Tag Archives: value added

From Tomatoes to Tomato Sauce

After weeks of exploring various farms in the Hudson Valley last Friday we got to see where some of that food goes at Farm to Table Co-Packers, where fresh produce is turned in to value-added products and packaged to be sold.Value-Added ProductsThe company was founded by Jim Hyland, who realized there were a lot of people like himself that wanted healthy, local food during the winter and a lot of farmers who aren’t able to sell their surplus during the harvest season and so had to let it go to waste. He created Farm to Table Co-Packers so that the two problems could solve each other; surplus food in the harvest could be absorbed and turned into products with a higher shelf-life, allowing farmers to sell and people to buy all year round instead of just during the short harvest season. He is his own best customer, with his other business, Winter Sun Farms, flash-freezing local produce during the harvest season at Farm to Table Co-Packers. Winter Sun then distributes the frozen food during the winter to those who’ve purchased a membership, like a CSA farm would distribute food in the summer.Liquid Nitrogen Flash FreezerWe saw the machine where produce is frozen with liquid nitrogen and the freezer where the food is stored afterwards. There were many other machines as well, such as a corn shucker and vegetable washer that had been modified from a dishwasher left over from when the building was an IBM cafeteria. Some clients provide recipes to make goods like tomato sauce or jam, which the company does as well. After fresh food like tomatoes or cucumbers are made into value-added products like tomato sauce or pickles, they then must be packaged, put in jars, labeled, boxed, and transported to the clients who will sell them, whether that be at a supermarket or a farmers markets.Pickles Ready to be LabledFarm to Table Co-Packers has many clients with food coming in from as far as Mexico to keep them working during the winter, but the company was founded for local farmers, so they are very flexible in dealing with small farms. The creation of value-added products not only allows farmers to sell their surplus harvest to places like Winter Sun, they can also get their own products back with a longer shelf-life. This means they can keep stands open at farmers markets for longer, bringing in more income and creating more customer loyalty. The relationship with local farmers is also good for the co-packers as the parts of the fruits and vegetables that can’t be used can be picked back up by the farmers to be used as compost, which means the co-packers don’t have to deal with the waste.When touring Farm to Table Co-Packers it was impressed on us how complicated an operation it is, organizing various suppliers and farmers and clients, meeting their different needs, transporting goods that need to be kept frozen or refrigerated, keeping up with changing food safety levels, and running basically 24/7 during the harvest season. The work is worth it though and they provide an important service to the Hudson Valley, making sure local, healthy food is available to people all year round.

To learn more about Farm to Table Co-Packers, you can visit their website here!

conversation with Jessica Applestone and Don Lewis

Two advocates for building local food systems talked to our class: Jessica Applestone (co-founder of Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats) and Don Lewis (baker/miller at Wild Hive Farm).

Some references in this conversation:
01:42 how Jessica Applestone and her husband Joshua started Fleisher’s
02:12 the state of the Hudson Valley’s food system 10 years ago
03:53 most chefs and butchers don’t know how to cut meat
04:45 the value of marketing and publicity in managing farm business
05:36 Tom Schneller of Culinary Institute of America and Schneller’s Meats (Kingston, NY)
05:48 Fleisher’s butcher school and apprentice system
07:28 influence of Michael Pollan’s “Power Steer” (2002)
08:29 why Fleisher’s located in Kingston, NY
10:15 why Fleisher’s got out of wholesale sales to restaurants
11:42 Flying Pig Farm (Shusah, NY)
12:00 influence of Union Square Greenmarket
13:02 starting up an organic slaughterhouse, Applestone Meat Company (Accord, NY)
15:37 charcuterie and value-added meat products
18:18 opening a 2nd Fleisher’s butcher shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn
20:05 how Don Lewis started Wild Hive Farm
21:03 Union Square Greenmarket’s influence on his baking business
22:03 Daniel Leader (Bread Alone) and rustic European baking
22:45 how Wild Hive began using Hudson Valley-grown grain
23:50 Hudson Valley’s history as “breadbasket” of United States
24:59 stone-milled flour vs. roller-milled flour
29:00 politics of accessibility of local foods in the food system
29:28 “put food by/up”
33:15 evolution of consumer interest in goods baked with local flour
36:03 selling to Eataly New York (Mario Batali, Lydia and Joe Bastianich, Oscar Farineti)
38:57 expanding acreage for Hudson Valley grains
40:22 local grain system “removed from commodity structure”
41:29 supplying Eataly Chicago
43:22 promoting regional grain-based food systems elsewhere
45:23 the operation at Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners
46:13 organizing growers down the food-system value chain
47:40 what is a steer? where does veal come from?
52:09 what gets valued (and what doesn’t) in the food system
53:33 how old are other meat animals when they’re slaughtered?
55:56 can organic food become less expensive?
59:59 heritage grains and regional grain variety
1:05:53 how the Hudson Valley contributes to their operations

conversation with Eric Steinman of Edible Hudson Valley

Eric Steinman, food writer and editor of Edible Hudson Valley, came to our class this week to talk about what he does and how he thinks about food and sustainable agriculture in the Hudson Valley.

Some references in this conversation:
6:03 – Milk Thistle Farm dairy
9:53 – rate of farm loss in New York
13:17 – culinary traditions of the Hudson Valley and New England
19:30 – Quilted Giraffe restaurant (New Paltz and NYC)
20:20 – Depuy Canal House (Hide Falls)
24:24 – Sprout Creek Farm cheese
29:21 – changing interest in “local food” among food publications
33:20 – farm-to-table movement
35:40 – agri-tourism
38:15 – farmers markets in NYC and the Hudson Valley
39:20 – selling directly to restaurants
39:47 – Paisley Farm (Tivoli)
42:48 – Coach Farm (Pine Plains)
43:50 – No Goat Left Behind
45:03 – Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park)
47:15 – influence of NYC on Hudson Valley agriculture
51:48 – Michael White (chef)/Marea restaurant (NYC)
56:41 – local movement to bring “added value” to agriculture
57:41 – Farm to Table Co-Packers (Kingston)
59:14 – Glynwood Center’s Apple Project (hard cider)
1:07:43 – New York state’s Farm Distillery Law
1:08:30 – Hillrock Estate Distillery (Ancram)