Organic Farms | Farmers Pledge
Find the best Farmers' Markets and organic farms in Ulster County. Visit U-Pick farms, also known as pick-your-own farms in Ulster, NY and the wider Hudson Valley. There are many local farms and Farmers' Markets offering the best organic apples, berries, fruits, and vegetables; and they need your support!
A farm is an area of land, often referred to as an acre or hectare (1 hectare = 2.47105 acres) devoted almost exclusively to the practice of growing crops, rearing animals, and dealing with agriculture. Farms vary greatly in the amount of land that is used for farming. When a farm produces products such as apples or grapes, a farm may be called an orchard or vineyard.
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Organically grown food is food grown and processed using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Pesticides derived from natural sources (such as biological pesticides) may be used in producing organically grown food . . . "Organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 and regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards."
In other words, "Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved."
"The National Standards on Organic Agricultural Production and Handling (NOP rule) was issued on December 21, 2000, by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The standards in the NOP rule are similar to most of the standards organic producers and handlers currently use, and are intended to be flexible enough to accommodate the wide range of operations and products grown and raised in every region of the United States. The Organic Foods Production Act and the NOP rule require that agricultural products labeled as organic originate from farms or handling operations certified by a state or private agency that has been accredited by USDA." The Organic Foods Production Act does not address food safety or nutrition.
"Food labels must be in compliance by early 2001.
"The NOP rule prohibits the use of genetic engineering (included in the list of excluded methods), ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge. The rule includes the following:
While some farms are completely organic, others use synthetic components to assist with the growth of crops and livestock.
Many farms practice organic and/or sustainable farming in Ulster County and the wider Hudson River Valley, where you can buy fresh and healthy local produce. For fun things to do with the kids, pick-your-own fruits and vegetables at one of many U-Pick farms listed below.
Local farms offer fresh and healthful produce; while organic farms also contribute to a healthy and sustainable environment. Enjoy selections of fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other farm fresh products. Buy produce at one of the Hudson Valley markets, or pick-your-own fruit and vegetables at an organic farm in the Hudson Valley.
Farms in Ulster County sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including delicious New York apples, berries, pumpkins and U-Pick produce. In addition to pick-your-own fruits, many local farms have acres of delicious vegetables available for you to pick; or you can buy picked produce at the farms market stand or market store.
Many farm markets offer a wide range of fresh jars of honey, jams and chutney. Many pick-your-own apples, offer fresh apple cider or a hot cup of coffee to go with the delicious freshly made donuts . . . yum. You can also find local crafts, cheeses, soups, and other specialty items that are charming and made locally.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is available at some farms in Ulster County. Community Supported Agriculture is when people agree to purchase a share of the anticipated crop at a farm. If the farm is organic, the farmer agrees to supply the members with a fresh assortment of high quality certified organic produce. The shareholders commitment implies a willingness to share with the farmer both the bounty from the land and some of the risks of its production.
Organic products meet stringent standards. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.
Organic food tastes great.
Organic production reduces health risks.
Organic farms respect our water resources.
Organic farmers build healthy soil.
Organic farmers work in harmony with nature.
Organic producers are leaders in innovative research.
Organic producers strive to preserve diversity.
Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy.
Organic abundance – Foods and non-foods alike.
Source: Organic Trade Association.
Select one or more farms to visit at local farms in Ulster County and go apple, berry, or pumpkin picking in Ulster County. Farmer's markets and pick-your-own farms are available throughout the county of Ulster in the mid-Hudson Valley. Find farm markets for all seasons offering many wonderful items including homegrown seasonal fruits & produce such as apples, peaches, apricots, nectarines, pears, plums, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes & corn. Some farms are open through late December selling Christmas trees and other seasonal items.
Many children enjoy going to a local pick-your-own farm where the kids can pick seasonal fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, blueberries, apples, and pumpkins for Halloween. Many pick-your-own farms offer additional outdoor activities for the kids including:
Corn Maze - free for all ages
Farm animals to pet and feed
Pick winter squash / pumpkins
Visit organic farms in Ulster County. Some farms offer healthy organic produce with more farms working toward becoming organic or getting a Farmers Pledge certification. Organic farms offer healthy produce including fruits, vegetables, organic meats, poultry, eggs, and more.
Several pick-your-own farms have beautiful views of the hills and mountains of Ulster County, offering kids a wonderful time outdoors "picking their own food". Pick-you-own farms are great fun for children and kids of all ages.
Farmers' Markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers. From the traditional "Mercados" in the Peruvian Andes to the unique street markets in Asia, growers all over the world gather weekly to sell their produce directly to the public. In the last decade they have become a favorite marketing method for many farmers throughout the United States, and a weekly ritual for many shoppers.
In a Farmers' Market, farmers sell their products once or twice a week at a designated public place like a park or parking lot. Some Farmers' Markets have live entertainment. Shopping at a Farmers Market is a great way to meet local farmers and get fresh, flavorful produce. Many farms have set-up farm markets on their own farm. In addition to fresh picked fruits and vegetables, Farmers’ Markets often sell crafts and other locally made products.
Farmers' Markets provide a means for local producers of agricultural products to sell those products directly to the consumer. Many communities throughout New York State view Farmers Markets as a positive avenue for supporting local agriculture, providing a source of fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of their community, and as a means of drawing people into their community aiding in the economic redevelopment of an area.
The Farmers’ Market Federation of New York is a statewide not-for-profit organization designed to both promote and provide support services for the Farmers' Markets within New York State. The Federation was formed through the collective efforts of market managers throughout the state, Cooperative Extension, and the Department of Agriculture & Markets, and was initially funded by a Federal State Marketing Improvement Grant in early 1998.
Large-scale chemical agriculture continues to poison our soil and our water, and weaken our communities. Buying directly from a family farm can help put a stop to this unfortunate trend. By purchasing organic produce from your local farmer, you are working to maintain a healthy environment, a vibrant community, and a strong and sustainable local economy for you and for your family.
Organic and Local Food
Visit your local Farmers' Market and experience the colorful abundance of nutritious, high quality locally grown foods, the aroma of fresh produce and the friendly banter of farmers and customers, neighbors and families. A visit to a Farmers' Market is an adventure, and among the fun things to do in your own community. Bring the children. Children love visiting their local farmer's market where they can meet the farmers, ask questions, and learn about the food. Farmers' Markets also provide a lesson in supporting your own community and the environment.
Both economic and health factors have resulted in the growth of Farmers' Markets across the country. Not only is a completely new generation of farmers seeking retail outlets that increase their profitability and viability thus preserving agriculture for themselves and future generations, but also, consumers are discovering that Farmers' Markets are a fun, reasonably priced, alternative to supermarkets. At Farmers' Markets they have direct access to fresh, healthy local foods and to the farmers who produce the foods. The experience inevitably includes developing relationships and friendships with the farmers and gaining an understanding and appreciation of where their food comes from and how it is produced.
Use the Local Harvest website on the Farmers' Markets & Local Farms page to find Farmers' Markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy organic produce, grass-fed meats, and many other delicious and healthy foods.