LEP & Farm Hub E-News Fall 2015
  • ProFarmer Training Program
  • Seed Library Grows at the Farm Hub
  • Applehoni to Raise Funds for Food Bank
  • Root Crops: Extending the Growing Season 
  • Small Grains Fall Planting
  • Farm Stand Thanks Community

ProFarmer Training Program - Now Accepting Applications

We are pleased to be accepting applications for the Farm Hub's 2016 Professional Farmer Training (ProFarmer) Program.

ProFarmer is a multi-year, residential training program for those with farming experience who are ready to take the next step towards owning or managing a farm enterprise in the Hudson Valley.  Integral to the Farm Hub's core vision to strengthen the food system through investing in the next generation of farmers, the program will be welcoming its first group of participants in April of 2016.

The Program:  This full-time, year-round program presents a unique opportunity for farmers to work in a robust learning environment under the mentorship of the Farm Hub’s management team.  Through both classroom education and on-the-job training, trainees will gain high quality technical skills, knowledge of the Hudson Valley food system, leadership and communication skills, business expertise, and deep experience with ecologically regenerative farming practices. 
Our Curriculum:  Our mission-aligned curriculum includes training and coursework designed across multiple categories such as: 

    •    Crop planning and production
    •    Marketing, sales and value chain development
    •    Human development, leadership and management
    •    Budget, finance, and enterprise development

Application deadline is November 30, 2015. For the complete program description and application materials, visit: hvfarmhub.org/farmer-training


Hudson Valley Seed Library Grows at the Farm Hub

From time to time during the growing season, Ken Greene and colleagues from the Hudson Valley Seed Library could be seen walking through the Farm Hub fields near Hurley Mountain Road, checking on rows of meticulously planted squash and broccoli. What was the "Seed Squad" doing at the Farm Hub?  

Because certain vegetables can easily cross-pollinate with other varieties of the same species, projects that involve reproducing reliable seed can be challenging. Fortunately, this year the Farm Hub was able to provide the Seed Library with space for a satellite growing station where, with no similar species growing nearby, the likelihood of interbreeding would be significantly lessened. 

This was particularly important for the broccoli variety planted this year. Building on a participatory breeding project initiated by the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC), the Seed Library planted 1,000 plants of an open pollinated broccoli variety specifically developed for organic farmers. 

Visit our photo gallery...

Applehoni to Raise Funds for Food Bank of the Hudson Valley

The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley has announced the creation of a new food product to be featured in stores across the region in 2016.  Conceived as a fundraiser for the non-profit Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Applehoni is a vegan honey alternative made from Hudson Valley apples and infused with three natural flavors: blackberry, orange blossom, and natural wildflower. The distinctive 9oz. test jars were recently unveiled at the Community Foundations annual garden party held at Montgomery Place in Dutchess County.
Once in stores, these “honi” jars will serve as a source of funding for critical efforts to tackle food insecurity in the region.  All profits from Applehoni will go to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to support programs that provide farm fresh food to underserved communities from Newburgh to Albany. 

Part of a larger, multi-year grant from Local Economies Project, the product launch is an example of how grant awards can be creatively leveraged by charitable organizations to generate self-sustaining financial support over the long term. 

Extending the Growing Season through Root Crops

The ability to sell product year-round can be critical to the health of a farm enterprise. But with a growing season that ends in the fall, the Northeast offers few opportunities for vegetable farmers to generate income from agriculture over the winter months. This year, carrots, beets, and parsnips were grown at the Farm Hub in a field trial designed to explore root crops and their potential for extending the season. Because they store well and can be sold long after harvest time, these vegetables can be of considerable value to Hudson Valley farmers.  

“More and more growers are storing root crops and selling them through the winter to provide a steady income throughout the year,” explains Crystal Stewart of Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program (CCE ENYCHP), who organized the root crops variety trial at the Farm Hub. “Root crops can help Hudson Valley growers stay profitable through the winter, cushioning the margins over more popular but often less profitable leafy greens.”  

Small Grains Fall Planting

On a beautiful late September day, Cornell University researchers returned to the Farm Hub’s northernmost fields to plant a series of carefully selected winter grains. The planting activity, the last of the 2015 growing season, marked a mid-way point for the small grains field trials, a multi-year collaboration between the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County.  

Click here to find out what made 2015 a challenging growing season for small grains, to view preliminary results from test plots harvested in July, and to find out about the next phase for the trials. 

Photo courtesy of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County

Farm Stand Thanks Community as Season Winds Down

Cool weather, hot cider, and pumpkin picking marked the end of another successful season at the Farm Hub's Farm Stand on Route 209 in Hurley.  But more than fresh produce and local products, it was the visitors that made the farm stand a true “hub” of activity from June through October.
"We really appreciate the support of the community," said Loretta Gill, who managed the Farm Stand once again this year.  "It was nice seeing the mix of customers – old friends and neighbors, and a new steady stream of people interested in the work going on at the Farm Hub. It was great this summer to have additional staff members joining us too.”

New staff members enjoyed learning about LEP's work in the regional food system and talking to customers about specialty produce grown on the farm.  "I loved introducing people to obscure veggie varieties," said shift manager Katy Kondrat. "They often came back with glowing reviews of trying a new food - ground cherries, fairytale eggplant, or even just curly kale - for the first time."

Saturday, October 31st was the Farm Stand's final day for the 2015 season. Shelves were cleared, excess produce boxed for donation to local food pantries, and the hay wagon was pulled back to the farm on Hurley Mountain Road.  Check back with us next spring for our opening day schedule.  In the meantime, continue to take advantage of opportunities to shop locally as some area farm stands remain open through late fall.  See you in 2016!

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