by: Matt Boscow
Each year Arcadians at the ADK semester travel to Essex County to experience some local farms. After a morning field trip in our Land Use Change class we headed out to our first destination, Fledging Crow Farm. Here we met two cool guys named Ian and Lucas. Five years ago they started a small five acre vegetable farm that has now grown into a 40 acre luscious local farm. While there they were in the midst of harvesting kale, around 1,000 bundles for their CSA shares. We left with a big bag of fresh carrots and a bag of mixed greens and headed on to our next farm.
Just a few miles down the road, we arrived at North Country Creamery, greeted by Steven, the humble dairy farmer. After a short introduction, Steven led us down a short path to their cheese cave, which was filled with rolls of organic cheese. North Country Creamery has supplied us with their delicious yogurt throughout the semester here at Arcadia. We were thrilled to meet the actual cows which produce the yogurt that fills our stomach with joy every morning. As Friday came to a close, we walked just down the road to the Ausable Brewery where we enjoyed live music from local farmers, fresh crepes, and ginger soda under the magnificent harvest moon.
The following morning we awoke to a beautiful sunrise that illuminated the clouds on North Country Creameries’ property. We spent from 6:00-7:00 a.m. observing the process of milking their cows, while getting a taste of some raw milk, which we also put in our warm coffee, preparing for our big day ahead.
After breakfast we migrated over to Reber Rock Farm to meet Nathan, a band from the night before and his lovely farming partner Gwen. Every year Adirondack students come to Reber Rock Farm to experience the slaughter of a chicken at a small local farm. Students are invited to participate, and many of us were able to partake in the process of respectfully killing and processing a chicken. This experience was valuable for everybody, experiencing what goes into the process of getting the chickens from the field onto our plates. After the chickens, we were shown what else goes into a local farm, seeing the horses for moving lumber, and cows and pigs that are raised for slaughter.
Following a long, exciting morning we left for our final destination of our Essex County Farm tour. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, we perused around the Adirondack Harvest Festival which showcased local farmers and their products ranging from wine, to cheese, to delicious homemade vanilla ice cream. We were able to revisit the amazing farmers that we had spent the last 24 hours learning from and working with. To end our day at the festival, we listened to a panel of the local farmers, emphasizing the importance of buying local and spreading the word. One of the members on the panel, Erin Wolf, producer of the film King Corn, spoke about his restaurant, Deer’s Head Inn, which features the produce from the local farmers.
Fueled by hunger, we decided to stop in Elizabethtown and dine in Wolf’s restaurant. We feasted on the local produce, supporting the farmers we spent the weekend working and learning with.
This trip has sparked conversation at our own dinner table about what it means to eat local and what we can do to support the movement in the future.