All posts by shyaw

Nothing Fishy about Fishkill Farms

Fishkill Farms is a 270 acre apple and vegetable farm in Fishkill. It started over 100 years ago in 1913 and has been under the Morgenthau family for three generations.

The farm prides itself in growing organic vegetables and fruit that is eco-certified. Furthermore, its produce can be found in the year-round farm store and farmer’s markets in the Hudson Valley and New York City.

The Fishkill Farms store consists of a diverse variety of products – from its own produce of apples, vegetables, potatoes, and eggs, to their value-added and processed fresh jams, butters, and sauces from their produce.

The farm store’s jams are quite pricey at $8 for a jar. They also have ready-to-eat products of apple cider donuts, pies, coffee, hot chocolate and Zoe’s Ice Cream (!!). According to the farm store salesperson, Fishkill Farms sends its products to another place for processing, but it intends on creating a processing site on the farm itself.

The farm store is also host to other local brands and products such as candles, soaps, seeds, ciders, cookbooks, and even dog treats. Most of these are household or farming-related items and attune to the overall good-food-good-home family atmosphere. The salesperson mentioned that people from New York City often visit, and perhaps they bring these products home as souvenirs or gifts.

The farm store is not the only evidence of the family-friendly attractive ambience Fishkill Farms wants to create. Outside the store, there are patios, plenty of picnic bench seating in various areas, a nature trail, and a chicken coop with a well-built homey structure for the chickens. The patio looks out onto the landscape of the farm, stretched onto hills amongst the background of the green and mountainous Hudson Valley. A grill and donut stall outside near the entrance add to the multi-purpose diversity of the farm to attract customers to not only buy its produce for household use, but also to sit down, relax, and enjoy food. Additionally, the farm has a cut-out frame for people to take photos in front of the landscape; the frame is adorned with drawings of fresh produce, farm animals, and apple trees, reminding visitors of the bounty the farm possesses.

After talking to one of the salespeople at the farm store, she mentioned that while their CSA programs help to provide revenue during the winter months, it is the pick-your-own programs that have helped Fishkill Farms grow to what it has become. This program allows visitors to have freedom to select their own fresh produce from June to October straight from the farm. Fishkill Farms has a poster to show visitors when is the best time to pick seasonally fresh fruits and/or vegetables.

Along with that, the farm has ongoing events related to their food, such as jamming strawberries (on June 16th), or even lending its space for weddings, birthdays, or company retreats. An educational aspect is also included by allowing students to visit for field trips or work with the staff on the farm.

Overall, it seems that Fishkill Farms not only has a great structure in maintaining its agricultural products to be fresh, organic, and environmentally-sustainable, but also markets their farm as a go-to venue, especially for a short day to experience a nature while enjoying fresh food.

Plan B? Must Bee!


Emily Watson is the co-founder of Plan Bee Farm Brewing, producing beer from completely organic and local New York ingredients – including its bees! She is originally from Ohio and her dad is a conventional farmer (hence she is knowledgeable about the amount of corn and soy sold to the state for ethanol, and not food).


Digest of topics in this video:

0:00:00 Plan A — what Emily and Evan Watson did before
0:02:28 growing and procuring New York state ingredients
0:06:29 tilling and “no till” farming
0:09:00 finding the Poughkeepsie property
0:15:00 foraging ingredients for brewing
0:18:13 harvesting yeast from honey
0:23:14 coolship brewing
0:24:53 dirty beer and wild ale
0:31:57 renovating the barn
0:33:08 ingredients foraged from the farm
0:39:22 the Plan Bee beers
0:44:56 marketing their product
0:48:50 opening the farm to the public
0:57:30 keeping bees
1:03:43 working with local farms
1:06:56 Emily’s favorite beer

One of the sustainable and organic farming methods Plan Bee Farm Brewery that Emily emphasizes, is the act of “no-tilling”. Tilling releases natural gases due to breaking up or opening up the soil and therefore, disturbing natural biome and making the soil more susceptible to any seeds. The Plan Bee Farm aims to sustain the nutrient-rich biome of the soil by no tilling.

They also really hone into the organic, natural resources available in the local New York State area. Beer mainly uses a few ingredients water, yeast, barley, hops, sour bacteria. They experiment a lot for flavours and yeast components, even foraging for berries or contacting local farms for their surplus produce to create different flavour profiles. This creates experimental craft beers with fascinating flavours such as yellow corn, pumpkin, peppers, squash, beets, dandelion and her favourite – quince and blackcurrant!

Of course, the bee component is a huge one in which their honey is used to ferment the mead and is used as yeast cultures for their beer, and they use about 120 pounds of honey to flavour. Emily also discussed about the temperateness of the yeast, requiring an environment of not too cold, not too hot, about 68 degrees temperature, and even their own food. Yet, despite the need to control these variables, the founders still brew beers in the Old World Style, with an open batch where the area will cool and the ambient yeast will be around. The surrounding wood also eats the sugar, converting it into alcohol and producing carbon dioxide. Their solution to yeast gone wrong is to put it into oak.

Their distribution is quite unique as they struggle with land and autonomy in Poughkeepsie, and is 1 out of the 5 last farms that are agriculturally distinct. They are still waiting for a license to allow customers into the space but at the moment, have mainly distributors and retailers online and can sell out of the door of their farm.