The Hudson Basilica Farm and Flea (Mary’s Independent Field Trip)

On Sunday I visited the second day of the “Farm and Flea,” a combination vintage fest and farmer’s market in at the Basilica Hudson building in Hudson, New York. Basilica Hudson is a gigantic former factory turned cultural hub (like DIA Beacon, among other places in the Hudson Valley). To quote their pamphlet, the building acts as “a non-profit multidisciplinary arts center in Hudson, NY, supporting the creation, production and presentation of arts and culture while fostering sustainable community…Basilica Hudson makes its home in a spectacular solar powered reclaimed 1880s industrial factory on the waterfront.”

After a leafy, windy, farm-filled hour on the road from Poughkeepsie, we pulled up to the Basilica Hudson building and paid five dollars for entry. Our biggest mistake was bringing barely enough cash to get in: many of the vendors only took cash, and we had incorrectly assumed there would be an ATM. The building is stunning—aesthetically, it falls between Pinterest and Dwell (leaning closer to the former), with a spacious, brand-new, super-clean, industrial look, strings of lights hanging from one side of the interior to the other, and massive skylights.


While I knew that the two-day event would have prepared food, a bar, vintage clothes, and handmade crafts and gifts, I also imagined that “farm-fresh food” meant stands with offerings like greens, vegetables, eggs, and meat. To my surprise, although a few stands were from farms, almost everything being sold was value-added! My housemates, boyfriend, and I had been planning to pick up some veggies for dinner, but almost everything at the Farm and Flea was too expensive for us. Of course, it may be that farms were only selling yarn, tallow soap, and charcuterie (two different stands), because it is early yet in the growing season. However, I think the value-added products were designed to match the clientele: incredibly young, and incredibly hip, looking for fancier gifts. Behind the counter? Also young and hip. One of my housemates, from Brooklyn, told me that many people from the City are moving to Hudson, and after visiting the Farm and Flea, I believe it.

List of vendors (slightly blurry!).
List of vendors (slightly blurry!).

We arrived starving and ate DELICIOUS but pricey food at the dining area (bacon-goat cheese-pickled onion sandwiches on a baguette for three of us, a farrow bowl with greens and a poached egg for the fourth). Sitting and eating at the communal wooden table, I realized that my boyfriend and the man across from him both had tattoos on their knuckles. The Farm and Flea was full of tattoos, cool glasses, and lots of babies (since even the attendees who were parents were still young). We walked around, looking at pottery, felted animal toys, ginger health elixers, homemade jewelry, grow-your-own mushroom stands (I talked to the guy behind the counter, who told us his friend had thought of the business and that they operate out of Rochester but sell all over the country online), and tons of vintage clothing. I bought a walnut brownie for $5 that I realized had tiny dried flowers on it. There was also a goat outside, seemingly present for petting purposes only (it was very cute).

My housemate's flower strewn chocolate cupcake with Himalayan sea salt.
My housemate’s flower strewn chocolate cupcake with Himalayan sea salt.
Smugtown Mushroom's grow your own mushroom logs.
Smugtown Mushroom’s grow your own mushroom logs.

All in all, I really enjoyed looking around at the Farm and Flea, and it definitely confirmed much of what we’ve talked about in this class: much of the capital to support farmers (and local artisans?) seems to be coming from NYC or ex-NYCers, and it seems that for farmer’s to compete in a market like the Farm and Flea, they have to leave veggies at home and bring only specialty items (for instance, while Sawkill Farms was there, they were only selling yarn and soap).

Cards from the Farm and Flea.
Cards from the Farm and Flea.