Sams in Fleischmanns. Currently we are having a generator issue and working on a solution... anyone have a 24kw generator that we - along with our dairy farming friends - can use? Cows need milking. Please call Jake Fairbairn at 845.302.8016.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York:
Gathering information on farmers in need of assistance across the state and organizing crop mobs to clean up farms this weekend. Details in their latest email newsletter.

LinkOriole 9 in Woodstock:
If anyone would like to donate to Windham and/or Phoenicia, the people at Oriole 9 will be making a run up there at 3pm today. They'll be using the YumYum patio on Rock City Rd as a drop off center. Things they need: Non perishable food(peanut butter, canned goods etc..) Coffee, Tea, Blankets,Water, antibacterial soap, baby wipes, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.

Sap Bush Hollow Farm in West Fulton:
Goodnight Irene - An essay from farmer Shannon Hayes on the impact in her Schoharie County community.

Sherman Hill Farmstead in Franklin:
Herd manager Morgan George is organizing a flood relief fundraiser to take place somewhere...hopefully in or around the Franklin area. Organizers, writers, musicians, artists, anyone willing to help out should contact her directly. Contact me her at or leave a message at 607-829-6886.

Water Street Market in New Paltz:
Farms and Family Benefit at Water Street Market on Monday, September 26th from 5 to 9PM. Live Music, potluck, $20 suggested donation. Anyone interested in volunteering to help get sponsorships, work the event, etc, we are having a meeting at Water Street Market Tuesday at 6PM to coordinate. If you cannot attend the meeting and still want to help, contact KT Tobin at

Willow View Hill Farm
in Stamford:
If your livestock have survived and your hay has not - I have some willing to


As Water Recedes, Cleanup Of A Soupy Mess Begins - NPR

Monday, August 29, 2011

Catskills CRAFT group to visit Mountain Dell Farm

On Monday, September 12, the Catskills CRAFT group will meet from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mountain Dell Farm in Hancock, NY. Catskills CRAFT, or Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, is an educational networking group for beginning farmers. Farm interns, employees and operators of recently established farm enterprises are welcome to attend the event.

For the past 20 years, Mark Dunau and Lisa Wujnovich have been supplying their customers with fresh products late into the harvest season using a floating row cover technique that extends their growing season and has increased their production by 50 percent. With just five acres in production, Mountain Dell Farm is growing 50 types of vegetables and supplying leafy greens to health food stores, local restaurants, community supported agriculture (CSA) customers and high-end restaurants in New York City.

Success with season extension through the use of row covers will be the focus of the CRAFT visit. Fabric tarps cover their fields to retain moisture and heat during the coldest parts of the growing season. The first hour of the farm visit will include a tour and discussion of these techniques. Following the discussion, the group will share a potluck meal.

Catskills CRAFT brings a national model aimed at developing beginning farmer networks across the country to the region. More details on the group and the monthly farm visits planned throughout 2011 can be found at Contact Sonia Janiszewski at or 914-720-1020 for more information.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seed Flats, Flameweeding and Much More with Lucky Dog Organic Farm

We're pleased to share another report on the progress of Catskills CRAFT, a networking group for beginning farmers in our region. Sonia Janiszewski, the group's coordinator, has provided us with another summary of this month's visit to Lucky Dog Organic Farm in Hamden, NY. Cross posted from

Lucky Dog Organic Farm welcomed a dozen beginning farmers from the Catskills Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) on Monday, August 8th for a farm tour and discussion of how the farm has adapted to expansion. Kalan Joslin, the field manager, and Richard Giles, owner, led the group on a tour through the farm’s multiple greenhouses and produce fields in Hamden, NY. The group ended the evening with a potluck social.

In fewer than ten years, Lucky Dog Organic Farm has grown to encompass a farm store, wholesale operation, community supported agriculture (CSA) program, farmers market sales and two on-farm restaurants. Approximately fifty percent of their revenue comes from their CSA and farmers markets (Pakatakan farmers market near Margaretville, the Callicoon farmers market, the Cooperstown farmers market and the Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarket in New York City). The balance is sold through regional distributors. This accelerated pace of expansion seems second nature to Richard and Holley White-Giles who have planted their family along with their crops in this small river-bottom town.

The farm is comprised of 45 owned acres and has expanded onto an additional 115 leased acres where they grow organic produce and cover crop used to enrich farm-made compost. With the increase in land came the need for efficiencies in techniques, equipment and staff.

With Kalan demonstrating, the participants were shown the unique block seeder that Lucky Dog traded in for its traditional cell seeding technique in an effort to reduce plastic waste. They begin with a soil mix and water that when fed through the block seeder, produces “flats” of seeded soil that are placed in reused plastic bread trays. This system both eliminates waste and cuts a labor-intensive farm task down to a two-person operation.

As do all organic farms, Lucky Dog battles with weeds each season. Last season, Lucky Dog was awarded a grant through the Watershed Agricultural Council that enabled them to purchase a tractor-mounted vegetable bed flameweeder. This piece of machinery burns propane fuel through torches aimed at the surface of the crop beds in order to destroy small emerging weeds either just before planting or just before the crop emerges. With this flameweeder, they are able to sweep quickly across these areas without disturbing the soil, to kill new flushes of weeds, decreasing the staff time dedicated to weeding and the fossil fuels that would be required of several high-horse power tillage trips doing the same job.

While new introductions in techniques and equipment have enabled Lucky Dog to expand through efficiencies, staffing and teaming has been a key factor in the farm’s ability to adapt. Lucky Dog employs six year round and 16 additional seasonal staff at the farm. In 2002, Kalan, the CRAFT visit’s tour leader, began working at Lucky Dog and this job became a passion. Now a truly indispensable employee, Kalan helps to manage the farm with Richard and works closely with the other crew members, training and sharing expertise.

For more information about Lucky Dog Organic Farm , visit, or stop by their farm store the next time you pass through Hamden.

Catskills CRAFT visits are scheduled at a different farm each month through November. Visit for a full schedule.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The barn doors are open!

A few members of the flock at Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow.

There's lots of great stuff happening this weekend. Of particular note are the three farm tours coming up. Whether you're interested in dairy, mixed livestock or horses, you can learn about these types of farming with our member businesses!

Saturday, August 20th
Honesdale, PA
8 am to 12:30 pm
Tour the farm, see cheesemaking and enjoy a cheese tasting with a catered lunch.
$40 per person - prepay online!

Saturday, August 20th
Preston Hollow, Greene/Schoharie County
Starts at 10:30 am
A walking tour of the farm with a diversity of livestock and lush pastures.
$5 per adult

Saturday, August 20th
Oak Ridge Farm
Youngsville, Sullivan County
12 to 3 pm
Phone: (845) 482-4686
Adults $6, children $4

Satuday, August 20th
Catskill Harvest Market
Liberty, Sullivan County
12 to 4 pm
Learn about turning wool into yarn and meet a sheep.

Sunday, August 21st
1 to 4 pm
Raid the blackberry patch and then learn how to preserve the bounty!
$25 for members, $35 for non-members

Dont' forget that the Delaware County Fair in Walton continues through Saturday and the Little World's Fair in Grahamsville continues through Sunday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Senator Gillibrand comes to the Delaware County Fair

Sally and Jake Fairbairn of Lazy Crazy Acres in Arkville with Senator Gillibrand at the Delaware County Fair.

DAY/DATE: Thursday, August 18
TIME: 1:30-3:00 pm
PLACE: Delaware County Fair Grounds – enter through A Gate
Tent in Agriculture Awareness Display Area
Walton, NY

Senator Gillibrand will host an economic development roundtable with federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Earl F. Gohl, and local business and community leaders to discuss the latest economic development efforts for Delaware County and how they can assist and promote local growth. They will discuss ways to better access ARC programs in business development, job training, infrastructure and telecommunications, as well as other efforts to increase business opportunities and create jobs.

ARC is a regional economic development agency that helps grow local economies by improving water and sewer systems, increasing school readiness, expanding access to health care, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, assisting local communities with strategic planning, and providing technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses. New York is one of 13 states covered by ARC, with 14 counties qualifying for their programs. Since 2006 in New York, more than $12.9 million in ARC funds have helped leverage about $86.9 million in private investment, helping create or retain over 2,100 jobs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A summer blockbuster

Vegetables from Shaul's Farm on display at the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair.

This weekend's shaping up to be a summer blockbuster of farm and food events. We can hardly keep up!

Batavia Kill Stream Celebration
August 6th
10 am to 4:30 pm
Country Suite B&B
Ashland, Greene County
Come celebrate the beauty and wonder of the Catskill Mountain streams through interactive exhibits, display booths, guided stream walks, and a host of activities for children and adults alike!

Art & Soul of the Catskills
August 6th
10 am to 5 pm
Courthouse Square
Delhi, Delaware County
A fine art and craft festival featuring literary presentations, music, dance and locally sourced food, wines and beers.

From the Ground Up!
August 6th
12 to 4 pm
Domesticities & The Cutting Garden
Youngsville, Sullivan County
Sixth Annual Festival celebrating grown, created and produced in Sullivan County.

Catskill Mountainkeeper's Barnfest

August 6th, 3 pm
The Hills Country Inn
Callicoon Center, Sullivan County
RSVP here.
Featured speakers include Anna Lappe, Fred Kirschenmann and Dave Pasternack.

Not to mention county fair season! The Ulster County Fair, Schoharie County Sunshine Fair and Otsego County Fair have full event schedules throughout the weekend!

Interested in what's happening beyond farm and foodie events? Check out the This Weekend feature on the Watershed Post.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer news round up

It's the peak of summer and Pure Catskills members are all over the regional news!

Here's the latest round up of coverage:

Callicoon Calling - New York Post

Berrying in the Far Northern Catskills - Village Voice

Local couple making ice cream down on the farm - Catskill Mountain News

Farmers are the New Artists - Edible Manhattan

Road Trip: New York's Catskills - Travel & Leisure Magazine

Weddings big business in the Catskills - Catskill Mountain News

Monday, August 1, 2011

August CRAFT visit at Lucky Dog Farm

On Monday, August 8, the Catskills CRAFT group will meet from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lucky Dog Organic Farm in Hamden, NY. Catskills CRAFT, or Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, is an educational networking group for beginning farmers. Farm interns, employees and operators of recently established farm enterprises are welcome to attend the event.

In fewer than ten years, Lucky Dog Organic Farm has grown to encompass a farm store, wholesale operation, community supported agriculture (CSA) program, farmers' market sales and two on-farm restaurants. With this growth, staff size has expanded to include seasonal and year-round employees. Farm staff will discuss their approach to planning for and adapting to the growth of a farm business. The first hour of the farm visit will include this discussion of planning for and adapting to growth. Following the discussion, the group will share a potluck meal.

Catskills CRAFT brings a national model aimed at developing beginning farmer networks across the country to the region. More details on the group and the monthly farm visits planned throughout 2011 can be found at Contact Sonia Persichilli at or 914-720-1020 for more information.

From June through November, beginning farmers are invited to gather at a farm for an instructional visit. There are six Monday evening visits planned for the 2011 season. Each visit includes an overview of the farm as well as a hands-on demonstration of one or two specific topics. The end of the season closes with a final farm visit and planning session for the following year's tours. You can read about at the group's first farm visit with Willow Wisp Organic Farm here on the blog.

CRAFT host farms demonstrate the growing diversity of agriculture in the region and address a range of relevant agricultural challenges and techniques. A full schedule and host farm background can be found at Catskills CRAFT is made possible with leadership support from Catskills region beginning farmers, financial support from Farmhearts, and administrative support from the Watershed Agricultural Council. For more information on Farmhearts, please visit