Author Archives: jecervantes

Beacon Farmers Market

IMG_2008On Sunday, October 13 I knew I needed to get from point A to point B, A being Vassar College and B being the Beacon Farmers Market.  There was only one way to do this, there are actually more ways to do this but for a broke car less college student like me there was only one way, the Metro North Rail. IMG_2007 I took a cab to the Poughkeepsie Station with my very nice roommate, Madison who agreed to accompany me on this independent field trip after begging her for what seemed a lifetime, 30 seconds.  Once at the Poughkeepsie Station, we purchased our $7 roundtrip tickets to the Beacon Station.  We boarded the train and waited a short 15 minutes to arrive at Beacon Station, during this time all I could think of was “Once I get there, how in the world am I going to get the farmer’s market?” and “the Hudson River is so beautiful!!!” considering that was the view from the window the whole train ride. As we got closer, I was able to pick out the blue canopies laid out of the river front across from the station, could it be the farmer’s market was right across from the station.  Sure enough we got off the train and Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo it was the Beacon Farmer’s Market.


IMG_2001IMG_2005This farmer’s market was nothing like the Amenia Farmer’s Market we first visited in our journey as students of “Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley” this market was full of vendors and crowds of people with recyclable bags in hand asked questions, sampled products, and purchased products to fill their refrigerators and pantries. A line of about twenty enthusiastic buyers waited in front of one of the blue canopies which was the source of smell of beef kabobs with the banner reading “Nana’s Middle Eastern Foods”.  I was unsuccessful as I tried to sneak a picture of these tasty looking and smelling kabobs.  Apart from Middle Eastern foods, vendors selling garlic, vegetables, ice cream, milk, spices, pastries, fresh baked breads, varieties of cheese, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, eggs, honey, maple syrup, homemade preserves and jams were lined along the river front selling their products to local Beacon residents and people arriving on the Metro North Train like me.


Once I finished going around the Beacon Farmer’s Market a couple of times I saw more canopies lined up on the river front a quarter mile away from where I was standing.  As I walked out of the Farmer’s market I read a poster saying “Pumpkin Festival Sun. Oct. 13” with an arrow pointing towards the the direction were the canopies were.  This Festival was full of  family’s enjoying the beautiful day while listening to live folk music and picking out pumpkins and other merchandised sold by local vendors.  This festival seemed like it was designed for IMG_1963the residents of Beacon. Students from the local elementary school sang a couple of songs I had never heard and art drawn by students from the local high school IMG_1952was also displayed. After an hour of walking around this community based festival I decided it was time to go back to Vassar.  As I walked back to Beacon Station I saw a sign signaling the way to Dia: Beacon, I walked for about 3 minutes to get to  Dia: Beacon. I knew I had no time to go in, but I will definitely visit Beacon again to explore Dia: Beacon and the city of Beacon.





The Final Scene: Glynwood Center


The final supper, the 26th mile of a marathon, this was the last scene of our epic film. The film titled, “Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley”, is starring a fellowship of Vassar students, a Sociology Professor, and a good friend by the name of Baynard. Our final trip into the wilderness was to the fairy-tale-esque Glynwood Center, a think tank of progressive environment and social thought.IMG_1839

Departing from Vassar we headed south along the grand ol’ Hudson, in search of a hidden oasis. Cruising in our version of the Mystery Machine we zipped through the scenic countryside, preparing for the last hurrah. At last, we came to an extremely sharp turn in the road at a small but noticeable sign that read “Glynwood”. Entering under a canopy of red, yellow, and orange deciduous trees we had stepped into a realm of progressive intellectuals. Driving up, up, and up a peaceful dirt road we finally came out from under the roof of leaves into a hidden valley, enclosed on all sides by tree-laden hills. It was absolutely breathtaking; we had arrived at the Glynwood Center.

IMG_1937We stepped out of our very own Mystery Machine and walked quietly as we tried to take in the beautiful landscape surrounding us.  We were greeted and offered donuts and cider as we entered the office. Once inside we helped ourselves to the refreshments laid out for us and waited for the President of Glynwood Center, Kathleen Firth to speak to us.

Kathleen Firth poured loads of marvelous information about Glynwood Center as she spoke to us. We learned that the Glynwood Center is a non-profit organization that aims to promote a healthier regional food system, improve the economy, conserve the natural environment, and promote a sense of place. Glynwood Center offers different programs like the Glynwood Farm, Apprentice Program, Keep Farming and the Apple Project to help promote those four goals. As part of the IMG_1871Apple Project, Glynwood Center initiated cider week, which is part of Glynwood’s effort to try to make apple orchards viable in order to help keep more apple orchards open.

Along with describing the center’s programs, Kathleen also described Glynwood Center’s relationship with the Hudson Valley.  She explained that being located in the Hudson Valley is in large part responsible for Glynwood Center’s success.  She described the Hudson Valley to be “uniquely poised to be an example of a robust and thriving food system, and that is exactly what Glynwood center is doing.  Glynwood Center works directly with their community in the Hudson valley by offering Community Supported Agriculture in which members of the community purchase shares of the farm’s vegetables. After our information session on Glynwood Center we offered the opportunity to see everything we learned first hand through a tour guided by a Vassar Alumni.

IMG_1805Full of donuts and cider we reentered the fresh air, ready to experience life at Glynwood. We walked up the hill about 100 yards until we saw three plump pigs wading in the mud, apparently unaware of our approach. As we came closer one spotted us, alerted the others using a gentle grunt, and they then proceeded to examine us all for tasty treats we might be hiding in our pockets. They were great (and smart) animals, and seemed very happy. They had plenty of space, water, shelter, and were being fed with organic, non-genetically modified feed. Which unfortunately, in our capitalistic economy, is twice as much as (what is now the norm) GM feed. From there we walked down around the bend to find a spotted mother with her spotted piglets. Absolutely adorable is the only description appropriate for this experience. Their ears were so big and floppy that they could barely see where they were walking. Playing with one another, annoying their mom, and playing in the water bucket, they were loving life.

-Colin Cederna & Jessica Cervantes





Stepping Into Amenia

selfieHello bloggers and readers of the world. My name is Jessica but you call me Jess. What can I say? I was born and raised in Los Angeles and boy is it nothing like the Hudson Valley let alone the small town of Amenia. When I made the decision to move to Poughkeepsie, I didn’t put much thought to how different it would be to live here. I just saw Vassar College. Ever since I first stepped out of the Metro North Poughkeepsie Train Station I’ve noticed differences between the City of Angels and Poughkeepsie. One major difference that seems a bit irrelevant but affects me a lot is that in the past two weeks I haven’t seen or heard a single airplane or helicopter, knowing that in Los Angeles I was repeatedly woken up in the middle of the night by patrolling helicopters(not a soothing sound to wake up to). In the past two weeks I’ve felt peaceful, even after receiving hundreds of pages of reading.


This peace that the Hudson Valley holds can not only be seen at Vassar but also in the surrounding towns like Amenia. When I first heard I was going to visit the Amenia Farmers Markets along with my classmates from Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley, I pictured a huge farmers market like the ones I occasionally visited in Los Angeles.  To my surprise, it wasn’t big at all.  I was a bit hesitant to walk in and explore because I thought to myself “what can this farmers market possibly hold?”. I was definitely surprised when I saw the range of products the different vendors had to offer.


 I personally enjoyed the view of the desserts sold by one of the vendors the most. As I inquired about her absolutely scrumptious looking desserts, the vendor explained how she bases her creations on locally grown fruits and vegetables that are currently in season.  To show for her statement she had multiple creations made out of pumpkin. Apart from desserts, the Amenia Farmers market offered vendors with products like dairy, greek oils, mushrooms, vegetables(that I had never even seen), jewelry and variety of other things.

drive in

Along with visiting the farmers market in Amenia, I also visited a drive-in movie theater/ice cream shop there. It had a very relaxed and peaceful essence, it is definitely a place to visit when you’re driving past Amenia although it still hasn’t screened its first movie.  Overall my trip to the Amenia Farmers Market and parts of the town of Amenia was really enjoyable, it is a place that will bring peace and will slow down your busy and stressful lifestyle if you’re from the city like me.