Join the Adventure!
Eating locally grown food is a popular movement that shows no sign of abating—and it's easy to see why. Fresh, juicy, colorful food from local farms is naturally more delicious and nutritious than processed food. Plus, our local farms make Hudson Valley landscapes some of the most beautiful in the world—emerald fields; swathes of sunflowers; haystacks in the autumn; horses, cattle, goats, and sheep basking and braying in the sunshine. It's also a great feeling to support the local community—family farms that are the antithesis of industrial agriculture, some of them in continuous operation for hundreds of years.
But it can be difficult to connect with local farmers. We see them at farmers markets, and that's wonderful, but part of the local food movement is understanding where and how our food is grown—to experience the environment that creates the food that becomes part of our very bodies. That's important to me—I'm an author, artist, and New York City migrant; I moved to the Mid-Hudson Valley to pursue my love of locally grown food and cuisine. In the last ten years I've gotten to know
Part of the local food movement is understanding where and how our food is grown—to experience the environment that creates the food that becomes part of our very bodies.
many local farmers, visited their farms, and discovered what a wonderful, fascinating community they comprise. Lots of farmers are shy folk—they spend many of their days working alone, out on a tractor, in a field or a barn, tending to crops and animals.
It's challenging work to keep a farm thriving in today's environment, not just physically, but mentally and economically, as well. (Most farmers even have second jobs to make ends meet.) So farmers are excellent at farming, but sometimes less good at reaching out and introducing themselves, or inviting folks to visit their farms.
That's why my studio created the annual Stick to Local Farms Adventure Map: it's a combination guide and game. You can use the map to plan visits to over two dozen Rondout Valley farms and farmers markets, then pick up free stickers to add to the map.
Fresh, juicy, colorful food from local farms is naturally more delicious and nutritious than processed food.
There is a fabulous variety of farms included: rustic you-pick farms; beautiful horse farms; fragrant, colorful flower farms; bountiful fruit orchards; a couple of city farms; an award-winning maple sugar farm; and even a farm brewery growing hops and rye (and pigs).
One is the oldest farm in the USA, another is a high-tech vertical farm, and a couple of others practice the innovative, yet old-as-dirt, permaculture method. They are all independent and delightfully idiosyncratic—you will never forget these amazing, dedicated farmers. They are the real deal!
To sweeten your tour of the Valley, you can earn special gifts as you add stickers to your map. Collect 10 and you'll be rewarded with a Stick to Local Farms Cookbook and passes to play farm-themed Homegrown Mini-Golf. Collect all the stickers and you'll get the super awesome completion sticker and a market bag of farm goodies—not to mention a shout-out on our Facebook page and website! The valley is small enough that you can easily get 10 stickers in a weekend or even a day; a few more days of dedication and you can have bragging rights of completing the whole map!
The Stick to Local Farms website (Stick2Local.com) has more stuff for you. There's a Google Map you can access on your phone to help navigate. There are delicious, easy, locally grown recipes from the Stick to Local Farms Cookbook (also available online and at farm stands). If you like, you can choose a themed tour of farms—a special spring or autumn tour, a rainy day tour, even a baked goods tour. There are bicycle tours from 8 to 25 miles long, with cue sheets and elevation maps. And we've got a gallery of great farm photographs, many of which are sent to us by adventurers like you.
Free Stick to Local Farms maps are in racks tucked all over the place in Ulster and Dutchess counties, on Route 87 rest stops, at the farms themselves, or through the Stick To Local Farms website.
Whether you collect one sticker or all of them, you, your family, and friends will have had a wonderful adventure, memories that last a lifetime, great photos and stories to share, a kitchen full of great local produce, and the well-earned feeling that comes with knowing that you've just knit our world together a little more tightly. Stick to local farms and they'll be around to stick with you!
Free Stick to Local Farms maps can be found in racks tucked all over the place in Ulster and Dutchess Counties, at rest stops along I-87 (New York State Thruway), at the farms themselves, or at: stick2local.com
stick to local farms
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