All posts by diencarnacion

My Independent Field Trip to Woody’s Farm-to-Table

It was the middle of study-week and one of my best friends was desperately trying to procrastinate. Conveniently enough for me, he had a car and I still had to go somewhere for my independent field trip!I While I have loved the farms that our class has visited throughout the semseter, I realized that I had not actually consumed any of the products produced in these farms (except for that one time in class 😉). I Googled Farm-to-Table restaurants and found that there was a burger joint in Cornwall that. My friends had always wanted to visit Storm King State Park, so when I found out that this restaurant was right next to it, we just had to go.

It was a cute restaurant, juxtaposed with the ugly and generic strip mall accross the street. The front looked like a normal house, but the back opened up to have some outdoor seating, which was great given the beautiful weather. The restaurant had a physical design that fit the general aesthetic I’ve noticed is common in these sorts of sustainability-focused projects. A muted green paint scheme complimented the hardwood floors, which gave the restaurant a very “organic” feel to it. It made me start to think about the way these sorts of farm-based institutions brand themselves. Is it necessary, I wondered, for restaurants that are farm-to-table to brand themselves in such a distinguishable way? Even their website was replete with wooden and green imagery:

“Eat seasonal. Eat Local. Eat Together.” This was also printed on a word-art poster they had hanging on their wall. Could it be possible that they are defining themselves as outside of what is normal? Perhaps they were attempting to justify their somewhat high prices ($14 for a burger, fries and drink!)

Photo of Woody's Farm to Table - Cornwall, NY, United States. Woodys 8oz with Swiss

While the manager of the restaurant wasn’t working while I visited, I did get to talk to some of the waiters about what Woody’s meant to them. I had just eaten their signature “All Natural 6oz Burger.” While delicious, I can’t say that it tasted particularly unique. My perception changed, however, when Jeff (my waiter) told me that all of the meat used in the burger had been produced by co-op farms in Maine. It certainly came as a surprise to me to find out that this sort of farm-to-table operation was operating on an inter-state level. Why not just use a farm in the Hudson Valley? Jeff did not know what to say when I asked him.


The Farm Bridge: Kingston, NY- Ethan and Diego

April 6 2018,

Ethan Pierce and Diego Encarnacion

The Farm Bridge is an agricultural company specializing in making value added product located in Kingston, NY – last week our class got a chance to visit and this is what we saw.

Greeted by an unassuming and vaguely industrial entrance way our class of Vassar student ventured toward our destination, The Farm Bridge. Our class has set out this semester to better understand agriculture in the Hudson Valley and the effects that has had on a sociological level. After a week one visit to Sprout Creek Farm we took a step down the production line to The Farm Bridge. After we navigated some poor signage and a later-in-a-small-hallway situation we entered the Offices of The Farm Bridge and were greeted by the founder. After a short presentation we donned some almost inappropriately sexy hair nets and ventured out onto the floor. Here we saw the real operation where products sourced from (mostly) local farmers are mixed to a client’s specification to create their product. On the floor we saw lots of carrot peeling and slicing, bone broth pouring, some sort of pickling involving gallons and gallons of Florida’s Natural orange and grapefruit juice and a machine that used to be used from pill counting and weighing that had been repurposed for sunflower seeds. Then then proceeded to the nut roasting room and through some storage facilities toward the conference room we began our journey in.

During our time at The Farm Bridge we pondered many questions of sustainability and agriculture and what role that has to play here in the Hudson Valley. Living in a city where ¼ households are food insecure it seemed almost wasteful to be turning this fresh produce into higher value products that low income/food insecure households would no longer have access to because of the niche markets they serve and the higher cost of the product. It would be a public health interest for The Farm Bridge to do what its title seems to indicate, which is bridging the gap between farms who are looking for markets to sell their products and and the residents that need this most. That being said you have to factor the need of the farmers in here. The Farm Bridge is providing contracts for farmers in the area for large quantities and regular orders even hosting drop off days for tomatoes where they would pay any farmer. This reliable and regular source of income is a huge relief for farmers who often don’t know if they will be able to sell all their produce.





We departed The Farm Bridge after taking a tour of its facilities and meeting many of thepeople working there. Our next destination was the county seat of Ulster County, Kingston. Although our time there was somewhat rushed, we still attained a sense of what the town was like, splitting into smaller groups to peruse the shops, restaurants and monuments of the city. One of the most enjoyable aspects of city was the strong presence of smaller, family-run businesses. Personal favorites include the was Rough Draft, a bookstore and bar that had a certain charm to it. Definitely worth going back to!