Town of Clinton FARM TOUR, October 2, 2010

On October 2, 2010, more than 100 Town of Clinton residents toured three different farms and learned about their operations and products.

On Schultzville Road Tatra Farm, run by partners Patricia Garthwaite Towle and Pavel Blaho, is currently celebrating their 25th year in business and is ranked #1 breeder of show jumpers in the United States. Pat gathered residents in a horse show ring to demonstrate training young horses in free jumping. Their Grand Prix jumper, stallion, Magnum, also demonstrated his beautiful form as he entered the ring and responded to Pat’s directions. A training session was held in an outdoor ring to demonstrate working with young horses which are being prepared for the show ring. Pat jumped Blue Danube, a six-year-old developing Grand Prix jumper, and demonstrated the process of training the talented gray horse.

At Nature’s Healing Farm on Hollow Road, Andrea and Tony Carvalho, demonstrated how they grow herbs and heritage vegetables from seed, stressing the economy and importance of creating diversity in plants grown. The health of farming practices was stressed, with encouragement of local biodiversity increasing native beneficial insect predators, such as wasps, dragonflies and ladybugs, thus requiring fewer sprays to protect the plants. Flowers are grown from cuttings are grown in greenhouses until large enough to market in New York City. The farm hopes to become certified organic in the future.

In the barn at the intersection of Pumpkin Lane and Salt Point Turnpike owned by Stephen Daniel, Don Lewis demonstrated his 10 year effort to develop grinding facilities to produce flour made from local grains in his mill, Wild Hive Farm Community Grain. He showed several mills which grind grains provided by local farmers. A small amount of the flour produced is baked into breads and other products. Most flour is sold to bakeries and stores in the Hudson Valley and New York City. Don described his flour as “nutrient dense” because the grain is so fresh when it is ground that it would grow, if planted. He stated that, 100 years ago, the farm economy was based on the growing of grains. He feels that his efforts are beginning to show success with increased interest among people in understanding where their food is produced, in consuming foods with better nutrition and eating local foods.

After the farm tour, residents gathered at the Creek Meeting House in Clinton Corners where they enjoyed a lunch prepared by Wild Hive Farm Bakery. The cost of the lunch was covered by local donors. Town Supervisor, Jeff Burns, and consultant planner, Mary Ann Johnson, spoke briefly about the Farmland Protection Plan for the Town of Clinton. It was a beautiful autumn day and all enjoyed the tour and delicious lunch!


            On Saturday, September 12, 2009, many Clinton residents toured three local farms representing different types of successful agricultural operations. 

The Adriance farm on North Creek Road, and visible from Route 9G, had been in farming since the early 1800’s.  John Adriance showed residents the “Dutch” style barn which was restored, in part, with funds from New York State.  Heritage breeds are the specialty of the farm, with Cheviot sheep, Suffolk punch work horses and long-horned Scottish cattle.  The farm manager, David Lomasney, grows beef cattle on their many acres of pasture.  Beef, lamb and pork are sold by the farm at the Hyde Park farm market.  The farm is a gateway to Clinton in the southwest.  

Edition Farm on Rusky Lane and Spooky Hollow Roads, in business since 1986, is a thoroughbred horse farm where mares give birth to foals which are raised with professional expertise, focusing on the best nutrition and health care.  Owner, Vivien Malloy, expertly showed pairs of mares and foals, as well as weanlings and yearlings, from prize-winning blood lines.  The solar barn was a special feature of the tour since the farm takes pride in being environmentally friendly.  The barn is totally powered by solar cells.  The flooring is constructed of recycled tires.  Bedding material in stalls for brood mares is recycled cardboard.  Mrs. Malloy explained that owners of New York-bred horses qualify for returns  from the track.  Edition Farm was named 2006 Breeder of the Year by the New York Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

At Sunny Gardens North on Deer Ridge Drive, the public toured three new thermostatically-controlled greenhouses built by owner, Sean Giles, to supply annual plants for his business on Route 9D in Wappingers.  Mr. Giles demonstrated how he uses efficient methods to seed and transplant plants into larger containers for sale.  He uses only environmentally-sound methods of reducing plant diseases and uses waste rice hulls, which are agricultural waste, for drainage in soil mixes, rather than vermiculite.  The public viewed the field of irrigated chrysanthemums which will be sold this fall. 

At the Creek Meeting House on Salt Point Turnpike Clinton 150 residents gathered for an excellent lunch made entirely from local foods provided by Wild Hive Farm Bakery and paid for by contributions from The Omega Institute, the Clinton Area Business Association, Dennis Quinn, Shirley Jones, Trip Sinnott and Mike DiGiacomio.   After lunch Mary Ann Johnson, planner with Greenplan, described the work of the Open Space and Farmland Protection Committee as it works to draft a plan for the town.  She presented population projections, maps of natural resources and the need for Clinton to plan to protect valued open space and agricultural lands.  Comments and questions from the public indicated positive interest in the planning process.

On Saturday, October 11, 2008, about 100 residents toured farms and a sawmill operation in Clinton. Visitors were greeted by members of the Cookingham family who have been farming on Primrose Hill Farm on Fiddler’s Bridge Road since about 1800. Robert and Bob Schoch demonstrated how holiday trees were planted and trimmed and how the surrounding fields were cared for to maintain the trees. Viola Schoch has photographs of families which have been returning to their farm for 30 years to cut holiday trees, some from as far away as Long Island. The Dutch barn is an example of the 17th century history of the family farm.
    Greg Quinn of Walnut Lane gave tours of his fields of currants, a new venture in farming in New York State. Greg explained the process of growing and caring for currants and spoke about the high nutrient value of the fruit. Greg is marketing black currant juice in stores throughout the area.
    Michael Seelbach and Jeffrey Babcock, owners of Custom Forest Products on Meadowbrook Lane demonstrated the cutting of timbers to manufacture sheds in business. Forester Lou Turrito gave tours of the efficient operation. Other land on the farm are involved in the production of hay, corn and livestock.
    Clinton residents then gathered at West Clinton Firehouse #1 for a pot luck lunch and discussion how best to protect Clinton’s beautiful open space and farmland. Many excellent ideas were expressed as residents thought about how best to plan for the future.

June 28, 2008 and September 20, 2008

Sunny, warm fall weather greeted 140 Clinton residents on Saturday, September 20, 2008, as they toured farms and a hunt club to enjoy some of the scenic open space of the town. As part of Clinton’s efforts to develop a farmland protection plan through a grant awarded by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the town hopes to make residents aware of the variety of farms and open space.
    Residents were welcomed at the Casperkill Gun Club by two Southlands Farm Belgian draft horses pulling a wagon through a portion of the property owned by this sportsman’s association. Viewing land which is maintained as forest and open field to encourage game animals and healthy forests, participants learned that the club was formed in 1935 in Poughkeepsie and moved to Clinton. The club has purchased several properties over time, growing to their present 536 acres. They have improved an older building to use as a lodge. The 46 members live throughout the New York metropolitan area. Some members are not hunters, but belong to the club for the quiet enjoyment of the beautiful land.
    Kross Creek Farm on Centre Road has belonged to Bill Hamilton and Peter Kross since February, 2008. They have developed a dressage training facility, which boards horses being trained in all levels of dressage by Brandy Riviera. Dressage, a training regime which originated in the military in about 400 A.D., is often called “ballet on horseback.” Residents watched Brandy doing a training ride on one of the specially-bred horses and toured the stable and riding arena, which features a new riding surface, a sprinkler system, mirrors along one side of the arena for viewing the horses and riders and piped in music. Barns and fields are being restored for the use of this new dressage training farm.
    Tale of the Hawk Farm on Fiddler’s Bridge Road, with owners and caretakers Lenore Maroney and Dottie Distal, has restored barns and shed of a farm which dates back to the original Nine Partners’ Patent. Currently, sheep owned by Clinton resident, Bill Martin, are pastured on the farm. Hayfields are being cared for and cut by Phil Keck, who also has restored the old farm buildings. On this beautiful fall day, Clinton residents walked to the hill above the farm buildings to view the pastures and old apple orchards, which the owners are restoring and replanting, as well as Long Pond, which adjoins the farm.
    The Omega Institute, located on Long Pond, invited Clinton residents to eat lunch in their dining room, providing delicious food grown on local farms, including bread and rolls prepared with local grains and baked in Clinton Corners. Skip Backus, Director of Omega, welcomed Clinton residents, stating that The Omega Center supports the preservation of farms and open space as part of their efforts for sustainability. Town Supervisor, Jeff Burns, thanked Omega for being a good neighbor and expressed hopes that Clinton will develop a strong farm and open space protection plan.

On Saturday, June 28, 2008,100 Clinton residents attended a celebration of Clinton’s farms held at the 1777 Creek Meeting House to hear David Haight, Director of the American Farmland Trust for New York speak about the importance of planning for the protection of the town’s remaining farms. Mr. Haight told the group that they had a unique opportunity through a grant awarded by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets to develop strategies to assist farms and ensure their survival in the future. Many positive comments and offers of support were made by residents.
    The event featured a light brunch of local foods, most of which were donated by local farmers and markets, including white and chocolate milk from Hudson Valley Fresh, eggs from Knoll Krest Farm, black currant nectar from Greg Quinn, baked goods from Wild Hive Farm and strawberries from Wonderland Nursery. Beautiful flowering plants were provided by Oak Grove Farm. Phyllis Feder of Clinton Vineyard spoke about the history of their prize-winning farm. Pat Hancock explained his role as manager of Meadowland Farm, which had been in his family for many years.
    After the presentations, the residents toured three local farms. The town’s only dairy farm, managed by John Conklin, on the property of the O’Leary family, was a popular stop. John Conklin’s diary operation is a part of the Hudson Valley Fresh diary cooperative, featuring milk from cows which are not fed growth hormones. Tours of Meadowland Farm, owned by Michele and Judah Kraushaar and managed by Pat Hancock, featured grass fed beef, hay and holiday trees. Phyllis and Ben Feder of Clinton Vineyard showed their orchard and wine-making center and featured samples of their highly recognized seyval blanc and cassis, made from black currants.
    Clinton will sponsor more farm tours in the fall. Discussions are taking place with consultants from Greenplan, Inc. to map the town’s open space, analyze markets for agriculture, assist farmers with management issues and alter the town laws to support farming and open space protection