Farmshed CNY’s Spring 2012 IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign is Live!

By Neil B. Miller | March 12th, 2012

Farmshed CNY’s Spring 2012 IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign is live! (Click on the link, and contribute!)

We hope to raise at least $6,000.00 over the next two months, primarily to undertake a summer farmers market tour to promote the Farmshed 2.0 mobile web and web applications (the web app will be released on April 15th). If God is willing and the Subaru keeps running (it hit 283K over the weekend), that’s two farmers markets each week for 25 weeks, from mid May to Mid-November.

We’ve got a lot of great rewards lined up for contributors. Everyone who contributes $10.00 or more will receive a small sample of soil from one of the top organic farms in Central New York: Alambria Springs Farm and Frosty Morning Farm have already donated soil, and Greyrock Farm CSA and Quarry Brook Farm have offered more soil if we need it.

Above that, we’ve got biodynamic, open-pollinated flower and vegetable seeds from Turtle Tree Seed Company; organic oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies mixes from Organically Hip; fruit salsas from our friends at Old Goat Foods; dried Shiitake mushroom powder from Fruit of the Fungi, roasted coffee beans from Cafe Kubal, and that’s just for starters. We’ll be offering more rewards from other local producers as the campaign progresses.

The success of the fundraising campaign depends largely on friends helping to spread the word by sharing the campaign on their social networks. We need your friends to be our friends. So please, give generously, give often, tell your friends, wake the kids, scare the neighbors, dance with the animals, do whatever it takes to get out the word about our IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, and help make this campaign a success. And thanks! We’re deeply, deeply thankful for your contributions!


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2011 Butternut Valley Summer Harvest Festival, Morris, NY, Thursday, August 11, 2011

By Neil B. Miller | August 9th, 2011

Three times a charm for BVA summer harvest festival.

The Butternut Valley Alliance’s third annual Summer Harvest Festival will take place on Aug. 11 in Guy Rathbun Park, Morris, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and everyone is invited.

The festival is held in conjunction with the weekly Morris Farmers’ Market, which the festival promotes. The market features upwards of ten vendors, hailing from as nearby as Morris and as far away as South Brookfield in Madison County, and offers fresh produce, cheeses, meat and poultry, maple syrup, baked goods and plants.

There also will be a display of farm animals by local 4H members.

Free samples of dishes prepared with locally grown vegetables by the Empire House Restaurant will be served, as well as ice cream and yogurt. Baskets of produce will be given away as part of a free raffle.

Entertainment includes a full lineup of live music, including the Doug Ernst Family Band, Expectations with Lisa Sorensen, Tributary with Kathy Shimberg & Friends, and Ken Held (formerly of Fetish Lane) and Friends.

The BVA will have tables with information on the organization’s activities, such as nature and wildflower walks, boat trips on the Butternut Creek, water quality monitoring and gas-drilling education. The BVA’s “Guide to Local Farm Food,” will also be available. Colorful tee-shirts with the event’s logo will be sold by BVA, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to encourage the preservation and protection of the environmental qualities, farming and cultural heritage, economic viability, open space and village charms of the entire watershed.

The sponsors of the festival, who are non-profit organizations with compatible missions, will also have informational tables. They include the Otsego Land Trust, Otsego 2000, Otsego County Conservation Association, and the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship. The Butternut Valley Spinners will also be exhibiting.

Elected state officials, including Senator James Seward, Assemblymen Peter Lopez and Bill Magee have been invited, as have county and municipal officials from Morris, Butternuts, New Lisbon, and Pittsfield.

“We are pleased this event has been so successful and has become an annual calendar event for residents of the Butternut Valley. They have an opportunity to buy healthy and tasty local food, hear great music, see their friends and neighbors, and generally savor the pleasure of living in this valley,” said BVA president, Bob Eklund of New Lisbon.


Tags: , , ,

Buy Local Week: There’s An App For That.

By Neil B. Miller | July 13th, 2011

Madison County’s Buy Local Week, which begins Sunday, July 17, 2011 with the Fresh! Gala fundraiser at Monanfran Farm in Canastota, is one of Central New York’s true agritourism success stories. An annual celebration and promotion of farms and farming, Buy Local Week attracts thousands of families from Syracuse and surrounding towns and cities, introduces city folk and suburbanites to their rural neighbors, strengthens the connection between consumers and food producers, and generates tens of thousands of dollars of revenue for local farmers and businesses. It’s pure marketing genius, and one of the noteworthy successes of Becca Jablonski’s tenure as Madison County’s Agricultural Economic Development Specialist.

Buy Local Week, unfortunately, is also the cause of a lot of lost motorists. Few folks who drive out from the city are prepared for or familiar with Madison County’s labyrinthine back roads, or realize that once you turn off of Route 5 or Route 20, you’re soon in a world of steep hills, sharp turns and dark hollows that even locals find hard to navigate. Nothing dampens the fun and adventure of petting farm animals and sampling fresh produce more quickly, it turns out, than pulling off repeatedly to the side of the road in order to peer at maps, curse the lack of 3G coverage, or argue over whether you should have turned left or right at the last intersection.

This year, however, Farmshed has been named the official travel app for Madison County Buy Local Week, which means anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can get turn-by-turn directions to, as well as learn about and contact participating farms and businesses. Farmshed was developed precisely for this purpose, to help consumers and tourists locate and get directions to local farms, so we are very, very pleased to be part of this year’s Buy Local Week festivities.

The first thing you need to do, if you have not already downloaded Farmshed to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, is go to the iTunes App Store and download the app. Farmshed is free and it takes only a minute to download.

I recommend that you initially turn the Auto Location OFF at home, and set a manual location in order to preview the information on participating farms before driving out to Madison County – in the following screen shots I set a manual location for Morrisville, NY, which is right in the center of the County. To do this, simply hit the Location icon at the bottom of the screen; turn the Auto Location feature OFF; enter Morrisville, NY (the 13408 zip code will also work), and hit return. Your iPhone screen at this point should look like this:

You can set a search radius of anywhere between 10 and 50 miles, but I recommend a setting of 20-22 miles, which will cover most of Madison County without including information on farms in neighboring counties.

Important: Remember to turn Auto Location ON once you arrive in the area. This is essential for geolocating you and providing accurate turn-by-turn directions to your destination.

After the data downloads, you should see the following home screen:

If you scroll down, you will also see Restaurants and a few other categories of local businesses, which may be helpful when looking for a place to eat. For the purposes of finding participating farms, however, you should open the Farms directory:

Hitting the Map/List button in the upper right-hand corner toggles the screen back-and-forth between an alphabetized list of local farms, which is useful for finding a specific farm, and a map view which geolocates and displays all the farms in relation to you and each other. On either screen, tapping the name of a specific farm, or the pop-up bubble that appears when you touch a pin – in this case Monanfran Farm – will take you to the listing for that specific farm.

Tapping the green right-facing chervon – the > icon to the right of the farm’s name, will display a geolocated map view showing you and that specific farm’s location. Tapping the automobile icon in the pop-up bubble (tap the green pin), will launch the Map app, and provide turn-by-turn directions to this destination:

That’s it. Using Farmshed while enjoying the Buy Local Week festivities should ensure that you reach your destination safely and directly, without wasting time on the side of the road trying to figure out where you are and how to get to where you are going.

If you use Farmshed during Buy Local Week, I hope you have a great time. Please let us know how everything goes. We’re on Facebook and Twitter and would welcome your feedback. I also want to apologize to Droid and Blackberry users. We intended to have the new Farmshed 2.0 mobile app (which will work on iPhones, Droids, Blackberries, and other smartphones) fully tested and released by Buy Local Week, but we’ve hit a couple of snags and the release date has been pushed back to mid-to-late July. We’ll keep everyone regularly updated on Farmshed 2.0 here on our blog, and on Facebook and Twitter, so please check back regularly. And again, please accept our apologies.


Tags: , ,

End of Harvest Party & Winery Tour/Wine Tasting, Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery & The Copper Oven, Saturday, November 6, 2010

By Neil B. Miller | October 20th, 2010

Farmshed CNY and Slow Food CNY have teamed up with our friends at The Copper Oven and Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery to hold an End of Harvest Party and Winery Tour/Wine Tasting on Saturday, November 6, 2010 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. The private, behind-the-scenes wine tour/tasting will be led by owners Susie and Tom Challen, and will be followed by a gourmet, locavore pizza lunch at The Copper Oven, prepared by chef Mary Jane Challen and ovenmaster Seth Kircher.

The End of Harvest Party will coincide with the winery’s “Wine, Warmth & Comfort Weekend” festival, which will feature exhibitions and demonstrations by local farmers, craftspeople, and weavers.

The price for the wine tour/tasting and pizza lunch is $15.00 per person, payable at the winery. Seating is limited to 20 attendees, so please RSVP as soon as possible at The wine tasting/tour will begin at 11:00 AM, with the pizza luncheon to follow at 12:00 Noon. For more information, see below.

This will be a lot of fun. Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery make some excellent, award wining wines, and the pizzas MJ and Seth prepare using local ingredients are absolutely superb. Come join us for a celebration of the end of a wonderful growing season and harvest.

Date/Time: Saturday, November 6 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. The rain date for inclement weather is Sunday, November 7.

Price: $15.00/per person, to be paid at the winery. Attendees should arrive between 10:45 and 11:00 AM in order to pay for and order their pizzas, before the wine tour/tasting begins at 11:00 AM.

10:45-11:00 AM. Attendees arrive, pay and order their pizza.
11:00 AM -12:00 Noon. Private winery tour and wine tasting in the Quatrefoil Room.
12:00 Noon – 1:30 PM. Gourmet, brick oven pizza luncheon served in the Quatrefoil Room
1:30-5:00 PM. Attendees are welcome to stay and enjoy the “Wine, Warmth & Comfort Weekend” festival going on at the winery.

Menu: (this is taken from The Copper Oven website)
Meaty Pie – We start this wood fired pizza with a base of homemade tomato sauce (yep, the tomatoes are straight from the garden), then layer it with slices of pepperoni from Autumn’s Harvest Farm in Romulus New York. Then we add diced peppers (also locally sourced) and top it off with a three cheese blend of NY cheddar, mozzarella and provolone.

Autumn Harvest Pie – We start this wood fired pizza with a base of locally sourced caramelized onions and chevre from Lively Run. Then we add to that dollops of an apple cider seasoned butternut and acorn squash puree (seriously, it’s good). And when we’re done firing it, we finish this pizza with sweet drizzles of homemade cider reduction (from Kingtown Orchards cider in Trumansburg, NY).

Additional savory treats and/or desserts (if MJ has the time to prepare them), and wine by the glass, may be purchased a la carte.

Directions: Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery and The Copper Oven are located at 6800 State Route 89, Ovid, NY 14521, which is on the west side of Cayuga Lake.

Please also visit Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery and The Copper Oven’s websites:


Tags: , , ,

The Butternut Valley Summer Harvest Festival, August 12, 2010, Morris, NY.

By Neil B. Miller | August 15th, 2010

This past Thursday, August 12, the Butternut Valley Alliance held their 2nd annual Summer Harvest Festival at Guy Rathburn Park in Morris, NY.  I was new to the BVA, their Summer Harvest Festival, and the Morris Farmers Market, which coincided with the festival, but I had been contacted earlier in the week by Beth Child, who helped organize the event, and who invited Farmshed to participate.

Ed Lentz of the Butternut Valley Alliance (right) with friends.

Morris, NY is a pretty little town with some lovely old houses and buildings, and an impressively large antique shop in the center of town that unfortunately was closed on Thursday.  BVA members Bob Eklund, Carla Hall and Ed Lentz were on hand to help everyone set up, and by 3:00 PM, the festival and the farmers market were in full swing.  Several groups of local musicians performed; there was face painting, 4H animals, and balloon sculptures for the children; and fly fishing lures, a display of local historical photos and documents, and booths on local conservation and agricultural development manned by Erik A. Miller, Executive Director of the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA), and Chris Harmon, Executive Director of the Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship Inc. (CADE) for the adults.  Along with Otsego 2000, OCCA and CADE were also co-sponsors of the festival.

It rained for much of the afternoon, but folks stuck around and the bands played on.

Cassandra Stanton of Chobani Yogurt and an associate gave away 100s of free samples.

Local food producers served up some delicious free food. Chobani gave away samples of their Greek yogurts; The Empire House; a restaurant in Gilbertsville that sources local, organic produce from neighboring farms, served up samples of their Mediterranean fare, and Purdy & Sons, a Sherburne institution, provided platters of their extraordinary natural smoked ham and Italian sausage.

Paul and Julie Koch of Earth's Harvest Farm offered some beautiful produce.

Ilyssa Berg of Painted Goat Farm, one of the growing number of world-class cheesemakers in Central New York.

The Morris Farmers Market is a well managed, well attended affair housed under the park pavillon, which was fortunate for everyone given the persistent rain.  Several local farmers offered some outstanding produce and food products, including Hare and Feather Farm in Laurens, NY, which raises chickens, ducks and rabbits; Acrospire Farm in Burlington Flats, NY which grows “eco-logical” fruits and vegetables; and my personal favorites: Earth’s Harvest Farm from Morris, NY which displayed a full table of freshly harvested vegetables, and Painted Goat Farm in Garrattsville, NY, which by any standard is one of the top cheesemakers in Central New York.

The dedicated individuals who organized the Butternut Valley Alliance and the Summer Harvest Festival, along with the festival’s co-sponsoring organizations, have created a model of support for local farming in Central New York.  The Morris Farmers Market, in turn, which is managed by Paul Koch of Earth’s Harvest Farm, offers consumers as high quality a selection of local produce and food products as any farmers market I’ve yet visited in Central New York.

The Morris Farmers Market meets Thursday afternoons from 3:00 to 6:00 PM in Guy Rathburn Park, Morris, NY between now and October 7th.  In addition, the BVA has tentatively scheduled an Open House/Locally Grown Food Event for sometime in the Fall at The Empire House in Gilbertsville.  Please check back with the BVA website for further details. 


Tags: ,

Butternut Valley Summer Harvest Festival, Morris, NY, August 12, 3:00-6:30 PM

By Neil B. Miller | August 10th, 2010

The following is a reprint of the Butternut Valley Alliance’s press release for the Summer Harvest Festival:

Building on last year’s successful debut, the Butternut Valley Alliance is gearing up for its second annual Summer Harvest Festival, to be held on Aug. 12, in Guy Rathbun Park, Morris, from 3 to 6:30 p.m.  There is no admission charge.

According to participating farmers, 2010 is so far an excellent year for vegetables, and together with a full entertainment lineup and other offerings, there is much reason for anticipating that this year’s festival will be another great success.

The farmers’ market, which the festival promotes, normally features upwards of ten vendors, hailing from as near by as Morris and as far away as South Brookfield in Madison County, and offers fresh produce, baked goods, plants, cheeses, meat and poultry.

Paul Koch, president of the MFM board of directors, owns Earth’s Harvest Farm in Morris, where he grows vegetables, raises pigs, and makes honey.

“I was surprised at how many people came to last year’s festival,” he said.  “Everybody’s looking forward to it again this year.”

Denise Timms, who sells herbal vinegars, poultry and eggs “hot off the nest” from Coyote Creek Turkeys and Broilers in South Brookfield, shared Koch’s enthusiasm.

“It opened people’s eyes to the fact that we existed.  It was very festive!” she said.

Besides locally grown vegetables, meat and dairy products, other items will also be offered, including maple syrup products (Brian Ryther of New Lisbon), hypertufa pots and decorative garden stones (Peg Dunbar of Wintergreen Gardens), and varieties of artisanal goat cheese from (Ilyssa Berg, Painted Goat Farm, Garratsville).

Live music entertainment will include The Ernst Family String Band; Jacob Morris Friedman (piano); “Expectations” with Lisa Sorensen Stahl, Jim Sorensen, and Stan Rabbiner; Ken Held (formerly of Fetish Lane); and a string band with Darin Trass on fiddle, Randy Miritello on guitar, and Will Lunn on mandolin.

Activities for children will include face-painting, a clown, and balloon sculptures by “Mike the Juggler.”   “The Scoop” of Morris will also provide free ice cream for kids.

BVA volunteers, Jennifer Brickley, Lynne Ohl and Jeri Wachter, will prepare free food samples from local farms with cooperation from the Empire House, a Gilbertsville restaurant.
Elected officials, including Assemblymen Peter Lopez and Bill Magee, as well as Congressman Michael Arcuri, will also be in attendance.

Local 4H club members will exhibit several breeds of prize-winning farm animals.  Other exhibits will be set up by the Butternut Valley Spinners, the Morris Historical Society, the Town of New Lisbon, the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA), and the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE).

“One of the goals of the BVA is to promote the economic viability of our area,” said BVA chair Bob Eklund of New Lisbon.  “We want to emphasize the importance of supporting local agriculture whenever possible and to demonstrate our support of local producers.  There’s nothing better than locally grown,” he said.

Sponsors of the event are Otsego 2000, OCCA, CADE, and the Otsego Land Trust.

The overall mission of the Butternut Valley Alliance is to encourage the preservation and protection of the environmental qualities, farming and cultural heritage, economic viability, open space and village charms of the entire watershed.

For further information, please contact Bob Eklund, BVA Chairman at


Tags: ,