Adirondack Harvest is a community organization formed out of concern for the loss and abandonment of farmland in the Adirondacks. Members realized that to keep local food available and to preserve the scenic vistas that farmland provides, farming needs to be profitable. Founding members also had a strong commitment to sustainable farms and wanted to insure that farm-fresh food is available. We currently operate as a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County.
Since its inception in 2001, Adirondack Harvest has grown to encompass Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties in northeastern New York. These counties contain major sections of the Adirondack Park and the Champlain Valley. Other portions of counties located within the Adirondack Park are also participating members including Herkimer, Oneida, Saratoga and Washington. Our focus has been on expanding markets for local farm products so that consumers have more choice of fresh farm products and on assisting farmers to increase sustainable production to meet the expanding markets.
The Mission Statement of Adirondack Harvest is:
We envision a picturesque and productive working landscape connecting local farmers to their communities and regional markets.
Our goals are to increase opportunities for profitable, sustainable production and sale of high quality food and agricultural products, and to expand consumer choices for locally produced healthy food.
This mission ensures the future preservation and growth of our open farmland while providing a diversity of healthy food products for consumers.
Board of Directors
Teresa Whalen (Chair) – Warrensburgh Beautification, Inc., representing the southern Adirondack counties
Joshua Bakelaar – Adirondack North Country Association, representing consumers
Carol Calabrese – Essex County Industrial Development Agency, representing IDA/tourism
Steven Googin – North Country Creamery, representing Essex County
Jane Desotelle (Vice Chair) – Underwood Herbs, representing Clinton County
Margot Brooks – Sugar House Creamery, representing farmers
Edward Gardner – Essex town supervisor, representing local government
Roger Hastings – Shady Hill Sheep & Wool Farm, representing Franklin County
Jori Wekin – Liaison with Cornell Cooperative Extension board
David Hunt – Chef, representing restaurants & stores
Jeffrey Van Arsdale – Cedar Hedge Farm, representing the western Adirondack counties
We have developed and copyrighted a logo to identify products grown or made in the Adirondack region. Along with the logo, we have printed signs, stickers, and banners for members’ use.
Three Farms DVD
Adirondack Harvest produced a DVD entitled “Three Farms.” Videographer Ben Stechschulte documented the workings of three local farms to be used as an educational video for farmers to see what other farmers are doing. Clover Mead Farm, owned by Sam and Denise Hendren in Keeseville, produces certified organic farmstead cheeses. Mike Davis at the Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm encourages local farmers to incorporate organic wheat rotations on their land in the winter and spring. Rivermede Farm in Keene Valley is run by Rob Hastings. Rob uses season extension techniques to provide more variety for more of the year. The DVD hopes to promote the idea that there is plenty of market for Adirondack agricultural products. For a donation of $12 (or $15 if we’re mailing to you) you can receive one of these DVDs.
Small Farm Rising DVD
In 2010/2011 we produced the film “Small Farm Rising” working again with videographer Ben Stechschulte and partnering with Mountain Lake PBS. This film documents three first generation farms using Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) models as well as direct marketing to stores, restaurants, and farmers markets. Featured are Fledging Crow Vegetables in Keeseville, Essex Farm in Essex, and Asgaard Farm in AuSable Valley. All three farms are Adirondack Harvest members! Small, modern, sustainable and rooted int he community, these local farms are in the forefront of a movement growing across the nation. Asgaard Farm is family owned and operated, producing award-winning goat milk cheeses. Essex Farm is a full food, year-round, horse powered CSA. Fledging Crow is an organic vegetable farm run by two youthful entrepreneurs. Small Farm Rising invites you to explore the sustainable practices, creative business models and deep connections to the communities of these three small farms in the shadow of the Adirondack Mountiains. Experience one dull growing season through the eyes of first-generation farmers as they enrich and enliven their rural environments. For a donation of $20 to $25 dollars you can receive one of these DVDs.
Booths at Shows
We sponsored “A Taste of the North Country” at the Northern New York Ag Expo. This booth provided samples of a variety of produce, cheese, jams, meat, and condiments produced in the Adirondack region. Additionally we have taken displays of local farm products to the Farm Day at the New York State Capitol, to New York Farm Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and to the Winterfest in Central Park.
Farmers’ Market Promotions
To support local farmers’ markets and the farmers selling at them, Adirondack Harvest cost-shared extensive advertising in regional tourism magazines. Additionally, we cost-shared the purchase of signs and banners for farmers’ markets. We also list and promote every farmers market in the Adirondack region on our website. If you know of a market that’s not listed, please contact us!
Farmers’ Market Poster
In 2010 our Southern Chapter produced a stunningly beautiful poster to promote farmers markets in the Adirondacks. Click here to see it! Contact the Adirondack Harvest office if you would like to post them in your town or at your farmers market.
Adirondack Harvest encourages and supports the development of community gardens throughout the Adirondacks. Home and community gardens are, of course, the ultimate source of local food for your table. Click here to visit our web page with information about community gardens!
Greenhouse Mentoring Program
With funding from the Cornell Small Farms Program, we conducted a mentoring program in which experienced local greenhouse growers mentored local farmers interested in starting greenhouse production.
Beginning in 2001, we held annual Harvest Festivals. The first three were at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. The 2004 and 2005 Festivals were week-long events, culminating in a Harvest Dinner at the Essex County Fairgrounds. Farm tours and Taste-Offs at farmers’ markets have been popular elements of the Harvest Festival. For the next 6 years our Harvest Festivals were member driven, with individual farms holding tours and dinners. We currently sponsor one large festival at the Essex County Fairgrounds in September
Workshops and Trainings
We provide training for consumers to expand their use of locally-produced foods and for farmers to expand our supply of locally-produced food. Adirondack Harvest has partnered with the Champlain Valley Foodshed Coalition to help fund their workshops for farmers and provocative speakers for public discussions of farm and food issues. Cornell Cooperative Extension organizes and supports educational efforts and trainings aimed both at producers and at consumers. We have also funded private consultations for specialty producers, such as cheese making, and funded farmer participation in workshops outside our area. Adirondack Harvest has worked with Eat Smart New York! to educate consumers about the advantages of buying local and how to use unprocessed food to improve their diets.
Adirondack Harvest Cookbook
The Cookbook is in loose-leaf format so that folks can take favorite recipes to market with them and so that we can easily add future supplements. A small donation of $8 to Adirondack Harvest entitles you to one of these cookbooks.
Adirondack Harvest Delivery Pool
In 2004 and 2005 we sponsored an Adirondack Harvest Delivery Pool, linking local growers with restaurants and stores in the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake area, taking orders and delivering local farm products weekly. In the fall of 2005, this successful program was spun off into the Adirondack Farm Express as a private enterprise. Rob McDowell, owner and operator, was a valuable resource to the farming community during the 2006 growing season. In the fall of 2006 Rob disbanded Adirondack Farm Express to devote himself full-time to his vineyard.