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Farms on Phones on Farms

August 8, 2017

Maybe it’s just all of the farm dinners I’ve been going to lately, but it feels like the local foods movement is picking up steam.

At the Pitney Meadows Fire Feast, I sat with a couple who would rarely spend $100 out for a nice dinner, but decided to make a commitment to this local organization and drop $200 each for the incredible culinary experience DocSconz put together. After the event, they were absolutely glowing, and would do it again without hesitation.

Too often, the farm-to-table ethos espoused by restaurants is more table dressing than substance. And consumers have realized this. Which is why I suspect more of them are skipping the middleman and just going out for dinner at the farm.

Look at Field Notes. These guys are doing 20 person dinners at Lansing’s Farm Market and Greenhouse in Niskayuna. They just had their first dinner, and now it’s going to be a regular thing. And you’ve already heard about the Sunday cookouts at Indian Ladder Farm.

So how do you learn about some of the good things that are happening around the farms of the Capital Region? Well, I’m glad you asked.

First, it helps to find the farms.

One thing that I’ve noticed when perusing the Yelp reviews for farms that surround the Capital Region is that most of the people who leave reviews come from outside of the area. They are tourists. And they seem to have more love for our farms than we do.

That’s not meant to sound like I’m blaming locals. It’s not like our local farms have done a lot to let people know what they are growing, or when they are open for retail sales. And I’m not blaming the farms either. Farming is incredibly hard work, and the farmers have been busy working their land.

Meet Harvest Connection which is doing a lot to help bridge the gap.

This is a mobile friendly site, so you can load it up on your phone, and it can help you identify sources for very specific local produce needs. Want to pick up garlic and herbs direct from a farm? The site will plot out a bunch of places on a map. Local meats? Farm made beer, cider, or spirits?  Harvest Connection has the deets.

From the search results, you can click on the farms, discover if they have a website or social media presence, and confirm their hours. If there is a particular farm you like, you can even sign up for text message updates. I’ve just done this, but am still awaiting to see what those texts will look like.

Really, you should simply get on the site and play around. I can tell you about all of its bells and whistles, but words are a lousy substitute for direct experience. So I’ll stop talking to let you do just that.

Before I go though, perhaps you would be interested to know that this is a service from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County in Troy. The project is being funded by a grant from the USDA, with the goal to get more consumers out to area farms and farmers markets. I was told that Cornell Cooperative Extension also provides “educational opportunities and consultations to farmers and producers who are interested in growing their online/social media presence for direct marketing and customer outreach purposes.”

I had no idea. That’s really cool. And I’m thrilled they are doing this. It only makes sense that I’m writing about checking out farms on phones from the family farm in Pennsylvania. And I’ll be sharing more thoughts on farms this week. Hopefully I’ll stop before everyone gets sick and tired of hearing about them.

Now get back to Harvest Connection, and decide on which local farm you are going to visit this weekend.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2017 11:51 am

    And still no Hank’s. Shame.

  2. Pam C. permalink
    August 9, 2017 2:57 am

    It may be a little out of your comfort zone, in southern Washington County (Cambridge). But Gardenworks Farms has a couple of farm-to-table dinners each season, but every weekend has many soups/desserts samples available, and on Saturdays has a cafe with local cheeses, meats and baked goods. It’s a nice drive up Rt. 40, and really not that long of a trip.

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