farm

Poughkeepsie Farm Project Kicks Off 2019 Season

by Anne Maxfield on April 8, 2019

Accidental Locavore Farm and PlantsAs you know I’m a big fan of Poughkeepsie Farm Project and I can’t wait for May 4th and 11th when they’ll kick off the season with their annual Farm Fest and Plant Sale!

Come join us from 9-3 for this family-friendly event that also celebrates the farm’s 20th anniversary.

The Farm Fest and Plant Sale is a fun event that includes hands-on gardening activities and storytelling for children, farm tours, wildflower walks, food and live music.

The Plant Sale offers 100 varieties of perennial and annual flowers and vegetable starts, including a selection of native plants, medicinal herbs and flowers to attract bees and hummingbirds to your garden.

A craft farmers’ market will feature Plan Bee Farm Brewery, Glorie Farm Winery, Fishkill Farms Treasury Cider, North River Roasters and Inquiring Minds Bookstore, as well as grass-fed beef, hand-woven baskets, Poughkeepsie-made pottery and Poughkeepsie Farm Project-made herbal products.

Accidental Locavore Farm CSAYou’ll also be able to sign up for a CSA Share with Poughkeepsie Farm Project (but you might not want to wait that long and risk them being sold out). With the CSA you’ll get 23 weeks of super-fresh, nutritious, delicious farm-grown produce — PLUS there’s exclusive pick-your-own access each week so you can bring home fresh flowers, berries, herbs, and more. It’s flexible, affordable, convenient and fun.

Unlike some CSA’s you have a choice of what delicious veggies you receive. If fruit is your thing, there’s also a separate fruit CSA that runs from July through the fall. Visit farmproject.org/csa for more information, or stop by Farm Fest & Plant Sale to meet the farmers, tour the farm and learn more about which CSA option is right for you.

“We have been working hard for the last 20 years to serve as an important community resource connecting food, farm, and the people of Poughkeepsie,” said Ray Armater, Executive Director, Poughkeepsie Farm Project. “We are excited to get our community involved, and to offer this exciting and fun-filled opportunity for folks to meet our farmers and experience this unique urban farmstead.”

Accidental Locavore Farm PlantsFounded in 1999, Poughkeepsie Farm Project provides innovative garden and nutrition education to over 4,000 youth in the Poughkeepsie City School District. It is also the City of Poughkeepsie’s largest farm, growing 200,000 pounds of produce for a 600-member community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. The farm donates 35,000 pounds of food annually to area food pantries and organizations including Dutchess Outreach and Hudson River Housing.

For more information on PFP, the Farm Fest and Plant Sale, the CSA options and how you can support the farm and its missions, visit www.farmproject.org.

See you at the farm!

Thanks to PFP for the photos!

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JSK Cattle Company

by Anne Maxfield on December 17, 2018

Accidental Locavore JSK Cattle SignOn a back road outside of Millbrook, you’ll find JSK Cattle Company.

Don’t let the name fool you, there’s much more than just cattle at this farm.

Heather Kading and her husband Jason oversee a menagerie that includes a welcoming committee of 5 goats, 2 flocks of chickens (one for laying eggs, the other for dinner), some pigs (loving this mud-producing fall) and cattle.

Heather originally trained as a massage therapist but got side-tracked and is now trying to figure out how to meld that with farming.

“The goats are really good therapy. Anyone who goes out there and plays with them starts smiling and it relaxes them. It’s really cool.”

Accidental Locavore JSK Cattle GoatsThey’ve built a farm store where you can find all their pork, chicken, and beef. If you’ve got freezer space, they’ll happily sign you up for a half or quarter of a cow or pig. Don’t worry, if you’re dealing with a standard freezer, there are plenty of good cuts to take home and enjoy and they conveniently tell you how much freezer space a ¼ pig will take up (about 2 cubic feet, if you’re curious).

“We met showing cattle in 4H when we were 12.” Heather says. Jason grew up on a farm close by. They both went away to school in different locations and got back together running the local 4H club and the rest is history.

When they started to have children, they became concerned about where their food was coming from—what they were feeding them. They started raising more cattle for beef and selling it in halves and quarters from their basement freezers.

As you can imagine, loading and unloading large (heavy) parts of cows up and down stairs was a lot of heavy lifting. So, they built the farm store, selling at first just their pasture-raised beef (hormone and antibiotic free), adding in 2017 grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, chickens and eggs. Last year they even decided to take on turkeys, but that turned out to be too much at one time, but it might be a project for 2019, so stay tuned.

Accidental Locavore JSK Cattle ChickensAlong with their meats and eggs, there are local products too, like yummy Cara-Sel, Zoe’s ice cream, local sodas and maple syrups.

And keep in touch with them, goat yoga may make its way onto the farm soon!

Besides the farm store, you can find their meats at several local restaurants, and the Taste of NY Store on the Taconic Parkway and other local stores.

JSK Cattle Company

150 Chestnut Ridge Road

Millbrook NY 12545

914-456-9051

www.jskcattlecompany.com

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7 Tips For Finding the Right CSA

by Anne Maxfield on April 16, 2018

Accidental Locavore CSA LettuceThis is the time of year when we all start yearning for anything fresh.

A CSA or Community Sponsored Agriculture share is a great way to support local farmers and put plenty of great produce on your table.

While a few years ago, this was a pretty new concept, now there are CSAs for almost everything from fruits and vegetables to coffees and breads.

How do you pick the best CSA for you?

Accidental Locavore CSAThese were my criteria for picking one and while yours will probably be different, here are 7 tips:

  1. A convenient pick-up place, day and time. You need to think about where and when you want to have an abundance of produce. Do you cook and entertain during the weekends? Or will you use it mostly during the week? When will you have time to wash/prep stuff? Do you have fridge space?
  2. A reasonable share for the number of people in your household. If you hate wasting food and sometimes feel like the kitchen version of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice–cooking as fast as you can, only to have a whole new box show up, you might want to split a share with a neighbor or friend. Some CSAs offer half shares or will match you up with other members who are looking to share the bounty.
  3. For some, organic is important; I’m more into sustainable practices, but if organic matters, only look for those farmers.
  4. A farmer/farm referral. Like most business relationships, it’s all about doing business with people you know and like. We originally joined Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s CSA because a woman farmer I knew was working there and I liked her and her agricultural point of view.
  5. Choice. One of the things I love most about PFP is the ability to choose from about a dozen or more weekly offerings. I can get carrots when I want them and skip the beets. They also have pick-your-own options which add herbs, berries and flowers to your share if you’re willing to go out in the fields. Over the years they’ve added the options to add a fruit share, coffee, meat and even a winter share to get you through the dark months.
  6. What foodstuffs you’re looking for (and can use up). When we joined, we were looking mostly for produce. However, there are many CSAs that offer meat, poultry, bread, eggs and other foods. A few minutes on the Internet should find you just what you need.
  7. Giving back to the community. This is more of an extra credit thing, but Poughkeepsie Farm Project is in the middle of an urban area and gives back through education and by providing produce to local families.

Accidental Locavore CSA shareWhatever you decide, a CSA is a great way of exploring new foods, while supporting farmers.

But act soon, many of the most popular may be sold out for the season!

 

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Bounty from the Box, the CSA Farm Cookbook

by Anne Maxfield on June 12, 2017

Accidental Locavore Bounty From the Box CookbookAnother cookbook. Even with careful (and constant) pruning, they threaten to overtake my office.

Because of that and the availability of almost everything online, I’m getting very picky about whether a cookbook get a seat at the table, shelves, floor, or donation pile.

When Mi Ae Lipe, the author of Bounty from the Box, the CSA Farm Cookbook, contacted me about the book, honestly, I was pretty lukewarm about it. The fact that it was months before I was going to see anything from my CSA may have played a part in it too.

Then the book arrived. It’s huge.

Think Manhattan phone book huge.

OMG what am I going to do with this thing?

But it’s amazing!

Accidental Locavore Zucchini With Flowers from CookbookForget about figuring out what to do with the fifth week of zucchini from your CSA, this book is indispensable for anyone who buys produce.

Besides what you’d expect–cooking ideas and recipes, all the fruit, vegetables and herbs she writes about have guides to selection, storage, seasonality, nutrition and even whether they can be frozen.

There are side-bars with book and cookbook recommendations, quotes and even the pros and cons of joining a CSA.

One of my criteria for judging a cookbook, and the reason I prefer a real book to my e-reader, is the index. I don’t think I’ve ever raved about an index, but Mi Ae has one that’s just recipes by ingredients. So, if you have a mess of arugula and want to do something with it, there are a bunch of recipes that use arugula giving you lots to choose from.

Accidental Locavore First CSA Pickup for CookbookThe only downside to this index? You’ll see at least another four things you’d like to try.

The upside is that if you have a choice at your CSA (like we do) or farmers’ market, you’ll get brave and pick up a bunch of something you’re not familiar with because you’ve got help at home.

Who knows, your new favorite vegetable may be lurking there!

 

 

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